Tag Archive | "F&I Products"

EFG Named to Dallas Morning News’ ‘Top 100 Places to Work’ List


DALLAS — F&I product provider EFG Companies was named to the Dallas Morning News’ list of Top 100 Places to Work, marking the ninth national award the company has earned this year for excellence and customer service.

“EFG’s awards and certifications reflect our intense focus on operating in our clients’ best interest at all times. You don’t always see that in our industry,” said John Pappanastos, president and CEO of EFG Companies. “EFG’s most powerful asset is its client engagement model that requires uniquely qualified and motivated professionals. Our values drive us, and we welcome and expect measurement of our impact on our clients’ profitability and success.”

According to company officials, a recent Troubadour Research and Consulting client satisfaction survey showed EFG’s net promoter score ranked higher than Southwest Airlines, USAA Banking and Insurance, and Nordstrom.

In addition to being named a Top 100 Places to Work, EFG Companies’ other notable recognitions and awards this year include:

  • F&I and Showroom magazine’s F&I Dealer of the Year Award for EFG client, Davis-Moore Automotive
  • First product provider certified as a Center of Excellence by Benchmark Portal
  • First product provider awarded the National ASE Blue Seal of Excellence
  • One of the first hundred companies in the US to achieve Consumer Credit Compliance Certification from the National Association of Automotive Finance
  • Three Stevie Awards for Top Field Sales Team, Contact Center of the Year, and Business Development Achievement of the Year
  • Powersports Business Nifty 50 Product Award winner
  • SubPrime Auto Finance News Top 125 Most Influential Firms

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MakeMyDeal Rolling Out F&I Connect Tool


ATLANTA — MakeMyDeal, Cox Automotive’s online marketplace, has begun rolling out its new F&I Connect, a tool the company bills as a product designed to bring the F&I process into the Digital Age.

Powered by F&I Express, F&I Connect allows dealers to promote their F&I products and prices in a controlled online environment while giving consumers the opportunity to learn about F&I program options before finalizing their deal.

“Our research shows that there is an opportunity within the current F&I process to better educate consumers about the value of F&I products, reduce the time they spend in the F&I office and improve their satisfaction with the overall buying process,” said Mike Burgiss, vice president and general manager of MakeMyDeal.

A 2015 study commissioned by MakeMyDeal revealed that most vehicle purchasers felt they knew what F&I products were. But when asked to define F&I products and services, many could not. That same study, however, also revealed that that gap in knowledge did not mean customers lacked interest in F&I products.

Of the 500 respondents, 83% of said they were interested in learning about F&I products and 63% said they would be more likely to buy F&I products if they could learn about them on their own time before finalizing their vehicle purchase.

“By bringing F&I information and pricing online, we are able to give consumers a better understanding of their options, which can ultimately have positive effects for the dealership in terms of satisfaction and sales,” Burgiss said.

MakeMyDeal’s new tool, which was tested at select dealerships this past June, was launched in select markets this week, a company spokesperson said.

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GWC Warranty Earns Two 2015 Automotive Communication Awards


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — F&I product provider GWC Warranty was awarded two 2015 Automotive Communication Awards at Tuesday’s Women’s Board Reception during Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week in Las Vegas.

GWC’s company blog, Accelerate, took top honors in the business-to-business blog category, while the company’s “Behind the Wheel” dealer story series won in the in business-to-business “Business Use of a YouTube Video” category.

“To be honored by peers within the automotive community for the content we provide dealers is a true testament to GWC Warranty’s commitment to be the industry’s best-in-class provider of used vehicle service contracts,” said GWC CEO and President Rob Glander. “We are proud to accept these awards and will strive to continue to provide dealers with timely, helpful, informative and engaging communications.”

GWC Warranty’s Accelerate blog was launched in March of 2015. It was designed to provide used-car dealers with the news and know-how to be more successful. Accelerate features helpful best practices, news, trends and more to help dealers stay on the forefront of the used-car industry and better serve their customers.

Behind The Wheel was introduced in August of 2015 with the story of Zimmerman’s Automotive, a 20-year GWC dealer partner. The story center’s on the 50-year operation’s story of the community involvement and customer service. Behind The Wheel pulls back the curtain to unveil the people and communities that make independent dealers successful, officials said. Each story also delves into how GWC Warranty’s service, products, training and technology align with independent dealers’ missions to operate reputable, successful businesses.

The annual Automotive Communication Awards are sponsored by the Car Care Council Women’s Board and the Automotive Communication Council. The awards recognize companies and agencies that provide automotive information to consumers and the trade professionals who interact with them on a daily basis. All entries consisted of automotive advertising, marketing, merchandising and/or PR efforts targeting consumers or the trade between January 2014 and November 2015.

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U.S. Bank Monitoring F&I Product Pricing


MINNEAPOLIS — Dealers signed up with U.S. Bank received a notice this week containing the bank’s policy in regards to fair and responsible lending. Also detailed was the bank’s dealer monitoring program, which, according to the notice, isn’t just focused on how dealers mark up interest rates on finance contracts.

Obtained by F&I and Showroom, the notice was similar to ones distributed by other finance sources, explaining that regulators like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) have interpreted fair lending laws to prohibit not only intentional discrimination, but also “certain neutral practices that have an adverse discriminatory impact on a prohibited basis (i.e., disparate impact).” But in explaining its monitoring program, the bank didn’t focus on rate markups; it focused on how F&I products are priced and sold.

“If this monitoring program finds unexplained differences in pricing or excessive add-on product financing on a prohibited basis, then we will notify you,” the notice read, in part. “We will ask you to provide any additional information that you believe we should consider regarding the matter. If you are unable to provide an explanation for the identified differences, or if the unexplained differences persist, we will consider taking further action.”

Since the CFPB issued its March 2013 guidance on dealer participation — which warned finance sources that they’d be held liable for the way dealers mark up interest rates — finance sources have warned dealers that they are monitoring their rate markup practices. But the U.S. Bank notice could be the first to add F&I product sales to those efforts.

The question is: Does the CFPB have jurisdiction over the sale of F&I products? It’s a question that has been debated during F&I and Showroom’s annual conference for the past two years.

During a panel discussion at Industry Summit 2013, Nikki Munro, a partner with Hudson Cook LLP, said she didn’t believe the bureau had jurisdiction over the F&I industry. She noted that the CFPB-creating Dodd-Frank Act contains a catch-all provision that raises more questions than it answers.

“There’s a lot of gray area there,” she said at the time. “With aftermarket products that are financial in nature — and the easiest one to refer to is GAP — we think the CFPB can exercise jurisdiction over those types of products, because they are related to the extension of credit — they pay off the extension of credit if there’s a total loss.

“With nonfinancial products like vehicle service contracts, tire-and-wheel, paintless dent repair … we’re just not sure,” she added. “The CFPB will probably take the position that those types of products offered in connection with the loan gives them jurisdiction.”

At Industry Summit 2014, Rick Hackett, a former CFPB official who now serves as a partner at Hudson Cook LLP, confirmed the bureau’s interest in how F&I products are priced and sold, saying that the regulator can’t connect how dealers price F&I protections with the value they provide consumers.

“If I found out that Walmart set the price [of their products at different levels], and they were all the same products, and they were just hoping I would buy one for $20.95 because I was a particularly gullible consumer, I’d be grumpy,” he said. “That’s the bureau’s perspective of variable pricing of ancillary products.”

Hackett offered several scenarios as to how the bureau might proceed. One of them involved the data the bureau has collected from the tens of millions of transactions it reviewed during its investigation of dealer participation. If the bureau comes up with its own determination on how F&I protections should be priced, it could say that anything above that price is a finance charge. The bureau could then say a finance source provided “reckless substantial assistance” for financing a product with an artificially inflated price, Hackett noted.

“So there’s the question,” he said. “Will the bureau try to make finance companies a cop for dealers’ pricing of ancillary products?”

U.S. Bank’s dealer notice points to a “Yes,” although a spokesperson for the bank played down its significance. “We regularly distribute updated policy notifications to our dealers across our footprint,” read a statement the bank issued to F&I and Showroom. “We have and continue to work closely with our dealership partners on changing guidance and regulation in our industry to provide the best service for our clients.”

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AmTrust to Acquire Wells Fargo’s Warranty Solutions


NEW YORK — AmTrust Financial Services Inc. announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire F&I product provider Warranty Solutions from Wells Fargo for $152 million in cash. Pending regulatory approval, the deal is expected to close in the third quarter 2015.

Warranty Solutions was part of Wachovia Dealers Services when Wells Fargo purchased the finance source in a $15.1 billion all-stock deal in October 2008. Prior to that, the Lakewood, Colo.-based F&I product provider operated as GE Money Warranty Services. Today, it administers and underwriters vehicle service contracts through a national network of more than 70 active agencies and 1,500 franchise and independent dealers.

“The acquisition of Warranty Solutions provides an outstanding opportunity for our company to expand our successful vehicle extended warranty operation while also adding to our differentiated service and fee business,” said Barry Zyskind, president and CEO of AmTrust Financial Services, in a company press release. “Warranty Solutions is an excellent fit for our organization and we look forward to welcoming the talented individuals that have built Warranty solutions into a successful business.”

Zyskind hinted that the multinational insurance holding company was closing in on an acquisition during AmTrust Financial’s first quarter earnings call on Tuesday, May 5, noting that AmTrust had raised capital during the quarter and that its balance sheet was on “very solid footing” to both grow through acquisitions and organically.

“We continue to excel, buying, looking for companies that fit within our niche, whether we are buying it below book value and gaining on the acquisitions and getting a book of business, or we’re looking for fee business that will ultimately increase our return and drive profitable premium to the organization.

“So that’s something that we continue to focus on; strengthen the team and grow our acquisition capability,” he said.

AmTrust has been active in the automotive space. In August 2010, the company completed its purchase of Warrentech. It also purchased Ally Insurance’s Car Care Plan, which provides insurance and administrative services to vehicle manufacturers for extended warranties, GAP, wholesale floorplan insurance and other F&I products, in February 2013.

A spokesperson for AmTrust said on Thursday that the company expects to retain Warranty Solutions’ management team and all of the firm’s employees. She added that there are no plans to change the name of company or move it from its Colorado offices.

Wells Fargo issued the following statement regarding the pending sale to F&I and Showroom: “As part of our normal processes, we evaluate our businesses and occasionally make decisions to expand or contract in a particular area. After an evaluation of Warranty Solutions, we determined that — under the ownership of a company like AmTrust that specializes in the aftermarket product business — Warranty Solutions would be better positioned to continue growing. We are happy that existing team members will transition to AmTrust.”

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Larry H. Miller Group to Offer F&I Products Nationwide


SANDY, Utah — Larry H. Miller Groups of Companies will now offer its in-house F&I products to dealerships across the U.S. through its new captive finance administrator, Total Care Auto (TCA).

Last week, the dealer group announced that Bryant Henrie, the president of its captive finance arm, Prestige Financial Services Inc., will step into the role of president of TCA, effective immediately.

“The network of customers and contacts we’ve built at Prestige will help open doors to new business opportunities for Total Care Auto,” Henrie said. Recently, the executive was honored by the Salt Lake Tribune for his Leadership of a large company in the news source’s Top Workplace awards.

Prestige, founded as an affiliate of Larry H. Miller Groups of Cos. in 1994, is a subprime auto finance source. The dealer group’s move to expand TCA’s footprint is similar to what the company did with Prestige, which now offers financing in 46 states

Prior to Henrie’s appointment as president, TCA was overseen by Steve Starks, executive vice president of Larry H. Miller Groups of Cos.

“I’ve truly enjoyed the opportunity to work with TCA and General Manager Robb Enger over the last few years,” Starks said. “With Prestige and TCA both servicing automotive customers, it is important to the growth of both companies that they work closely in providing their financial and insurance services to stores and customers across the country.”

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