Tag Archive | "AFAS"

New F&I Compliance Certification Offered by American Financial


THE WOODLANDS, Texas – A new F&I compliance certification has been introduced to the industry by Automotive Compliance Education, LLC (ACE). The ACE certification program was developed by industry-leading attorneys to help set and maintain professional standards at dealerships. This training program takes the rigorous and complicated federal regulations that touch different parts of the dealership, and digests it into logical doses. The online training modules also show how the regulations relate to everyday situations in the dealership. From Reg Z, to Red Flags, to ECOA, ACE certification ensures that all who complete the program can take that knowledge and confidence back to the business office and apply it immediately.

It is important for business managers to become ACE certified as the process of obtaining this certification helps to raise the industry standard of F&I professionalism and education. ACE understands that the automotive industry and regulations are always evolving. For that reason, annual re-certification is part of the program. ACE certified F&I professionals will be responsible for maintaining this new standard by taking an annual review module and exam. This process includes any significant regulatory changes that may have occurred in the previous year. Like other professional licenses, such as an insurance license, this certificate will recognize automotive professionals and their adherence to ethics, industry education, and professionalism on an ongoing basis.

American Financial & Automotive Services, Inc. has partnered with ACE to provide the ACE certification through its award-winning F&I University (FIU). As the Dealers’ Choice Diamond Level winner in Compliance Training and the Platinum Level winner in F&I Training, American Financial believed this unique opportunity with ACE was a natural partnership. Aligning compliance certification and F&I training creates an even stronger program for F&I professionals that will take their career to the next level. FIU already provides an industry-leading F&I curriculum and online continuing education to provide dealerships increased opportunities and revenue. By implementing ACE certification into the current curriculum, FIU has solidified their commitment to compliance and F&I training to the industry. Not only will business managers walk away from the intensive F&I school with innovative techniques to take back to the business office, they will also walk away with an ACE F&I compliance certificate that will set them apart as professional leaders in ethics and compliance.

FIU is the only F&I school to offer ACE certification in an instructor-led format. When business managers leave the five-day F&I school being ACE certified, they will bring back assurance to the dealership and its customers. Prove your dealership’s commitment to compliance and F&I by getting your team ACE certified today!

Please visit www.AFASinc.com for more information about FIU and to register for the F&I school.

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American Financial Wins Diamond and Platinum Level for the 2016 Dealers’ Choice Awards


American Financial & Automotive Services, Inc. is honored to be the recipient of two 2016 Dealers’ Choice Awards. This F&I dealership development company received the Diamond level award in Compliance Training and Platinum level in F&I Training. This is the second year in a row that American Financial has been awarded in these two categories.

American Financial appreciates this recognition because it is the dealers and Auto Dealer Today and F&I Showroom readers who vote on the best industry providers. The voting criteria is divided into four categories: the product/service provided, customer support and service, overall value, and whether the dealer would recommend the provider.

Arden Hetland, President of American Financial, states, “Our main focus is to put the needs of our dealer partners first. The American Financial team strives to provide industry leading service and products. These awards are a great reflection on all of their hard work and dedication.”

Centered at the core of American Financial’s offerings are customized in-dealership development, the MasterTechTM F&I product suite, the Automotive Training Academy (ATA), F&I University (FIU), and Compliance Programs.

FIU provides cutting-edge F&I curriculum and online continuing education for today’s business manager. FIU is also at the forefront of digital solutions to streamline the business office by offering training on tablet technology and benefits analysis software.

American Financial has created a program to help navigate dealerships through industry regulations and policies. The web-based Compliance Management Program is customized to complement the procedures and functions utilized in your dealership. In addition, American Financial has developed a compliance officer certification course that arms your dealership with the resources, tools, and expertise your compliance officer needs.

For more information on American Financial, please visit www.AFASinc.com.

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Industry Responds to New York Times Op-Ed on Subprime Auto Loans


Recent reports that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is looking into the subprime auto finance market have spurred a discussion about whether such loans will go the way of subprime mortgages. According to a New York Times op-ed piece published Friday, predatory auto loans have been a growing problem — but industry associations have stepped in to dispute this claim.

“The mortgage industry set the stage for the recession by luring people into ruinously priced loans they could never hope to repay, then selling those loans to Wall Street in mortgage-backed securities that went bad,” the New York Times’ 18-member editorial board claimed in an Aug. 8 opinion piece. “The federal government has since tamed that industry, outlawing most of the risky and deceptive practices that led to that crisis. It must now do the same with the auto lending industry, where the practice of roping people into loans that damage them financially is all too common.”

This month, both GM Financial and Santander Consumer USA reported in regulatory filings that they had received subpoenas from the DOJ, requesting documents related to the origination and securitization of subprime auto finance contracts dating back to 2007. The regulator is said to be investigating potential violations of Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA).

In July, Citigroup was ordered by the regulator to pay the largest civil penalty under FIRREA in history — $4 billion — for its conduct in the packaging, securitization, marketing, sale and issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities.

“Dealers who can offload loans to banks before the loans fail take the same rapacious approach that mortgage lenders took in the run-up to the recession,” said The Times. “They prey on less sophisticated borrowers, falsifying the borrower’s income information and writing loans with astronomical interest rates and hidden fees that deliver a quick profit to the dealers.”

But the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)’s President Peter Welch, in a rebuttal to the editorial, noted that during the Great Recession, auto loans were one of the best performing asset classes. In fact, “Auto loan default rates never went higher than 2.74%, versus first mortgage default rates that hit 5.67%,” he noted.

“The Times’ editorial … is an unfair and unfounded attempt to portray the auto lending industry as a hotbed of deceptive practices and a harbinger of insolvency that could lead to another recession,” Welch said. “Nothing could be further from the truth. Auto loan defaults are at historic lows (less than 1% in June).”

In an op-ed piece submitted to F&I and Showroom this week, the American Financial Services Association (AFSA)’s Executive Vice President Bill Himpler similarly denounced the comparisons between mortgages and auto lending made by The Times.

“Unlike a house, a vehicle is a depreciating asset, and lenders calculate this loss of value into their financing. No one — from consumers to dealers to manufacturers to finance companies — believes that a car or truck will be worth more in the future,” Himpler explained. “Thus, the talk of a bubble — which occurs when assets become overpriced based on a belief that they will continue to appreciate — in subprime auto is misguided. The mortgage bubble grew from this very premise, but the underlying fundamentals of automobile values mitigate a bubble.

“Drawing parallels between subprime auto finance and mortgages does nothing to help an economic recovery, as the auto sector exhibits resilience and consumers continue to repay their loans.”

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‘Stump the Pro’ Returns to 2013 F&I Conference


Las Vegas — Tony Dupaquier will return to the 2013 F&I Conference this September to put his objection-handling skills to the test. The director of F&I training for American Financial & Automotive Services Inc. (AFAS) will reprise his “Stump the Pro” challenge during a special interactive session scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 17, at 10:30 a.m.

This year, conference organizers have extended Dupaquier’s session to an hour and a half instead of one hour, providing attendees with more time to put the skills of one of the nation’s top F&I trainers to the test. The session will conclude at 12 p.m.

“The only complaint we received last year was that the session was too short, so we’re giving attendees what they want: more time to put Tony’s skills to the test,” said Gregory Arroyo, editorial director, F&I and Showroom magazine. “We’re very excited to have Tony back. He’s one of the premiere F&I trainers in the business and he really delivered a fun and educational session at last year’s event.”

Dupaquier is the head trainer for AFAS and is responsible for content, direction and marketing for the company’s F&I University. He started in the car business in 1990, serving in various roles at the retail level before joining AFAS in 2000. He has served as a guest speaker for a number of 20 Groups, dealer associations and NADA Conventions.

The F&I Conference is one of three shows being hosted at Industry Summit 2013, which is being held at the Paris Las Vegas hotel Sept. 16-18. For more information, visit www.industrysummit.com.

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American Financial and Automotive Services Inc. (AFAS)


Demetrios Lahiri, Vice President of Sales

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?
For more than 35 years, the American Financial companies have assisted dealers in increasing sales and maximizing overall profits. At American Financial, our driving force is to enhance the professional image of our industry through exceptional customer service. It is only by consistently exceeding our customers’ expectations that we can earn their loyalty, expand our customer base and increase the value of our products.

We are constantly looking for products that can increase profits in F&I for our dealer partners. However, for American Financial to bring a product to market, that product must provide an actual benefit to the end consumers. With the proliferation of smart keys and key fobs, a key replacement product was a natural fit for our views and the market need.

What makes your product different from others on the market? How do you differentiate it?
American Financial & Automotive Services, Inc.’s key replacement policy offers some of the highest levels of coverage in the marketplace today. In addition to annual benefits provided for key replacement, our product also includes 24 roadside assistance, lockout service, trip routing, and national rental car discounts.

As with all of American Financial & Automotive Services, Inc.’s products, we differentiate our products not just by the product itself, but by the training, development, compliance, and support that goes with said products. From product implementation to sales training to claims administration, we make sure that our products, including key replacement, succeed at a dealership and consumer level.

What is your primary sales channel? How do you market to that channel?
We employ a direct field force that works with our dealer partners at multiple levels. Dealership development managers, regional sales managers and vice presidents of sales all have responsibilities to our dealers/clients.

We utilize our direct field force as a constant point of contact with our existing dealer partners and with any potential dealer partners. By keeping those individuals informed and empowered to present the benefits of key replacement, we have see great success with the product. We utilize in-store visits, e-mail contacts, direct mail contacts and participation in state and national associations such as NADA, NAMAD, CMDA, FMDA, etc.

How has technology impacted Key Replacement in the last year, if at all? Do you see it having an impact in the future? Why or why not?
Technology has impacted us, and the entire industry, by having us push the envelope for coverage items and amounts that will keep up with tomorrow’s key products. In today’s market a certain dollar amount may be enough to satisfy most of the market, but what about a few years from now? What level of coverage will need to be provided to have the same impact for the end consumer? The real question is, will we be able to adapt as we always have. I believe we will be able to adapt as an industry.

The biggest issue in the next 3-5 years will be technology’s desire to eliminate keys from our vehicles completely by using smart phone apps. Creating a product that will provide key replacement benefits for the consumer when there is no key associated with the vehicle will be an interesting endeavor.

In your opinion, where is the greatest growth potential for the Key Replacement category?
Non-luxury makes and models. Since the genesis of key replacement products, everyone in the market acknowledged the value of the product with luxury makes and models. As the technology associated with luxury keys continues to trickle down to the non-luxury makes and models, the consumers need to protect themselves from unforeseen key expenses increases. This truly increased need in the non-luxury arena leads to increased sales opportunities and higher consumer satisfaction.

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Key Replacement Roundup


Key replacement is a relatively new product in the F&I world, but one that has grown tremendously in the past few years. We talked to some of the providers who offer key replacement to get their take on the product, and where they see it going, and it was no surprise to see their responses – every company we spoke with is expecting huge growth for this category.

Technology essentially created a need for the product, our respondents noted, with the advent of keys and key fobs that do more than simply lock and unlock a car. It started in the luxury space, but all the providers we spoke to see a hard push into the more “entry level” side of the market. Those technologies are trickling down to every make and model of automobile, and that will drive the need for key replacement even further in the next few years.

One interesting trend that emerged, however, is that many of the providers have seen more success overall when bundling this product with other offerings, such as tire & wheel or appearance protection, rather than selling it as a stand-alone product. It seems to benefit from being part of a package – customers perceive a greater value when it’s one component of a bundle.

Below, you’ll find the responses from six providers who offer key replacement products. We hope you find it as interesting a read as we did!

Key Replacement Roundup

American Financial and Automotive Services Inc. (AFAS)

American Financial and Automotive Services Inc. (AFAS)
Demetrios Lahiri, Vice President of Sales

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

For more than 35 years, the American Financial companies have assisted dealers in increasing sales and maximizing overall profits. At American Financial, our driving force is to enhance the professional image of our industry through exceptional customer service.

Read More »

Accelerated Service International (ASI)

Accelerated Service International (ASI)
Timothy Jacobson, Sales & Marketing Manager & Michael Moretz, Vice President of Sales, North America

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

Accelerated Service International (ASI) has partnered with agents and their dealer clients for over a quarter of a century. ASI’s In-house automotive retail experts and field consultants utilize their years of industry experience to create unique and custom Dealer Service Plan offerings that fill the needs of dealers, agents and consumers.

Read More »

Automobile Protection Corporation (APCO)

Automobile Protection Corporation (APCO)
David Colville, Director of Training

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

Automobile Protection Corp. (APCO) was established in 1984. From day one, our philosophy has been to provide leading edge benefits that enhance a consumer’s vehicle ownership experience. We strive every day to deliver world class service to our customers, dealers and agent representatives.

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IAS

IAS
Jeff Jagoe, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

Founded in 1984, IAS was created to provide practical aftermarket programs and high quality administration and claims. IAS introduced key replacement in the fall of 2007 after a productive trial period with select IAS agents.

Read More »

RoadVantage

RoadVantage
Randy Ross, Vice President of Sales

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

RoadVantage was founded in May 2011 by F&I industry veterans focused on one goal: build a better automotive aftermarket ancillary product company, from the ground up. Starting with a clean slate enabled us to eliminate the legacy issues that can be troublesome with providers and set a new industry standard in the process.

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Safe-Guard Products International LLC

Safe-Guard Products International LLC
David Duncan, President

Can you give me a bit of your company history? How did you become involved in the Key Replacement category?

Features such as electronic chips and remote controllers make today’s keys much more costly to replace. Keys are not a $20 item any more. Protecting consumers from the perils of vehicle ownership has always been Safe-Guard’s focus. We strive to provide protection, security and peace of mind whether a customer’s keys are lost, stolen, locked in a vehicle – or even broken.

Read More »

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