Tag Archive | "F&I office"

Safe-Guard Canada Announces New Montreal Training Facility


ATLANTA — Safe-Guard Canada today announced the opening of a new training facility located just outside of Montreal to better service Quebec clients and their dealers.

The new location will allow Safe-Guard to broaden retail training and development support for dealers within Safe-Guard’s client roster, including BMW Canada, Harley-Davidson Financial Services, Honda Financial Services, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Nissan Canada Extended Services Inc., Porsche Financial Services, and North American Automotive Group.

Safe-Guard offers a wide range of retail training and development, including certification courses, regional workshops and meetings, and train-the-trainer opportunities. The new Montreal facility includes a boardroom to host corporate and dealer personnel, a large training room that will be utilized for multi-lingual training, and business offices staged like real F&I offices to simulate real-world scenarios.

Safe-Guard’s F&I training curriculum includes product knowledge, sales techniques, compliance basics, and the customer experience — all led by expert Safe-Guard sales and training staff with real-world dealer and F&I experience.

“We’re very excited about the opening of our new Montreal training office,” said Scott Ashby, general manager of Safe-Guard Canada. “Our new facility will allow us to better service our Quebec partners and coach them on the latest F&I product knowledge, how to build value for their customers, as well as compliance standards in order that we can help them grow their businesses and create long-term customers.”

Safe-Guard has been serving Canadian customers since 2001 and has their main office in Mississauga, Ontario. The new Safe-Guard Canada sales and training facility in Montreal opened April 1, 2018.

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Credit Tightening at Wells Fargo to Continue Into 2018


SAN FRANCISCO — In 2009, the year before Wachovia Dealer Services officially became Wells Fargo Dealer Services, the finance source was listed as the No. 1 subprime auto lender by market share. It also held the largest share in the used-vehicle financing segment. Times have changed.

During the bank’s second-quarter earnings call on July 14, Wells Fargo executives reported auto originations of $4.5 billion. That’s down $2.5 billion from the first quarter and $4 billion from the year-ago quarter. The reason: tighter underwriting standards.

“As we’ve discussed previously, we’ve tightened credit underwriting standards in auto, which has our origination volume down 17% from the first quarter (45% from a year ago),” said CFO John Shrewsberry, noting that the average FICO for auto loans originated during the period rose from 696 in the year-ago period to 719. “As we focus on improving execution and efficiency through increased standardization and centralization, we expect auto loans to continue to decline in the second half of this year.”

Reflecting this tightening was an $82 million decline in consumer credit losses, with net charge-offs down $41 million from the previous quarter. The improvement in overall consumer credit allowed the bank to releases $100 million in reserves for credit losses, officials said.

Additionally, the bank’s total outstanding loan balance declined 4% from the first quarter and 6% from a year ago to $58 billion. Loans 30 days past due increased by $225 million from a year ago on weaker market conditions.

As for the bank’s commercial portfolio, loans increased 7% from a year ago to $11.5 billion on higher dealer floorplan utilization.

In 2015, Wells Fargo reported record originations of $31 billion. A year later, the bank originated more loans than any other finance source, according to Experian Automotive. In the first quarter of this year, however, Wells Fargo Dealer Services fell to No. 4 on Experian’s market share list, with originations falling 29% on a year-over-year basis.

Several members of the executive team that led the transition from Wachovia Dealer Services to Wells Fargo Dealer Services in March 2010 have also left the company. Tom Wolfe, who headed up the business during its transition to Wells Fargo Dealer Services as president, was named vice president of the bank’s consumer credit solutions in 2012 before retiring in October 2014.

Wolfe’s successor as head of Wells Fargo Dealer Services, Dawn Martin Harp, retired this past April, and Bill Katafias, another Wachovia holdover who served as Wells Fargo Dealer Services’ national product retail credit executive, left the company this past February. In May, he joined Irvine, Calif.-based CRB Auto, a division of Mechanics Bank.

Wells Fargo’s dealer services business unit is now led by 20-year company veteran Laura Schupbach, who was appointed to the post this past March. She officially assumed her new role in April. Shrewsberry mentioned Schupbach’s hiring during the bank’s recent earnings call, noting that consumer loan growth will continue to be impacted by the actions “we’re taking in our auto portfolio and expected runoff of legacy junior lien mortgage loans.”

Shrewsberry added that the bank is making “modest changes” to generate loan originations for its consumer loan segment, including offering interest-only jumbo mortgage loans to high-quality borrowers and testing credit card offerings through the company’s digital channels.

When asked during last Friday’s earnings call how far the bank’s tightening on auto loans will go, Wells Fargo President and CEO Timothy Sloan responded, in part, “My bet is it will probably stabilize sometime in the first half of next year. I think during that entire time, it’s reasonable to assume that’s the quality of the underlying customer … measured by FICO score will continue to improve.

“I don’t know if it will continue to improve at the levels we’ve seen, but it will continue to be very strong,” he added. “And then my guess is that’s where the business will stabilize sometime in the first half of next year.”

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Innovative Lending Releases Loan Management Tool for F&I Offices


CHICAGO — Innovative Lending Solutions LLC announced the release of Stip Trac, an automotive loan management system designed to help dealers track cash flow, collecting necessary loan documents, or stips, and keeping an open communication line with car buyers before and after their purchase.

Stip Trac features a dashboard that allows users to track cash owed by a bank, set “contact-in-transit” limits, and track money in transit by salesman. It also provides status updates on any deal in transit, held at dealership, funded, etc. Users can also look up the age of a deal and missing stips, as well as add internal notes that can be viewed by all parties involved with the loan.

Stip Trac also allows dealers to add additional stips to a loan at any time, push welcome calls to the bank, and gain real references and referrals from customers. It also provides users with a “contact list” on their cell phone, and the ability to approve or deny stips as they are received.

The new tool also features a custom messaging so users can send an urgent message to the car buyer. It also offers automatic push notifications and a dealer-branded app that allow users to monitor a loan’s progress on their smartphones.

For the consumer, Stip Trac helps protect them from identity theft. It can also eliminate additional trips to the dealership to drop off loan-related documents, speeding up the finance process at the dealership.

“Stip Trac is a needed tool to improve the automotive loan process for car dealerships and consumers. Using Stip Trac removes a lot of the stress that today’s finance managers are facing today,” said Ed Maisonneuve, president and CEO of Innovative Lending Solutions LLC. “We truly built this so the delivery process is a smooth one. As a finance manager, I can’t tell you how many times a deal came into my office with missing documents, bad references, missing signatures. StipTrac 100% eliminates that.”

For more, visit www.StipTrac.com.

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Auto/Mate Releases ‘The Auto Dealer’s Guide to Team Building’ Ebook


ALBANY, N.Y. — Auto/Mate Dealership Systems announced the release of a free eBook for download titled, “The Auto Dealer’s Guide to Team Building.” It was developed to guide auto dealers through the process of turning managers and employees in various departments into one cohesive, productive and motivated team.

“Traditionally, dealerships were set up to reward individual performance rather than team performance,” said Mike Esposito, president and CEO of Auto/Mate Dealership Systems. “As the retail automotive landscape changes, dealers are exploring new ways of structuring management and how to approach things like employee pay plans and customer communications. Building a workplace that fosters a team mentality is key to achieving new organizational objectives.”

Numerous studies document the benefits of team building. Members of a team communicate more effectively and have better relationships; motivate each other and hold one another accountable; learn to better identify their own and others’ strengths and weaknesses, and adjust responsibilities accordingly to maximize productivity; report higher levels of employee satisfaction, morale and happiness; promote mutual respect and understanding of fellow employees; have each other’s back; work together to achieve organizational objectives; and prevent rogue employees from doing things their own way

The Auto Dealer’s Guide to Team Building” lays out eight steps dealers can follow to create a workplace that promotes a team philosophy. The ebook explains how, in dealerships, teams can be organized not only by department but also into cross-functional teams for the purpose of solving problems and improving dealership-wide processes.

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South Dakota Voters Approve 36% APR Cap on Short-Term Loans


SIOUX FALL, S.D. — Voters there approved an initiated measure aimed at capping interest rates on short-term loans in the state. Included in the cap are all charges for ancillary products and any other fees included in the extension of credit.

Initiated Measure 21, which was passed last Tuesday by 75.6% of voters, places a 36% APR all-in cap on loans from all state-licensed money lenders. Covered loans include commercial and personal loans, including installment, auto, payday, and title loans.

Under current state laws, there is no limit on how much interest lenders can charge on these loans. Excluded from the new cap are national banks or other federally insured financial institutions.

More than 60% of South Dakota voters rejected a competing measure, Constitutional Amendment U, that would have placed an 18% APR cap for verbal short-term loans. The only way state-licensed lenders could exceed the cap is if the borrower agrees to a higher rate in writing.

Amendment U was proposed by the payday lending industry to head off the rate cap proposed in Measure 21. It had warned voters that IM 21 could put an end to the payday loan industry in South Dakota if passed. With its passage, the measure will go into effect upon certification of the results by the state.

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