Tag Archive | "PALS"

The Present and Future of Electronic Signatures


On Wednesday, Aug. 31, at 9:00 a.m., attendees of the 2016 P&A Leadership Summit gathered in a ballroom at Paris Las Vegas for “eSignatures Today and in the Future,” a panel discussion dedicated to electronic signatures, including how the technology works and why more dealers, product providers and government agencies aren’t using it.

Brian Reed, president of F&I Express, served as moderator. He was joined by Dan Doman, chief legal and privacy officer for RouteOne, Tim Gill, CEO of Advent Resources, Andy Mayers, vice president of F&I solutions at Dealertrack, and Jim Maxim, president and CEO of MaximTrak Technologies.

Noting that the term “esignature” seems to mean different things to different people, Reed kicked off the discussion by defining the three basic types of signatures found in the dealership:

  • Wet signature: The customer signed a paper form with an ink pen.
  • Electronic signature: The customer signed their name on a digital pad or mobile device, typed their name into a form or document, or clicked “Agree” or “Disagree” to a set of terms and conditions; the term also can refer to a digital image of a handwritten signature, for example, on a dealer-facing software dashboard.
  • Digital signature: Considered the most secure type, digital signatures are cryptographically based, and they typically include some measure of validation as to the source of the signature.

Reed noted that consumers frequently encounter esignature technology at their mortgage brokers, grocery store checkouts and hotel registration desks, but it is only applied to a small percentage of the documents they are likely to sign at a dealership.

“The auto industry is always slow to adopt new technology, but it has embraced electronic contracting,” Doman said, noting that RouteOne processed more than two million econtracts for Ford and Toyota dealers in 2015. “Your question is why isn’t it more prevalent in ancillary docs and service lanes? You’re right, but in the auto sale and leasing environment, it is being adopted fairly rapidly, and all the other ancillary documents are being incorporated.”

Hurdles to Adoption

Gill said the challenge is to get all the “stakeholders” on the same page, noting that, while bank documents typically can be signed electronically, many dealers and some government agencies still require a wet signature.

“There is more than one issue around that,” Gill said. “Who has the data at the end? Is there an opportunity to store it in the DMS? I think the drag has been caused by government and registration agencies that are not that innovative and haven’t stepped up to the plate. … We have to lobby them and say our processes are changing.”

Asked whether any technological hurdles remain, Mayers said that, if so, they are far less problematic than the hurdles presented by the sheer number of document types and the different sources (and requirements) for each. Maxim agreed, saying he would like to see the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and state dealer associations lobby government agencies to embrace the technology.

“What we have seen is slow adoption,” Maxim said. “Among the systems that support the providers, we’ve seen slow adoption because it hasn’t been prioritized.”

Looking at the issue from an “enablement standpoint,” Reed noted that, while the captive finance companies connected with manufacturers such as Ford, Nissan and Toyota have made great strides toward a fully electronic deal jacket, most finance sources have not.

“That’s the key to success,” Mayers said. “They need all the documents to be available. We always talk in this industry about the chicken and the egg. … The captives are driving it because they have that percentage of business the dealer does that makes it part of their normal process.”

“The other finance sources get a data file and the paper follows in the mail,” Doman said.
They don’t achieve the same consistencies as the captive does. Larger independent finance companies do have that level of volume and can achieve those efficiencies.”

As the economies of scale have begun to catch up with more finance sources, Doman added, they are producing digital versions of their forms to add to a complete package that can be transmitted to them electronically.

“Right, but there’s still a big missing window here when we talk about the size of deal jackets,” Gill said, noting that a deal could include 40 documents, 37 of which are related to the dealer’s own process, including worksheets. “That stuff isn’t being dealt with at all. … At the end of the day, the dealer has to archive it.”

“A lot of lenders are 100% electronic,” Mayers said. “There are systems that translate paper contracts. So what drives the industry is efficiency and return on investment. How much do our dealers spend on storing folders when they could be storing data?”

Motivating Factors

Maxim said he believes regulatory compliance could prove to be a major catalyst for wider adoption of electronic signatures. Banks, finance companies, dealer groups and F&I product providers are all looking for ways to mitigate risk, he said, and esignatures lend themselves to more compliant business processes.

Reed agreed, then asked Gill whether there is any document that could not be signed electronically if the source adopted the technology.

“I don’t think so, aside from government registry documents,” Gill said.

Turning back to Maxim’s point about compliant business processes, Doman said the potential electronic signatures bring to dealers looking for a more consistent process is “remarkable.”

“It creates a permanent record. It propels you forward on the compliance front,” Doman said. “All those documents can be signed and stored electronically. It’s the process the electronic signature enables.”

Asked whether he prefers to capture esignatures on signature pads or tablets, Maxim said pads are generally considered to be more secure, so that would be the likely choice for an installment loan contract.

“But I do believe the technology for tablets is pretty darn good now,” Maxim added. “It’s really about validation of whom you’re doing business with. When you’re going online, and people aren’t in the showroom, it’s a validation of the person’s identity.”

Maxim said the issue was raised in a recent meeting he attended with representatives from Mercedes-Benz of Canada. The factory executives reported a wave of fraudulent vehicle purchases in that country and a growing interest in new identity-verification tools.

“In the showroom, you can validate who you’re talking to,” Maxim said. “There is good technology you can use to combine tablet signatures with the form dynamically. It’s fairly efficient.”

After the panel disbanded, P&A caught up with Reed to get his thoughts on the session. He said he hoped attendees’ main takeaway would be that dealership customers are subject to multiple “signing ceremonies” and that esignatures hold the potential to reduce the complexity of the process.

“Going into that transaction, you have all these different parts that require different signatures,” Reed said. “There can’t be all these different signing ceremonies. There’s a perception out there when we talk about esignatures. Dealers still ask, ‘Is that legal?’”

Reed said the panel reinforced his belief that there is no compliance issue associated with esignatures and no significant technological hurdle to overcome. There are solutions available to dealers, product providers and, yes, government agencies that wish to adopt the technology.

“Once you have the components together, who will drive that process to have one easy signing ceremony for all those documents?” Reed asked. “Is it an independent party or a Dealertrack or a RouteOne? My personal opinion is that, over time, a number of parties will be able to do it and dealers will have options.”

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PALS 2016: Early Bird Ends This Week


LAS VEGAS — Organizers of the annual P&A Leadership Summit have announced that the $100 early-bird registration discount for the 2016 event will expire at midnight this Friday, July 29. The two-day conference begins Tuesday, Aug. 30, at Paris Las Vegas.

“With a little more than a month to go before showtime, the pump is primed for the best P&A Leadership Summit yet,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of P&A magazine. “I would encourage any executive working in the highest levels of the industry to get registered, get the early-bird price, and get ready for an unforgettable event.”

Among other sessions, this year’s event includes a keynote address from attorney Tara Newell of Bryan Cave LLP, a panel session dedicated to GAP losses, and a motivational keynote address from Marine Corps fighter pilot turned leadership expert Lt. Col. Bruce Bright.

To register for the 2016 P&A Leadership Summit, click here. To inquire about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact David Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or at 727-947-4027.

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Bruce Bright to Deliver PALS Keynote


LAS VEGAS — Organizers of the P&A Leadership Summit have announced that Lt. Col. Bruce Bright, USMC (Ret.) will deliver the motivational keynote address at this year’s event, which is scheduled for Aug. 30–31 at Paris Las Vegas.

“Bruce Bright is a bona fide motivator, on par with the best in the business,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of P&A. “As a military man and entrepreneur, he is an expert achieving a level of leadership that can only be gained by prevailing against incredible odds.”

Bright began a second career as a life coach, motivational speaker and real estate professional after completing a 28-year stint in the U.S. Marine Corps. His military career included service as an infantryman, F/A-18 fighter pilot and commanding officer and two combat tours in the Middle East. Bright also served as the motivational keynote speaker at the recent Dealer Summit.

Registration for PALS 2016 is now open. Attendees who register by July 29 will enjoy a $100 discount. To inquire about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact David Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or at 727-947-4027.

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Harkins Returns as PALS Emcee


LAS VEGAS — Organizers of the annual P&A Leadership Summit have announced that Robert Harkins, vice president of training for American Guardian Warranty Services Inc. (AGWS), will return as master of ceremonies for the fourth consecutive year. The event will be held Aug. 30–31 at Paris Las Vegas.

“Once again, the thankless task of herding speakers and attendees falls to one of the few men who can handle it,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of P&A magazine. “Bob Harkins brings unparalleled professionalism and good humor to every occasion. We are lucky to have him back.”

Harkins joins the speaker roster as members of the PALS advisory board build the agenda. The event is designed to meet the needs of leading executives in the F&I product providers and administration segment.

“The P&A Leadership Summit delivers an incredible value to those who are fortunate enough to attend,” Harkins said. “I am honored to be a part of it, and I look forward to welcoming you to Las Vegas!”

Registration for PALS 2016 is open now. Attendees who register by July 29 will save $100. To inquire about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact David Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or at 727-947-4027.

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PALS 2016 Registration Open


LAS VEGAS — Organizers of the annual P&A Leadership Summit have announced that registrationis now open for the 2016 event, which is scheduled for Aug. 30–31 at Paris Las Vegas.

“Heading into our fourth year, P&A Leadership Summit already feels like an institution,” said David Gesualdo, show chair and publisher of P&A magazine. “Each year, we welcome our core group of leading executives and the next wave of up-and-coming thought leaders. We can hardly wait for the 2016 event to begin.”

P&A Leadership Summit launched in 2013, replacing the Vehicle Service Contracts Administrators Conference (VSCAC) with an event designed to meet the needs of high-level executives in the F&I product provider and administration segment. The event’s agenda is built by an advisory boardcomprised of executives representing many of the industry’s leading providers and administrators.

Registration for PALS 2016 is open now. Attendees who register by July 29, 2016 will save $100. To inquire about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact David Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or at 727-947-4027.

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P&A Leadership Summit Returns to Las Vegas Aug. 30


LAS VEGAS — Organizers of P&A Leadership Summit announced that the fourth annual event will be held Aug. 30–31, 2016, at Paris Las Vegas. PALS is the industry’s only event designed for executives working in the F&I product provider and administrator segment.

Describing last year’s conference as “an event to remember,” show chair David Gesualdo said organizers will build on that momentum in 2016.

“We have a lot of positive energy on our side as we enter the early stages of planning the event, convening an advisory board and building the agenda,” said Gesualdo, who also serves as publisher of F&I and Showroom and P&A magazines. “That work has already begun and we will continue working through the summer.”

This year’s agenda will include educational sessions organized into four categories: Product, Actuary, Technology and Operations. As in years past, the two-day schedule will also include keynote addresses and networking opportunities.

Registration for the event is expected to open soon. For updates and industry news, attendees are encouraged to subscribe to P&A’s free enewsletter.

To inquire about sponsorship and exhibition opportunities, contact Eric Gesualdo via email hidden; JavaScript is required or at 727-612-8826.

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