Surprisingly, most employees in auto dealerships cannot tell you what happens in the Business Office at their store. Normally when asked, they say “That’s where your paperwork gets done.” The following is a brief synopsis of a F&I Manager’s function that not only every dealership employee should be knowledgeable about, but that every F&I Manager should make sure to be doing.
First, the F&I Manager must deliver the car. Nothing happens in any store until something is sold. In order to accomplish this goal, several steps must be performed. This includes assisting in the structure of the deal so that it is acceptable to the customer, the dealership and the indirect lender if one is to be used. Also, confirming sales terms, providing properly completed legal paperwork and securing financing if necessary is a must.
Next, the F&I Manager must protect the dealership’s assets. This is accomplished by making sure that the customer is properly identified, has adequate insurance, a valid driver’s license, proper ownership of traded vehicles, correct payoffs on those trades, and of course either funds readily available or financing in place so the dealership may be paid for the newly sold vehicle.
In addition, the F&I Manager must remain legally compliant. This is an extremely important part of their job description. Non-compliance can lead to federal and state litigation, and if found in non-compliance fines can be crippling to a dealership. The compliance laws are in place to protect the dealership’s customers. Negative press can also result from non-compliance and may be very costly to the dealer’s reputation. Compliance issues include Red Flag Rules, OFAC, Risked Based Pricing, Privacy, Adverse Action, and Truth in Lending - just to name a few.
Another responsibility of the F&I Manager is of course, to be profitable. Profitability is generated by providing products and services that benefit the customer and make the ownership of their new car a better experience. Items provided include financing, extended service contracts, guaranteed asset protection, credit life and disability insurance and others. It is incumbent upon the F&I Manager to fully disclose each of the products being offered to the customer.
All these things must happen in a timely fashion since another function of the Business Manager is to increase the dealerships Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI) The CSI is extremely important to manufacturers as well as the dealership. F&I Managers strive to make their customer’s experience pleasant.
Any F&I Manager in a business office needs provide a valuable benefit to their customers, build client loyalty and remain profitable while simultaneously protecting the dealer’s assets. As a sales person, being knowledgeable about these roles helps you better work together with the business office. As an F&I Manager, making sure to keep these points in mind while working helps you to maximize performance as well as profits.
Ross Pantano is a District Manager for Vision Management Group and serves the greater Omaha area. Being in the automotive industry for over 30 years, his knowledge and expertise drives profitability in dealerships across the country. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.