F&I cents and sensibilities

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News
Sure, it’s a business. But F&I managers and auto lenders often talk about what they do in terms of personal relationships.

“It’s like a marriage,” said Scott Vickery, finance director at Honda of El Cerrito in California. He was in a panel discussion at last week’s Royal Media Group Auto Finance Summit. Josh Aaronson, owner of Yonkers Auto Mall in New York, complained that few banks call on him personally. “Banks that do a good job of that get more of my business,” he said.

On the lender side, Frank Armstrong, president of World Omni Financial, the parent of Southeast Toyota Finance, said in a separate panel that when times get tough, “the guy who offers you the best rates walks away.” Dealers, he said, should remember that captive finance companies stand by their partners.

There’s a country song in there somewhere.