JIM HENRY

Looks like feds are ready to pounce

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News

Are the feds going to prey on auto dealers and lenders like "bears lined up at a trout stream"?

That's the phrase Holly Petraeus, wife of U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, reportedly used to describe how some businesses prey on soldiers. She's setting up the Office of Servicemember Affairs for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

It does appear the feds are ready to pounce, given the questions the FTC posed to lenders and dealerships ahead of the auto finance roundtable last week.

The FTC's questions referred to "packing" and "yo-yo" financing, all but implying there's something fishy about dealers making money from F&I.

Yet, at the roundtable, FTC representatives were careful to say they're gathering facts, not making judgments.

It's worth noting that the FTC was acting in its own right and not on behalf of the CFPB. Even so, NADA complained that the tone of the written questions was "hostile." Rightfully so.

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