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Too much coverage of F&I training? No way, dealers say

Karen Faust O’Rourke is an assigning editor for the Automotive News F&I Weekly Report.

LAS VEGAS -- As an editor of finance and insurance stories, I sometimes wonder whether we in auto media are beginning to exhaust F&I managers with endless stories about the importance of F&I training and how dealerships can go about it.

Not so, say dealers at F&I and Showroom magazine’s Industry Summit conference here.

“You can never have too much training, and you can never have too many stories about training,” said Marv Eleazer, financial services specialist at Langdale Ford in Valdosta, Ga.

Some dealerships still don’t get the message on training, he says.

For example, he says he knows of some F&I managers who still call vehicle service contracts “extended warranties” and refer to guaranteed asset protection as “insurance.”

That’s a problem because in most states, GAP is properly called a waiver. The GAP agreement a customer buys isn’t insurance; it’s an addition to the finance contract. The dealership agrees to waive the difference between the current value of the vehicle and the remainder of the loan if the vehicle is totaled or stolen. In states where GAP is regulated like insurance, dealerships must have a license to sell it.

The use of improper terminology in the F&I office is just one example of the “ongoing need for training,” said G.P. Anderson, finance manager at Thielen Motors in Park Rapids, Minn. Too little training, especially in compliance, can leave F&I managers spinning their wheels. For those who aren’t trained, he said, “How much time does it take not knowing?”

Well said, and the answer to my question. As reporters, it’s our charge to keep letting dealers and F&I managers know what they need to know and why.

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