Finance and Insurance Newsletter

GM dealers: Warranty, maintenance cuts could help F&I, hurt service

11:00 am U.S. ET | March 18, 2015

General Motors' dealers don't seem especially disturbed by the automaker's decision to scale back its powertrain warranty and free maintenance visits on Buick, Chevrolet and GMC vehicles. If anything, dealership executives say, the shorter powertrain warranties could make it easier to sell extended-service contracts.... Read More »

Q&A

Consistent F&I pricing key to compliance

11:00 am U.S. ET | March 18, 2015

As regulators scrutinize auto lending practices, companies in the F&I space have made compliance with state and federal rules a priority too.... Read More »

Dealers, lenders still angling over laws governing F&I tactics

11:00 am U.S. ET | March 18, 2015

Dealers and auto lenders are keeping a close eye on various dealer-backed state laws that seek to restrict what automakers’ captive finance companies can do to induce dealerships to sell F&I products backed by the factory or a specific vendor.... Read More »

Jump-starting car sales from the service lane

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2015

Mike Bowsher uses software at the service desk to help him jump-start the sales process at his stores. The owner of Carl Black Auto Group says once his staff got the hang of using the software tools, new- and used-vehicle sales across his four dealerships rose 700 to 800 vehicles per quarter.... Read More »

Stakes are high for Ally's new CEO

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 17, 2015

New Ally Financial CEO Jeffrey Brown must hit the ground running. Along with a sizable to-do list, he must deal with a shrinking share of business supported by incentives from former parent GM. The decline in GM business is a long-term trend and an obvious priority for Brown.... Read More »

As GM trims warranties, will buyers even notice?

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 16, 2015

One dealer said "it really didn't work." An analyst called it a useful enticement to draw consumers to Chevrolet and GMC. Those were just some of the responses to General Motors' decision to scale back its generous powertrain warranties.... Read More »

Penske launches digital sales pilot

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 16, 2015

Penske Automotive Group is launching an online sales pilot program it calls "Preferred Purchase," which enables customers to handle much of a transaction online. The pilot this week will be available on the websites of five Florida stores and six Washington-area stores.... Read More »

Ally adds 7-year loans, as debate over risk heats up

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2015

The slow march toward 84-month loans is adding fuel to the debate over whether auto lending is getting too risky, possibly threatening the economy the way subprime mortgages did during the run-up to the 2008-09 financial crisis. Auto buyers increasingly are opting to spread their payments over longer terms so they can finance higher amounts -- and thus buy pricier vehicles -- and still keep monthly payments low.... Read More »

GM Financial will double earnings by 2018, GM says

11:45 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2015

GM expects earnings from GM Financial “to more than double by 2018,” GM President Dan Ammann told investors this week. GM wants pretax earnings for GM Financial to rise from $815 million in 2014 to more than $1.6 billion in 2018. The automaker also wants to increase GM Financial’s earning assets -- outstanding consumer and commercial loans, plus leases -- from $40.8 billion as of Dec. 31, 2014, to more than $82 billion at the end of 2018.... Read More »

JIM HENRY

BLOG: Congressmen get testy with CFPB chief Cordray

11:45 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2015

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and its critics on the House Financial Services Committee traded jabs in a tense session last week as CFPB Director Richard Cordray presented the bureau's semiannual report.... Read More »

Q&A

Exeter picks up the pace on approvals

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 11, 2015

Exeter Finance's new software platform, which accelerates decisions on customer credit applications and speeds sales transactions, is making it easier for dealerships to move cars. The computer upgrade has translated into business and revenue growth for Exeter, says Thomas Anderson, the subprime lender's new CEO.... Read More »

Open-air designs create F&I privacy puzzle

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 9, 2015

Though walls and locked doors still are considered the sure-fire way to keep customer data safe today, manufacturers and some automotive retailers are exploring ways to move the finance and insurance part of the sales transaction outside the traditional F&I "box." It's a bit of a challenge.... Read More »

Security breaches happen, so be prepared

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 9, 2015

Security breaches happen to the best retailers, and auto dealers are not exempt. So what do you do if bad guys get hold of your customers' personal information? You turn to the written plan that you should have created ahead of time as outlined by the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, said Charles Gallaer, an attorney with Bellavia Blatt & Crossett in Mineola, N.Y.... Read More »

Small-time security threats bigger concern

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 9, 2015

The biggest threats to a dealership's data aren't Russian hackers breaking through electronic firewalls or robots trying a thousand passwords on security codes until they finally crack into the system.... Read More »

TO SERVE AND PROTECT

Dealerships work to safeguard data as security breaches loom

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 9, 2015

Today, practices designed to protect customer data are becoming commonplace as regulators increasingly view auto dealerships as financial institutions in terms of the magnitude of personal consumer information collected in the F&I department.... Read More »

Loan amounts, payments reach new highs

11:00 am U.S. ET | March 4, 2015

The average amount financed for a new vehicle reached a record $28,381 in the fourth quarter of 2014, Experian Automotive said today. That was an increase of $950, or 3.5 percent, from the year-earlier quarter and a rise of $582, or 2.1 percent, from the previous high of $27,799, set in the third quarter last year.... Read More »

Online retail tools are changing F&I jobs, work force analyst says

11:00 am U.S. ET | March 4, 2015

The neat organization of dealership F&I departments isn't so neat anymore. And industry researchers believe online retail is the reason why.... Read More »

JIM HENRY

BLOG: The auto fallout from tax refund delays

11:45 am U.S. ET | March 4, 2015

Tax refund season is typically the high point of the year for subprime auto lenders, but so far the early tax refund statistics are down slightly from a year ago.... Read More »

Millennials coming on stream in auto loans, leases

11:00 am U.S. ET | March 4, 2015

Millennials get a bum rap as being less interested in driving and cars -- and in auto finance -- than previous generations, TransUnion says in a new study. In fact, millennials are the fastest-growing group of car buyers in auto lending, the TransUnion study found. Millennials represented 27 percent of total auto loans and lease originations combined in 2014, up from 16 percent in 2009.... Read More »

Toyota Financial explores how to improve e-commerce

11:00 am U.S. ET | March 4, 2015

As more shoppers turn to e-commerce as part of buying a car, Toyota Financial Services is turning to its U.S. dealers to find ways to improve its digital offerings. A major push: e-contracting, which Toyota Financial Services launched about two years ago.... Read More »

Santander Consumer USA to pay $9.35 million settlement over military repos

12:01 am U.S. ET | March 4, 2015

Santander Consumer USA will pay at least $9.35 million to resolve charges that it improperly repossessed the cars of members of the military, the U.S. Department of Justice said.... Read More »

GM tells Ally that GM Financial will get all of Chevy's subsidized leases

6:30 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 27, 2015

General Motors has notified Ally Financial that it will steer all of its lease subsidies for the Chevrolet brand to captive finance company GM Financial, instead of sharing them among Ally, GM Financial, and to a lesser extent, U.S. Bank.... Read More »

Santander Consumer USA to pay $9.35 million settlement over military repos

3:07 pm U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2015

Santander Consumer USA will pay at least $9.35 million to resolve charges that it improperly repossessed the cars of members of the military, the U.S. Department of Justice said.... Read More »

Sonic is most-improved in Q4 F&I revenue

11:22 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2015

Sonic Automotive Inc. posted the biggest increase in average F&I revenue per vehicle in the fourth quarter among the six public new-car retail groups, the tallies, completed today, show.... Read More »

Consumer Portfolio gains volume; retraining continues after FTC action

10:57 am U.S. ET | Feb. 25, 2015

Subprime auto lender Consumer Portfolio Services reported strong volume growth in the fourth quarter and for all of 2014, despite a run-in with the Federal Trade Commission last year.... Read More »

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