Certified F&I professionals sign a code of conduct that makes them personally accountable for their dealings with consumers. Violations of the ethics code can lead to loss of certification.
"That's the hook in the code," Robertson told Automotive News.
Last month, Ford Motor Credit Co. told dealers that it would host voluntary review sessions for the association's exams at its 95 U.S. branch offices.
Ford Credit's training staff is certified by the association, spokeswoman Meredith Libbey says. The finance company also plans to have "several dozen" certified people in the field to help prepare F&I managers for the test, she adds.
Ford Credit is offering the training to dealership employees in response to dealer appeals, Libbey says.
"It was really at the request of our dealers because of the increasing complexity of the regulatory and legal environment," she says. "It is something they identified as a training need."
Steve Smith, senior vice president of financial services at American Honda Finance Corp., says the company told Honda dealers this fall that it supports certification of F&I managers.
The company expects "hundreds" of Honda F&I managers to become certified in the next year, Smith says.
"This is a period of legislation, heavy litigation," Smith says. "It's important the dealers do what they need to do to ensure they have a very professional operation and that they're avoiding any unnecessary problems."
The Chrysler group also supports certification. All of the group's service-contract field representatives are certified by the association, Chrysler spokesman Kevin McCormick says.
McCormick notes the company cannot require dealers to participate in the certification process. But he adds: "We do think it's a good idea."
You may e-mail Gail Kachadourian at