Dealer consultant Frank Martin has come to expect auto lenders to call a customer's cell phone to confirm the customer's credit information -- right in the middle of the finance transaction. It is just a sign of the times.
“Even customers with high Beacon scores get calls,” says Martin, who works in Boca Raton, Fla., and sometimes fills in for absent F&I managers in the stores he serves in the Southeast.
In many markets, major lenders are requiring proof of income and sometimes proof of residence even from customers with excellent credit.
Although lenders have stepped up standards during the credit crisis, finance experts also attribute this intense scrutiny to additional factors:
-- Some banks report an increase in fraudulent credit applications related to the credit squeeze.
-- Identity theft continues to rise.
-- Lenders are subject to greater government regulation requiring them to confirm the accuracy of customer information.