Customer service matters. That includes when the F&I manager is the customer.
F&I managers prefer to hook up the vehicle buyer with the financing institution that provides the best overall deal. But let's face it: A speedy response from a bank is much appreciated when the customer is getting antsy about how long the F&I process is taking or if problems arise when the deal is being put together.
And when it comes to speedy responses, Ally leads the pack by a wide margin, according to an unscientific online survey of dealership personnel by Automotive News.
The survey asked: "Among the lenders you work with, which give you the fastest response -- online, over the phone, or however -- when there's a question about a loan applicant?" Respondents were asked to name two or three lenders.
The question drew 102 respondents. Of those, 37 percent put Ally on the list.
That was well ahead of 25 percent for Chase, 21 percent for Capital One and 20 percent for Ford Motor Credit.
Wells Fargo, Santander and TD Auto Finance rounded out the list of companies that were named by more than 10 percent of respondents.
Automotive News also asked which financing companies were the slowest to respond.
In theory, those responses should have been a mirror image of the "Who's fastest?" list. But the world doesn't work that way.
In fact, respondents put Ally fourth on the list of the slowest respondents. One possible reason: A lot of Ally offices are quick to respond, but some aren't.
That's likely the reason why the lenders tagged as the slowest to get back to F&I managers when there's a problem were credit unions.
There are more than 7,000 credit unions across the United States, varying widely in size and procedures. So it's not surprising that some of them have a long way to go in terms of speedy responsiveness to auto dealerships.
Credit unions were cited by 26 percent of the survey respondents for their laggard replies.
Next in order on the "We're still waiting for the call back" list were Wells Fargo, cited by 24 percent of respondents; AmeriCredit, 18 percent; Ally, 17 percent; Chase, 15 percent; and Santander, 13 percent.