Bradley Hoffman, incoming chairman of the American International Automobile Dealers Association, says he plans to speak out about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s controversial positions on automotive lending.
“The entire CFPB situation is on my agenda,” Hoffman, 55, told Automotive News. “Given the fact that we represent 10,000 dealers, I think it’s our responsibility at our association to be involved in that.”
Until now, the National Automobile Dealers Association has taken the lead in defending dealers in their faceoff with the CFPB.
Officially, the CFPB cannot regulate dealers, but it has used its oversight of automotive lenders to influence automotive retailing.
“NADA has taken a wonderful stance,” Hoffman said, “and I applaud them for everything they’ve done here. But I think we need a lot of voices because it is so ridiculously unfair what is going on.”
He said he wasn’t sure that the CFPB would become a major agenda item for AIADA in the coming year. More likely, he indicated, was renewed attention to promoting free trade, a traditional AIADA rallying cry and one that may get a stronger hearing in a Republican-controlled Congress.
But on the CFPB, “I will stand hand in hand” with NADA, Hoffman said. “They’re doing a great job, but I don’t think it should be ignored” by AIADA.
Hoffman and his brother, Jeffrey, are co-chairs of Hoffman Auto Group, which sells 10 brands in Connecticut. Hoffman will become chair of the import-brand dealers association next month.
“I represent a lot of brands, and this is an opportunity for me to put my voice out there,” he said. “Any chance I get to speak to it, I will.”
One issue he has with the bureau, he said, is that “the information that the CFPB is being given or producing is flawed.”
Citing a recent, nearly yearlong study commissioned by the American Financial Services Association, a lender group with offices in Washington, Hoffman said: “Charles River Associates just released a study that found that the methodology that [the CFPB is] using to determine the impact [of dealership-arranged financing] is entirely flawed. For them to be making decisions on bad information isn’t right. I just have a serious problem with that.
“I’ll say it loudly that I hope this thing dies a thousand deaths, or at least they get their facts right.”