If a century of forward thinking gave rise to the F&I office and products of today, what might the future bring? We asked F&I industry insiders to weigh in.
"The [Consumer Financial Protection Bureau] wants to make certain that consumers are getting a fair shake when it comes to aftermarket products. The emphasis will be on dealer profit. Dealers need to establish reasonable markups over their wholesale prices and show evidence of a written policy and adherence to it. The focus on price vs. actual customer benefit will eliminate a number of peripheral or gingerbread aftermarket products from the current offerings and usher in replacements under development. Credit insurance products, including involuntary unemployment insurance, may reappear as debt-cancellation products.
F&I will become paperless within the next two or three years. (With the digitization of all documents, software will be available for dealers to self-audit each transaction in real-time.) Access to online resources will bring more pre-qualified customers to the F&I office, as well as those pre-briefed or pre-sold on available aftermarket products. New regulations will likely be promulgated. However, the emphases will be knowledge of all applicable rules, their communication to those impacted by them, the presence of the training required to abide by the rules, evidence that compliance is being monitored and remedial action taken when required. In addition, the dealer will need to implement a written process for recording complaints and documenting the resolution of those complaints.
What will not change in the foreseeable future is the private ownership of vehicles, the need to finance or lease them, and the presence of vehicle owner protection products and services, the precursors of the F&I process."
— Dave Robertson, executive director, Association of Finance & Insurance Professionals