In the late 1980s, as the auto retail industry braced for an increase in state and federal scrutiny and regulations, the need for a compliance certification program was clear.
Welcome the Association of Finance & Insurance Professionals, which was formed in 1989 to prepare the auto finance industry for the changes.
"The industry knew regulations were going to become a major factor in the F&I process," Dave Robertson, executive director of the association, informally known as AFIP, told Automotive News.
Industry leaders agreed that collecting and disseminating information on state and federal laws was "an expensive and time-consuming process that carried a significant contingent liability, an undertaking that would be duplicated by every training provider," Robertson said.
Laurie Posella DiGiovanni, a California entrepreneur, initiated the idea for the association, which would be an unaffiliated entity whose sole purpose was state and federal regulatory education and certification for dealerships, auto lenders and F&I product providers.
The industry latched onto the notion quickly, with players such as Ford Motor Credit Co., Bank of America, General Motors Acceptance Corp., American Automotive & Financial Services, Hendrick Automotive Group and Dealer Based Services (Robertson's vehicle service contract company), and others jumping in to help organize and fund it.
Robertson sold Dealer Based Services and became AFIP's executive director soon after, moving the association from California to Colleyville, Texas.