Auto lenders wary of federal agencies and state regulators cracking down on the authenticity of F&I products are looking for assistance in assessing those products. And two lawyers have launched a digital tool to help expedite that process.
Stephen McDaniel and Matthew Nowels, insurance regulatory attorneys who have examined and screened F&I products since 2008, are the legal minds behind F&I Sentinel, a web portal where F&I product companies can submit documents for review to meet compliance standards and auto lender guidelines. Two captive finance companies — Toyota Financial Services and Volkswagen Credit — are using F&I Sentinel, which debuted early this year.
After the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2011, which granted federal jurisdiction over finance companies that market F&I products, McDaniel said his and Nowels' legal services became even more desirable.
"When that interest peaked, we had several of our clients approach us asking to help manage this risk," McDaniel said. Though the CFPB, under new leadership, has dialed back on oversight, several state attorneys general have increased scrutiny to compensate.