Retail Front

More Tales from the F&I Battlefront

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Finance and insurance warriors swap war stories, including accounts of a surprise firing by a raw general manager and a sneak attack by a credit union.

It’s tough working as a finance and insurance officer at a dealership.

That’s evidenced by our latest installment of “Tales from the F&I Battlefront,” in which F&I staffers share war stories.

Here’s one from a person who describes a skirmish with a general manager fresh out of college and armed with an information-technology degree. “How the heck he got his job, I have no clue,” says the F&I manager.

He informed her during a pay-plan meeting that he’s taking the dealership in the proverbial “different direction.” So, even though she says she has boosted F&I income at the store from $5,000 to $100,000 a month, “the jerk fired me, with no reason except ‘different direction.’”

Well that’s, um, different. She says she’s “baffled.” Putting it much more mildly than she put it, she’s also miffed.

Someone else tells of visiting a dealership where the tension was so high and morale so low “you could feel it immediately.”

A few months ago, the dealership brought in a new general manager who apparently is trying to change everything at once, including pay plans, hours, processes and inventories.

The store has experienced an almost 50% turnover in three months, including two F&I managers, says our war correspondent. “My question: Do you think customers can sense and be affected by this type of discord?”

I’d say yes. What would you say?

Sometimes, so-called partners outside the dealership can ambush an F&I manager.

One of them tells of getting a customer a 2.99% interest-rate approval from a credit union. But the customer balked, saying the credit union told her she would get a 2.59% rate and no payments for 90 days.

“I don’t have anything that says this, so I call the credit union,” says the F&I manager. “They say, ‘Oh yes, we will honor those terms, if the customer closes here at the credit union.’ What the heck? You just made me look like a liar, took the deal from me and really ticked me off.”

Other than that, he’s fine. Not really. “I hate credit unions,” he declares.

 

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What's Retail Front?

Blogs about automotive retailing, commenting on news impacting the business of selling vehicles.

Contributors

Steve Finlay

Steve Finlay is the editor of WardsAuto Dealer Business magazine. His journalism career started 40 years ago as a crime reporter. A Michigan native, he likes fast cars, big lakes and cold days.

Jim Ziegler

Jim Ziegler, president of Ziegler Supersystems, is a trainer, commentator and public speaker on dealership issues.
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