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Automakers push for certification of F&I managers; CATA offers it

November 22, 2010

Several automakers are encouraging finance and insurance managers at their dealerships to get certified in F&I practices, Automotive News reported Nov. 14. This interest from automakers comes amid media reports and lawsuits alleging F&I abuses in the past few years. 

To become certified, an F&I manager must score at least 80 percent on a college-level, 200-question written exam devised by the Association of Finance and Insurance Professionals.

 

The CATA offers all AFIP self-study materials and certification testing for $500. Then, for all personel who earn certification, the CATA will rebate $250 to the dealership, to encourage full participation of every CATA dealership. 

The final cost represents a $420 savings compared to AFIP prices charged by other state and metro dealer associations, and private entities—another benefit of CATA membership.

 

The questions focus on federal and state laws and industry ethics governing auto finance. Staff who are AFIP-certified can generate dealership profit and dramatically reduce the chance of legal action in today’s litigious environment; they are bound to a code of conduct that holds them accountable for their actions. 

Steve Smith, senior vice president of financial services at American Honda Finance Corp., says the company told Honda dealers this fall that it supports certification of F&I managers, and he expects "hundreds" of Honda F&I managers to get certified in the next year.

 

"This is a period of heavy litigation," Smith said. "It’s important the dealers do what they need to do to ensure they have a very professional operation and that they’re avoiding any unnecessary problems." 

The CATA offers AFIP certification testing monthly, including on Nov. 17 and Nov. 18. For upcoming dates and to register, call the exam’s proctor, CATA Learning University, at 847-953-6055.

 

Early registration is encouraged, to provide more self-study time before the next exam. Self-study materials include a lengthy booklet and six compact discs that can be listened to at the registrant’s pace.

 

NADA campaign

 

Meanwhile, the NADA has waged a national campaign to educate consumers and the government on auto financing, with a four-pronged message:

 

  • Dealerships offer the convenience of one-stop shopping;
  • Dealerships have access to many credit sources;
  • Dealerships offer competitive rates and have exclusive access to manufacturer incentives and discounts; and
  • Customers unhappy with finance terms offered through a dealership can refinance elsewhere without penalty.
 

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