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New financing class for CATA Learning University

November 23, 2010
A certification course for dealership F&I staffers has been added to the curricula of CATA Learning University. Six daylong classes are forming in January at the CATA offices in Oakbrook Terrace. Tuition is $500, but CATA dealers would be reimbursed 50 percent of that upon each employee's successful completion of the course. That offer exists for all Learning University coursework. Certification would be bestowed by the Association of Finance and Insurance Professionals. AFIP certification implies a technical competence and ethical conduct, and is considered "the MBA of the F&I profession." AFIP offers F&I certification training in conjunction with six other state and metro dealer associations and is in discussions with several more. The training supports a series of specific steps taken by the National Automobile Dealers Association to improve the transparency for consumers of the vehicle financing process. The NADA in 20002 drafted a code of ethics which encourages dealers to disclose to consumers that the finance rate may be negotiable and that dealers may retain a portion of that charge for helping them to secure credit. The CATA advocates that code of ethics. The CATA course will review federal and state regulations that govern the F&I process, the rules relating to the sale of aftermarket products, basic F&I product knowledge, and an overview of standard contract forms. "F&I is one of those unique occupations where stupidity will get you into as much trouble as dishonesty," said AFIP Executive Director David Robertson. "Knowledge of the rules is essential. "It is also important to note that, given the vast array of customer-related circumstances encountered over a period of time, a specific rule may be approached from many different angles." The process of applying to each deal the various customer conversion techniques and an in-depth knowledge of the products sold is the ultimate determinant of whether all the requisites of a successful F&I transaction have been satisfied, Robertson said. The AFIP, based in Texas and founded in 1989, has certified more than 4,000 F&I practitioners and dealer-contact people in the United States, Canada and England. The CATA will conduct a special mailing to dealers in December with dates of the January classes.