Online credit applications can ease the dealership’s F&I process

DETROIT –

Greg Cole cannot extend credit to his clients, but he can find a lender who will.

And it can do it faster and more efficiently when customers go to one of its dealers’ websites and complete a credit application before going to the dealership to purchase a vehicle.

This gives finance and insurance staff at his Chevrolet from Athens to Athens, Ga., And Cole Chevrolet to Pocatello, Idaho, the ability to arrange financing in advance – a move that may reduce up to 30 minutes the average vehicle purchase transaction time. from 90 minutes to two hours.

It also prevents the purchase transaction time – the time between when a consumer selects a specific vehicle and completes the F&I process – from extending an additional “two to three hours”, for credit-distressed consumers including loan applications generally require more attention and documentation, Cole mentioned.

“The faster we can move the deal forward, the more generally they are satisfied,” he said.

“When you have someone sitting here for two or three hours, they’re usually not very happy when they take delivery of their car – they get very impatient. This has a huge impact on customer satisfaction scores.

According to the Cox Automotive Future of Digital Retail study released in January, consumers want to start their vehicle buying process online.

Eighty-three percent want to complete one or more online purchasing steps and 89 percent want to sign final documents at the dealership, the study concludes.

About 30% of Cole’s customers submit credit applications before they go to the dealership, after studying their inventory online and knowing exactly what vehicle they want, he said.

Put customers at ease

But many customers are nervous about submitting personal information electronically. Some of those customers, after making phone contact with someone in their dealership, part with their personal information over the phone or complete a loan application, Cole added.

Then there are the customers who want to make sure the dealership has the vehicle they want.

“It’s’ We’re looking at the red pickup, do you still have it?” I don’t want you to use my credit information if you don’t already have the car I’m interested in, ”Cole said.

While it is quite common for consumers to apply for loans through a dealership’s or lender’s website or mobile apps that connect to digital markets, dealers must also take precautions, said Dave Robertson. , executive director of the Association of Finance and Insurance Professionals.

For example, dealerships should always make sure financial forms include the consumer’s permission to get their credit report, he said.

To reduce identity fraud, dealerships should include questions on the app that ask consumers to provide information such as their old home address or their mortgage balance within a range of $ 10,000, a he added.

“I can confirm both of these things on the credit history report,” Robertson said.

Identify, eliminate speed bumps

Like virtually all dealerships, Cole knows where the financial speed bumps are. Having credit applications before the dealership visit helps its F&I managers alert consumers when they need to gather documents such as tax returns, pay stubs and utility bills, did he declare.

“You might need a longer term lender, a lender that’s 84 months old, or you might need a few more checks to get a low interest rate for that customer, or you have a customer upside down (in their current car loan), and we have a lender doing that type of financing, ”he said.

“If we have this (credit application) at 8 am, we can work on it all day. But if you come in the evening, I’m sorry the lender is gone for the day.


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David A. Albanese

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