November 26th, 2023
What is an Auto F&I Manager
The F&I profession is one of the highest paid vocational jobs in the automotive industry. It is basically the role of the manager in the finance department of an auto dealership when you want to purchase a vehicle.
Most people have experienced purchasing a car in a dealership. When you purchase a vehicle at a dealership, the salesperson may refer you to someone in the F&I or business office or sometimes referred to as the finance manager.
This is the part of the dealership that helps you find the loan of your choice and the F&I Manager spends time with you to get you approved for the loan and get any optional add-ons for your vehicle. Once all options and add-ons are selected, including often additional warranty, this individual helps you finish the entire process and hands you the keys to your new vehicle.
Are you interested to find out how to start an F&I Manager career in the automotive industry?
Many F&I Managers join the automotive industry after completing a Vocational Education & Training (VET) Course, often an online course, though the classroom training is far more superior in quality of learning.
What is a Vocational Education & Training (VET) Course?
When it comes to finding a job and encouraging dedicated professionals to excel in their new career path, making sure that certified well-trained graduates have the skills they need for the position is an essential role delivered by VET Courses. Traditional college education can hardly match the performance of vocational schools, online or classrooms.
VET courses help professionals to become qualified for a particular role or industry, such as an Automotive Dealership F&I Management, through specific training to gain the skills to become a highly valuable asset for future employers.
Many of these courses are offered by highly experienced and knowledgeable schools that offer flexible learning options and friendly, knowledgeable trainers and instructors who work closely with you to help you achieve your goals.
Each VET course has a number of potential work outcomes, and some also provide job placement assistance. At the end of these courses, a trained professional will gain confidence with new skills, a certification, and a clearer career path for his/her future.
Vocational education and training, allows students to gain practical experience in their chosen career path before they even graduate.
Why does the automotive industry need to have a finance department and a F&I Manager?
The finance department called the F&I office needs to have a highly skilled professional knowing all the ins and outs of vehicle financing as well as helping buyers with optional add-ons like an extended warranty, auto service contract, credit insurance, or guaranteed asset protection (GAP) insurance.
This individual often requires quite a bit of professional hands-on training from an automotive school that specializes in automotive finance management training. There are many skills thought to such an individual as they need to know quite a bit about financing a car and helping buyers get the additional options or add-ons.
From a buyers point of view, there are many questions that need to be answered before buyers can make an informed decision on these optional extras and compare payment plans so they can establish if they can afford the optional extras. Before deciding to buy any of these additional options, buyers need to obviously think of how badly they want each of these options and the associated costs.
When financing optional add-ons and extras as part of a vehicle loan, this will indeed increase the payment plan and the total loan amount. There is also more interest that needs to be paid on the loan since there is more borrowing, which either extends the life of the loan or increases the premium, based on buyers’ credit rating.
It is true to say that, with a few exceptions such as credit unions, financing an auto loan through the dealership often allows for better interest rates through a bank or other lenders, which have agreed to offer the dealership great rates and have a more diverse risk analysis and hence often better deals for the buyers.
Dealership arranged financing vs. pre-arranged financing with your own bank
You can have your bank “preapprove” you for a vehicle loan. Usually Credit Unions can offer one of the best auto rate in the industry, if you have good credit rating.
These financial institutions are willing to make an auto loan to you, if they already have a relationship with you, i.e. if you have a checking account or savings account with them.
The lender will quote you an interest rate, the term of the loan (number of months), and maximum loan amount based on factors such as your credit score(s), the terms of the transaction, and the type of vehicle.
You can ask for a quote in writing and some financial institutions will even provide a conditional commitment letter before you go to the dealership to start looking at cars and test driving them to find your final choice.
It is important to remember that these financial institutions (bank, credit union or other lenders) offers certain terms, and those terms are negotiable and you can ask them for better rates, while they ask for more down payment in return.
However, in most cases financing arranged through dealerships may offer better rates and better terms as they have already exhausted every financial institutions’ offer to get the best rates to present to you, so they can sell more cars to their customers.
In fact often you will find that there are lenders which are looking to diversify their portfolios and add vehicle financing to their books, hence they are inclined to work with dealerships and offer a great rate, often seasonally. Many automobile manufacturers have their own financial institution to offer great rates so they can sell more cars.
If the lender(s) chooses to finance your loan, they may authorize or quote an interest rate to the dealer to finance the loan, and in most cases these rates are already known and there is a sliding scale associated to rates and buyers’ credit score.
The final rate is referred to as the “buy rate.” The interest rate that you negotiate with the dealer may be higher than the “buy rate” because it may include an amount that compensates the dealer for handling the financing, and there may be special programs allowed to offer lower rates, depending on which State the buyer resides in.
Dealerships and their auto finance managers have discretion to charge you more than the buy rate they receive from a lender, so you may be able to negotiate the interest rate the dealer quotes to you. They may also offer rates provided by the manufacturer of the vehicle for new cars in order to sell more cars to individuals whose credit rating is not very high.
Buyers can always ask and negotiate the terms and the rates for a car loan. With add-ons, choose the options that best fits buyer’s budget and the loan terms that he/she feels meets their needs.
In some cases, after a buyer purchases a vehicle, the dealership sells the loan (or a collection of loans) to a financial institution who is interested in buying in bulk. That new lender may own your loan for the entire duration of the loan and collect the monthly payments, or transfer and sell the loan to another lender or company.
In most cases however, usually towards the end of the year and the Christmas season, dealerships want to sell as many vehicles as possible so they may offer some flexible dealerships financing for new auto loans, which they refer to as “in-house” financing. This usually targeted, but not always, to borrowers with no credit or lower credit rating.
This type of program is called “Buy Here Pay Here” dealership financing. It is often offered to individuals that have little or no credit history.
What are F&I Products and what is an F&I Department?
The F&I department is office in the dealership that is responsible for helping buyers get financing and the extra add-ons and vehicle options, as mentioned above. This department works with the sales department in the dealership and tend to work together to get the buyer through the process as easily and quickly as possible.
When a buyer arrives at a dealership, they are greeted by a sales professional who helps them with any questions and with test-driving the vehicle. The sales department is in charge of selling new & used vehicles and helping customers getting the vehicle of their choice.
The F&I Department takes over as soon as the buyer has selected the vehicle of their choice and the F&I Manager is in charge of financing options, walking the buyer through the contract and terms, helping with options, rates, add-ons, documents, and finishing the sales process.
What does the term F&I mean?
As mentioned above, F&I refers to financing and insurance and in particular it refers to auto financing and insurance as the task involved presenting, discussing, and reaching contractual agreements with buyers, and contacting financial institutions and lenders to negotiate the loan rates and terms.
The role of F&I manager also involves filing papers, temporary licenses and tabs with local Department of Motor Vehicles, making sure insurance documents are accurate and current.
So, you are still interested to Start an F&I Manager career in automotive industry? We can tell you more about salaries and how to start.
What is the salary of a Finance and Insurance (F&I) manager
The Auto F&I manager position is one of the most lucrative in the car sales industry, often with a salary of between 100k-120k or even more. But it’s tough to become an F&I manager without training by a professional instructor or without going to a vocational school to learn all the ins and outs of this key position in the automotive dealership.
What are the responsibilities of an F&I manager at an auto dealership?
To become an Auto Finance Manager (F&I Manager), most auto dealerships are looking for a candidate that has certain skills to be able to help customers with their purchase. The basic qualification requirements often include:
• High school diploma or equivalent
• Proven ability to provide an exceptional customer experience
• Ability to set and achieve targeted goals
• Highly detail-oriented and organized
• Demonstrated communication, consultative, interpersonal and organizational skills
• Experience and desire to work within automotive industry and its tools/technology
But there are additional requirements that come with experience and/or training as a Finance Manager in a recognized professional F&I Training School. Professional training centers like the industry leader, Automotive Dealer Institute, trains individuals to become an empowered F&I Manager with the resources and support needed to get every driver into the perfect deal including a fully transparent selling process. Additionally such a professional training by expert instructors prepares the F&I Manager to build preferred relationships with many lenders. Auto dealerships often seek out well trained candidates that can perform the following responsibilities:
• Able to work in a professional sales environment, the F&I Manager makes credit decisions, submits deals to lenders for approval and helps bridge disconnects in the sales process
• Some background in automotive sales or finance would be preferable, and desire to help find the right finance and insurance products for every customer, no matter what their situation
• Welcoming customers to the store and transition them from Sales to Finance during their vehicle purchase process
• Work directly with sales staff and customers to develop relationships
• Determine customer financing needs and payment options based on a consultative interview process
• Present a fully transparent pricing menu to customers detailing their financing options and products
• Process finance transactions and ensure 100% compliance with all state and federal laws and regulations
• Follow up with customers to ensure satisfaction
• Build rapport with customers to create a base of referrals
• Set and achieve targeted sales goals
• Gain superior product knowledge to effectively help customers
• Ensure that all administrative processes are handled in a timely fashion and in compliance with company policy
• Provide an exceptional customer experience to drive loyalty
While this is a very lucrative and highly paid profession, to start and grow your career as an F&I Manager you need adequate training and job placement assistance to start and accelerate as far and fast as your talent can take you.
Are still interested to start an F&I Manager career in the automotive industry?
And, finally, how to start an F&I manager career in automotive industry?
The most asked question, on everybody’s mind who is interested in becoming a finance manager, is – How to Start an F&I Manager Career in the Automotive Industry?
Most successful candidates start by first getting into the best finance manager training school, then through working hard, then graduate, get certification and use the job placement assistance to find a new job and start a lucrative new career.
Choosing the best F&I School is not difficult. Automotive Dealer Institute (ADI) is one of the best, while there are others, ADI is the only licensed, independent F&I school in U.S.A and has an exceptional reputation for helping student with their training and has a better than 90%+ job placement assistance program.--- article sharing ---