With most automotive lenders doing away with incentivized programs for F&I managers, we cannot underestimate the power and potential repercussions of the “free lunch” in wooing car dealer finance business.

It’s imperative to look at your monthly mix of deals and make sure there are not reoccurring “trends” taking place without merit. We know the captive is going to take most, if not all, the leasing and special APR programs that get so many in the door. Spending a couple extra minutes ensuring that we are maximizing every dollar possible, is imperative. This, however, is only possible when we (management) have access to, and understand, which programs are available from all banks you work with on each deal. Next level – check out all the programs available from lenders you DON’T currently work with as well and see if you are leaving money on the table.

The struggle has often been that the desk and F&I both want the “home run” but if they would just work together to maximize every deal it’s a win-win. This can only be accomplished with communication between departments. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we all don’t benefit from a bank or two that will go the extra mile, buy a little deeper, or do us a favor occasionally, but we must examine whether our dependence on the familiar is hurting our net.

Not to sound cliché but the old saying, “Two eyes are better than one” is applicable here. All managers with access to all the programs from all lenders is a great start. We must move away from our reliance on our favorite bank, the one with cash spiffs, pizza, and tickets to the big games.

With illumiQUOTE, dealers can instantly view hundreds of programs from thousands of lenders on every vehicle in inventory. Weigh the unknowns against your favorites. Over time, look for trends and consider teaming up with more/different lenders to maximize your dealership’s profit.