In 2015, a whopping 17.47 million light vehicles were sold in America, up 6% from the previous year. The majority of these vehicles were bought by customers on finance, including lease finance the proportion of which, increased significantly. To cater to millions of car finance applications, a large number of properly qualified people are required by the industry, usually at the dealerships.
Job Role of Auto Finance Managers
Auto finance managers and executives help in finding the best possible financing options for customers. They also work with finance companies and banks to offer finance programs that are attractive to customers. Needless to say, as with all positions concerned with finance, integrity and ethical standards of the highest order are expected.
The typical duties of an auto finance manager comprise offering financing schemes for vehicles to customers as well as insurance policies, extended warranties and a thorough explanation of procedures and policies followed by both the dealer and the manufacturer. They are also charged with the responsibility of quickly and accurately processing the financing deals so that there is no delay in getting the approvals from the lenders. F&I managers also need to comply with the various federal, state and local regulations as may be applicable for new and used car finance. Auto finance managers are also responsible for obtaining the best possible interest rates and terms from the financial institutions and ensure that all customers requiring finance are referred by the sales team to the financing department.
Candidates looking to build careers in auto finance should have at least a high school diploma as well as a degree in finance or associated field. Experience in customer interaction and at least a couple of years; exposure to the automotive industry is desirable. Among the key skills required are excellent verbal and written communication, the ability to listen to customers, time management, coordination, and management. Ability to use a computer for writing memos and letter to customers as well as spreadsheets for financial analysis is mandatory.
Auto finance managers should expect to work at least 40-hour weeks when they are employed with a leading dealership like Ideal Auto USA. The bulk of their time will be spent in attending to customers during business hours while processing applications and completing the paperwork may have to be done after that, depending upon the volume. The work is usually limited to the office but competitive pressures may require to also visiting customers, especially with large requirements or considering premium models. As with all jobs, the compensation package rises with time, experience and performance.
How to Get Your Career Started
Among the best ways of kicking off a career in auto finance is to get a job at a car dealership so you can gain experience of automobile sales and learn how financing works. Dealerships that are organized will make sure that new employees are given adequate on the job training, classroom lectures, and mentor ship.
Although all employers do not require it, it can be very advantageous for those aspiring for a career in auto finance to pursue post secondary programs in management or auto finance so that they are better acquainted with concepts of finance, dealership accounting, business law, insurance management, and automotive marketing. Only a few modules may be enrolled for or an entire degree program may be completed that will earn candidates a bachelor’s degree. Those who are already in employment may find it more convenient to enroll for an online course, preferably one offered by the Automotive Dealership Institute.
Once adequate experience of the working and management of the automotive sales process at the dealership has been acquired and post secondary qualifications obtained, candidates are well poised to take up a position as an auto finance manager, and with time grow to more senior positions in the dealership.
Author bio: Kathy Johnson is the head of the human resource department in Ideal Auto USA, a leading auto dealer with a large online presence. She is also an active blogger and spends her time imparting knowledge to people interested in car purchases.