How to increase your F&I gross and offer more affordable auto loan payments to customers

On today’s show, we’re pleased to welcome back David Engelman, Chief Executive Officer at SMART Payment Plan. We last spoke to Engelman on the CBT stage at the 2020 NADA Show this past February. In this segment, we catch up with Engelman to find out how the company has fared through the COVID-19 pandemic. He also discusses what the future holds for SMART.

According to Engelman, the company has done remarkably well throughout the pandemic. They continue to grow and have been focused primarily on helping consumers. The company has focused internally on working with borrowers to restructure their auto loans. They have also been assisting customers who are having trouble making payments due to COVID-19 circumstances. They also waved any incidental fees that occur with missed debits or other collection issues.

Amidst all of the problems caused by Coronavirus, SMART and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have just concluded a four-year-long investigation. The investigation found that certain practices from SMART during 2012-2015 were not in accordance with the 2010 Consumer Financial Protection Act. SMART has since settled with the Bureau and its current practices have been compliant since 2016. 

Engelman says, “Dealers should be even more confident in our program, now that we settled this claim, and undergone this level of scrutiny… Now, to have dealt with the most rigorous state and federal regulators is a real testament to our focus on compliance and value of our service to consumers and dealers.”

Even though the investigation was long and rigorous, Engelman is actually thankful to have the governing body looking out for consumer’s best interests. He says that SMART Payment Plan has the same goal in mind.

At its core, SMART offers a loan payment program for consumers that deducts payments from consumers’ bank accounts every two weeks. Then, the payments get forwarded to the appropriate lender. According to recent Bureau of Labor statistics, 95% of Americans get paid weekly or bi-weekly. This means that traditional monthly payments on auto loans don’t fit with the payment timing most consumers operate on. 

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