Foster Good Lender Relationships in the F&I Office
There’s a lot of information about the financial services advisor relating to the customer.
It’s a part of the role that has an incredible impact on customer satisfaction, SSI survey scores, referral business, and customer loyalty. But the F&I office has another side that doesn’t get nearly the attention that it deserves: lender relationships.
Unless it’s one of the extremely rare cash deals, every vehicle purchased or leased goes through the financing process. Some deals are bought immediately; others can take some time and some sweet-talking to get the job done.
Any F&I advisor with experience knows their lenders. They know which bank will buy the prime deals, which one pays the best, and which one will take risky non-prime clients. Yet, that communication between F&I advisor and lender isn’t given the attention it deserves.
How F&I Advisors Benefit from Good Lender Relationships
You scratch their back, and they’ll scratch yours. Lending representatives aren’t ‘the bank’, but reasonable people who are tasked to assess risk in every deal that gets flagged. Having a good relationship with the lender is going to pay off for the F&I advisor.
Reps Willing to Compromise
That deal that IS solid but doesn’t LOOK great on paper – you want someone that will listen when it comes up. A quick synopsis over the phone, and there’s a green checkmark on your screen. Sometimes it requires that the customer comes up with proof, a down payment, or a co-signer, but that relationship can turn a hard ‘NO’ into an easy ‘YES’.
When the lender has built rapport with a financial services advisor, things just go smoother. There might be waived documents or top-of-the-pile applications that result in faster approvals or funding, meaning the customer gets their car sooner and is even more satisfied.
For the F&I department, it’s about being relational and non-combative. It can mean losing a deal that was borderline from time to time, but it makes every other aspect easier. More important than anything is honesty – if the lending representative discovers you’re trying to pull the wool over their eyes, you’ve lost their trust and goodwill.