Annual conference addresses issues in the retail automotive channel

More than 50 leaders of the American Financial Services Association’s (AFSA) Vehicle Finance Division and the National Automobile Dealer Association’s (NADA) met this week in Washington, DC, to discuss opportunities and challenges for the U.S. automotive retail channel.

Also joining the discussion were representatives of the National Association of Minority Dealers (NAMAD); the American International Automobile Association (AIADA) and the Arizona Automobile Association.

The meeting was highlighted by remarks from Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Director Kathy Kraninger and economist Dr. William Dunkelberg.

A focus of the full-day meeting was a survey of AFSA’s auto finance lenders, some of the top line issues today for members include cybersecurity and privacy, restrictive regulations, fraud, handling of voluntary protection products, hiring, training and retaining employees, and strength of dealer relationships/dealer satisfaction.

Chuck Jones, AFSA Vehicle Finance Division Chair and Head of National Indirect Lending with SunTrust., noted that lenders are facing stiffer competition in a quickly evolving consumer marketplace.

“The changes facing our industry show us very clearly that we all need to work to maintain our efficiency and flexibility,” Jones said. “It feels like today’s customer has more information, more choices, and more detailed preferences than ever before. Our customers are not just comparing us to one another, but they are comparing us to Netflix and Amazon.”

Jones noted that the 2019 gathering was the tenth meeting between the two groups and called for continued strengthening of the relationship.