Compliance

RISC makes comprehensive repossession lot inspection reports available

PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - 

The leadership at Recovery Industry Services Co. (RISC) heard panel discussions and networking dialogue from industry participants during Used Car Week about the importance of compliance for third-party vendors. The situation reinforced why RISC rolled out its latest offering on Tuesday.

RISC’s Lot Inspection Service includes current reports on more than 1,500 recovery companies that collectively operate more than 3,000 recovery storage lots nationwide. Together, RISC estimated these lots store more than 95 percent of the repossessed vehicles recovered throughout the United States each year.

“Regardless of a lenders assignment strategy, annual inspections can be difficult to schedule, perform and maintain. In turn, the repossession company gets inundated with inspection requests from forwarders and lenders taking valuable time away from repossessions they need to perform,” RISC founder Stamatis Ferarolis said.

“This coupled with variations in reports drove the initiative for RISC to perform and maintain standard lot inspections across the country,” Ferarolis continued.

RISC’s Lot Inspection Service includes:

—Office inspection
—Vehicle security
—Key storage and security
—Personal property security
—IT security

Ferarolis emphasized that two industry problems are solved with this solution.

First, the finance company can be alleviated from managing this portion of the vendor vetting process mandated by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Second, the recovery agency is relieved of the burden of having multiple lenders inspect the same lot.

“RISC’s Lot Inspection Service saves time and resources for all parties,” Ferarolis said, “and provides the lender with a single source to quickly, and economically, gain access to current, comprehensive lot inspections on every lot in which a consumer’s vehicle may be stored.”

Inspectors must complete Inspector Education, RISC’s proprietary training program. This training was developed specifically for repossession lot inspectors to ensure an objective report of the property. Each report is accessible online so it is easy for lenders to gather the necessary documentation required by auditors or third party regulators such as the CFPB.

Between now and the end of the year, finance companies can take advantage of RISC’s free vendor compliance analysis. This vendor analysis will provide the lender with a snapshot of their vendor’s compliance status, which will include information on lot inspections as well as business license, insurance, background checks and other vital compliance data.

To sign up and get your free analysis, go to www.riscus.com

Traffic Control CRM upgrades tool to handle ‘We Owe’ and other F&I fulfillments

DELAND, Fla. - 

Traffic Control, a solution for dealers retailing 50 to 150 vehicles a month, this week announced new features for improving multiple F&I-related steps to enhance deal cash flow, employee efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Traffic Control CRM now features e-document technology integrated with RouteOne to pull finance company stipulations so F&I can prepare and submit to lenders all required deal paperwork first time for faster contract decisioning and deal funding.

For most dealers, about half of all deals will require finance company stipulations. Traffic Control CRM now can ensure that F&I managers know what finance company stips for a deal will require, from proof of residency and employment to a marital separation decree and more, so clean deals are presented first time.

“The days of chasing contracts to get deals funded — of risking customer retention because of conflicts over ‘We Owe’ promises, and seeing customer zeal wane as F&I managers go in and out to photocopy and scan deal jacket items, is over,” said Brendan Hurley, co-founder of Traffic Control CRM, and owner/operator of Hurley Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge and RAM.

“F&I means more than finance and insurance, it also stands for finish it, because the dealer doesn’t get his or her money if the deal’s not done,” Hurley continued. “As one dealer told me recently, ‘I’m lost in a sea of paperwork, and none of it is money.’ Enhanced Traffic Control CRM reduces the paperwork clutter and delay and turns it into more money.”

Ending that “sea of paperwork” also includes capturing We Owe’s electronically, with customer signature attached, so these promises are instantly accessible by and available to service advisors or any authorized individual to review.

“If our dealership is like others, you’re writing We Owe’s on most every deal, documenting something we owe the customer or they owe us toward the deal. Any time there are questions or lack of clarity about those promises we risk tanking customer satisfaction. Traffic Control CRM now eliminates that confusion and delay,” Hurley said.

Traffic Control’s new e-Doc feature can create digital deal jackets populated with:

• Contract
• We Owe
• Lien release
• Buyers order
• Aftermarket product purchases
• Vehicle title
• Drivers’ license and vehicle registrations
• Insurance card
• Actual cash value statement
• Down payment
• Hold check

Traffic Control CRM also provides customers with digital copies of their completed deal jacket on thumb drive, via email, and via text link to a secure microsite.

These features are for a short time a complimentary upgrade to Traffic Control CRM users. For more information, contact Mike Donaldson at mdonaldson@trafficcopcrm.com or (888) 992-4588.

CFPB’s 7 principles for consumer-authorized financial data sharing and aggregation

WASHINGTON, D.C. - 

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently offered its assessment regarding a potential information path auto finance company collectors and recovery professionals might use during the skip-tracing process to mitigate delinquencies and potential charge-offs.

The CFPB outlined seven principles for when consumers authorize third-party companies to access their financial data to provide certain financial products and services. Bureau officials insisted these principles are intended to help foster the development of innovative financial products and services, increase competition in financial markets and empower consumers to take greater control of their financial lives.

The principles discussed by the bureau included:

—Access
—Data scope and usability
—Control and informed consent
—Authorizing payments
—Security
—Access transparency
—Accuracy
—Ability to dispute and resolve unauthorized access
—Efficient and effective accountability mechanisms

The CFPB acknowledged many companies, including “fintech” firms, banks and other financial institutions, get authorization from consumers to access their account data that reside in separate organizations to provide a variety of products and services. These include fraud screening and identity verification, personal financial management, and bill payment.

Bureau officials concede such products and services could help consumers make smarter spending, savings and investment decisions and live their lives more efficiently and effectively. The bureau said it has been studying consumer-authorized data access and issued a Request for Information in 2016 to gather feedback from wide range of stakeholders.

The CFPB noted that it received feedback from large and small banks and credit unions, their trade associations, aggregators, “fintech” firms, consumer advocates and individual consumers.

“The Consumer Bureau recognizes that while consumer-authorized data sharing promises great benefits to consumers, there are many consumer protection challenges to be considered as these technologies continue to develop,” officials said. “The Consumer Bureau advocates strongly for consumer control of the consumer’s data and transparency.

“At the same time, the Consumer Bureau emphasizes the importance of data security and privacy. Based on the Consumer Bureau’s 2016 Request for Information, as well as other stakeholder outreach, the Consumer Bureau understands that some key industry stakeholders are working on improvements to consumer-authorized data access. These improvements relate to the agreements, systems and standards involved in consumer-authorized data access,” they continued.

The CFPB insisted that it will continue to closely monitor developments in this market and will also continue to assess how these principles may best be realized.

The bureau pointed out these principles do not establish binding requirements or obligations relevant to the agency’s exercise of its rulemaking, supervisory or enforcement authority. In addition, officials added that they are not intended to alter, interpret or otherwise provide guidance on existing statutes and regulations that apply in this market.

Lastly, although the bureau emphasized that it stands ready to facilitate constructive efforts or to take other appropriate action to protect consumers, the principles are not intended as a statement of the bureau’s future enforcement or supervisory priorities.

“These principles express our vision for realizing an innovative market that gives consumers protection and value,” CFPB director Richard Cordray said.

The complete report is available here.

UPDATED: Verifacto partners with Berkshire Risk Services to monitor CPI coverage

ATLANTA - 

Risk management technology provider Verifacto finalized a partnership with Berkshire Risk Services, a collateral protection insurance (CPI) company for dealers and auto finance companies.

Through the partnership with Berkshire Risk Services, Verifacto — one of the new exhibitors coming to Used Car Week — now can enable its clients to place a CPI policy and manage the entire placement and removal process. The companies highlighted an important compliance component is embedded into the software, controlling and enforcing finance companies to follow the compliance requirements for each state.

Verifacto developed an automated software as a service solution to minimize the finance company overhead managing and controlling the CPI process.

Verifacto’s technology is designed to improve the way lienholders track the insurance status and customer’s insurance risks. The platform includes an interactive dashboard with built-in email and SMS functionality, enabling dealers and auto finance companies to send insurance notices to customers in the event that they have insurance deficiencies or cancellation of their existing insurance policy.

“The new CPI Program combined with innovative technology, enables us to improve upon our mission of providing secure solutions for our clients to manage and mitigate their lienholder responsibilities, while maximizing their financial and operational efficiencies and profits,” Verifacto chief executive officer Hezi Moore said. “Providing our clients with the most advanced CPI management and control work-flow solution, will improve upon our overall value propositions in what we can offer automotive dealers and auto finance companies.”

Enrique Castiblanco, vice president of sales of Verifacto, added, “We have first-hand and immediate knowledge when a customer defaults on their insurance, and we’re the perfect partner to help lenders place CPI and minimize risk. This program also helps customers to get back into compliance on their car loans.

“We’re excited to bring to the market a CPI solution that is efficient and embedded with compliance control to protect lenders,” Castiblanco went on to say.

And now that technology is being leveraged by Berkshire Risk Services.

“Berkshire Risk Services CPI solution enables us to improve upon our mission of providing secure solutions for our clients to manage and mitigate their lienholder responsibilities, while maximizing their financial and operational efficiencies and profits,” Moore said.

“By partnering together to provide our clients with this particular CPI management and control work-flow solution, we’ll improve upon our overall value propositions in what we can offer automotive dealers and auto finance companies,” Moore went on to say.

CUNA spells out TCPA concerns to FCC

WASHINGTON, D.C. - 

Another nationwide organization is asking federal regulators for assistance since technology has revolutionized the way finance providers and customers can communicate.

The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) recently filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission regarding the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), outlining how it can provide credit unions with regulatory relief from the “onerous” requirements for communicating with member-owners.

In the petition, CUNA proposes two routes for providing credit unions with greater ability to communicate with consumers about information they want and need on their cell phone. 

“CUNA is seeking regulatory relief on behalf of America’s credit unions and their members from an outdated TCPA statute, which has been made more obsolete for credit unions due to conflicting and confusing FCC interpretations of the statute,” said CUNA president and chief executive officer Jim Nussle said.

“Credit union members are being harmed by unclear guidance about how they can receive communications such as text messages about vitally important financial information including ways they can improve and protect their own finances,” Nussle continued.

“The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has recognized that protecting consumers includes the ability to be in timely communication with them, and the FCC should do the same,” he went on to say.

Specifically, CUNA is requesting the FCC issue a declaratory ruling that wireless informational calls to credit union member-owners with whom the credit union has an established business relationship, or where the call or text is in fact free, be exempt from the TCPA's prior express consent requirement for autodialed and artificial or prerecorded voice calls.   

Changes to the TCPA were finalized by the FCC in 2015. CUNA is concerned that these changes in addition to a convoluted regulatory landscape from other FCC rulings and orders are stifling the ability of credit unions to contact members with important account information, due to risks of not being in compliance with the changes.  

CUNA also feels the changes do not take into account the changing ways consumers communicate, particularly the shift from landlines to cell phones.  

CUNA’s two proposed ways to equalize treatment of informational messages are: 

—The FCC should adopt an established business relationship exemption for credit union informational messages to cell phones. Adopting this exemption would place cell phone calls on equal regulatory footing with similar calls made to landline phones. Eliminating the antiquated distinction between landline and wireless calls is increasingly important now that the majority of consumers just have cell phone service. CUNA believes FCC precedent gives it authority to do so.

—The FCC should utilize its express authority to exempt calls that are without charge to the called party. CUNA requests the commission exempt credit union informational calls and texts that are in fact free to the called party, for example, because the call is free, under the called party's wireless plan. Although the commission has previously limited this exemption to instances where the callers provided assurances that they were capable of ensuring that calls would be free, Section 227(b)(2)(C) of the TCPA-the free to end user provision-imposes no such requirement. All this provision requires is that the call is in fact free to the consumer, not that the caller took steps to attempt to ensure the call is free.

CUNA believes adoption of these exemptions would restore the balance Congress sought to achieve between consumers' privacy interests and the legitimate interests of businesses to communicate with consumers. 

In the petition, CUNA also explained that adopting these exemptions would eliminate much of the confusion and uncertainty surrounding various conditions and exemptions established over time. 

CUNA went on to mention that granting the petition would align FCC policy with recent guidance from the CFPB that urges financial institutions to text consumers regarding financial information.

“Such guidance acknowledges that consumers benefit when ‘real-time information’ through text alerts help protect their finances,” CUNA said.

Key House member looking for wide-sweeping credit bureau changes

WASHINGTON, D.C. - 

The Equifax data breach is continuing to impact Experian and TransUnion, too.

First, New York’s attorney general asked for formal meetings as the Empire State intensified its financial services regulations. Now this week, Chief Deputy Whip Patrick McHenry, who also is vice chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, introduced a bill to broaden federal oversight of the credit bureaus.

McHenry, a North Carolina Republican, is championing H.R. 4028, the Promoting Responsible Oversight of Transactions and Examinations of Credit Technology Act of 2017, or the PROTECT Act. 

The lawmaker explained this measure would amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to allow national security freezes for the files and credit records of protected consumers. The act also would create a nationwide framework for credit freezes.

Additionally, McHenry’s office mentioned the measure would establish supervision and examination of large consumer reporting agencies under the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council Act.  Furthermore, the legislation would prohibit the largest credit reporting agencies from using Americans’ Social Security Numbers as a basis for identification by 2020.

“The Equifax data breach has harmed my constituents in western North Carolina and Americans across the country,” McHenry said. “It exposed a major shortcoming in our nation’s cybersecurity laws and Congress must act. The bill I’ve introduced today takes an important first step in providing meaningful reforms to help Americans who have been impacted by this breach. It is focused on prevention, protection and prohibition.

“It prevents future harm to all Americans by requiring the largest credit reporting agencies to be subjected to the same standards and supervision as the rest of the financial industry," McHenry continued. "It protects Americans by creating a national credit freeze that actually works. Finally, it prohibits the largest credit reporting agencies from continuing to rely upon the most sensitive of Americans’ personal information: our Social Security Numbers.”

 

 

 

7 differences between career seekers and job seekers

CLEVELAND - 

While Cox Automotive’s latest workforce study uncovered some startling data and Hireology presented some branding suggestions, Automotive Personnel chief executive officer Don Jasensky reiterated the seven differences he has seen between “job seekers” and “career seekers.”

Jasensky insisted that “there is a world of difference,” as finance companies and dealerships look to fill their workforces with the best possible employees to finalize contracts, complete deliveries and the myriad of other tasks that happen in the automotive retail space.

“Career seekers are looking to ‘become something more’ and ‘add career value’ when they seek a new position,” Jasensky said in a blog post on his company’s website.

Jasensky then explained the seven differences between these individuals that he teaches recruiters and clients. They include:

—Career seekers will likely put more effort in becoming very good at their work.

—Career seekers will invest more money, effort and energy in developing their careers.

—Career seekers are looking long-term and will make decisions that will benefit them long-term.

—Because they are looking long-term, career seekers will be more selective and take more time to make a decision.

—Career seekers will talk to mentors and other trusted people before committing to a new position.

—Job seekers will come to interview “all enthused” and will “jump through any hoop,” which is attractive to many managers but is not an indicator of high performance.

—Job seekers will accept a position quicker with less investment in researching the company and the position.

“Career seekers will be excited the day they get started because they are beginning a new chapter in their career,”  said Jasensky, who also is a board member of the National Automotive Finance Association. “The job seeker will be happy that the ordeal of finding a job is over. Entirely different mindsets."

More workforce recommendations and current industry job listings can be found by going to Automotive Personnel’s website.

Westlake part of third DOJ settlement in 13 months over SCRA violations

WASHINGTON, D.C. - 

For the third time in about 13 months, the Justice Department has reached a settlement with a finance company for violating the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) in connection with vehicle repossessions.

This time Westlake Financial Services and its subsidiary, Wilshire Consumer Capital, have agreed to pay $760,788 to resolve allegations that the companies did not follow federal regulations by repossessing 70 vehicles owned by SCRA-protected servicemembers without first obtaining the required court orders.

During its investigation, the Justice Department found that Westlake and Wilshire had failed to adopt policies and procedures necessary to ensure that their motor vehicle repossessions complied with the SCRA. Westlake purchases services subprime and near-subprime retail installment sales contracts while Wilshire, which does business as Wilshire Consumer Credit, originates and services vehicle title loans

Officials said the agreement requires Westlake and Wilshire to provide $10,000 in compensation to each of the 70 affected servicemembers, plus any lost equity in the vehicle with interest.  Westlake and Wilshire also must repair the credit of all affected servicemembers, pay a $60,788 civil penalty to the United States and determine, in the future, whether any vehicle it is planning to repossess is owned by an SCRA-protected servicemember. 

If so, Westlake and Wilshire will not repossess the vehicle without first obtaining a court order or valid waiver of SCRA rights.  The agreement also contains provisions ensuring that all eligible servicemembers will receive the benefit of the SCRA’s 6 percent interest rate cap on their auto loans.

The DOJ indicated the agreement resolves the claims and causes of action asserted in the United States’ Complaint against Westlake and Wilshire filed in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, and the parties will stipulate to the dismissal of the complaint once Westlake and Wilshire deposit the funds required by the settlement agreement into an escrow account and pay the civil penalty to the United States. 

Westlake and Wilshire will contact servicemembers to be compensated through this settlement in the upcoming months.  They will locate victims and distribute payments at no cost to servicemembers.

Officials shared that this matter came to the department’s attention in 2016, when the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Office of Servicemember Affairs notified the department that it had received a complaint that Westlake and Wilshire were conducting motor vehicle repossessions in violation of the SCRA.

The Justice Department reiterated that the SCRA protects servicemembers against certain civil proceedings that could affect their legal rights while they are in military service.  It requires a court to review and approve any repossession if the servicemember took out the loan and made a payment before entering military service. The court may delay the repossession or require the finance company to refund prior payments before repossessing.

The court may also appoint an attorney to represent the servicemember, require the finance company to post a bond with the court and issue any other orders it deems necessary to protect the servicemember. 

By failing to obtain court orders before repossessing motor vehicles owned by protected servicemembers, officials said Westlake and Wilshire prevented servicemembers from obtaining a court’s review of whether their repossessions should be delayed or adjusted to account for their military service.

This development arrived after the Justice Department reached an agreement with CitiFinancial Credit Co. in September as well as Wells Fargo Dealer Services last September for SCRA violations.

“The members of our armed forces should be able to devote their full attention to their duties without having to worry about whether their legal rights will be violated by creditors,” Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore said.  “We honor all servicemembers for their sacrifice and service to our nation, and this settlement signals our ongoing commitment to protecting the rights of our men and women in uniform.”

Acting United States Attorney Sandra Brown of the Central District of California added, “The women and men who serve in the armed forces protect our country from danger every day.

“Given the enormous sacrifice they make for all of us, we have a responsibility to ensure that their rights are protected. Westlake and Wilshire did not live up to this responsibility,” Brown went on to say. “But the settlement we have reached will fix the lending practices that led to violations, and vindicate the rights of the servicemembers affected.”

Mississippi attorney general subpoenas Credit Acceptance

SOUTHFIELD, Mich. - 

For the second time in about a year, Credit Acceptance is dealing with an attorney general subpoena.

The finance company acknowledged late on Friday through a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it received a subpoena from the Mississippi attorney general on Aug. 14. Credit Acceptance said the subpoena is relating to the origination and collection of non-prime vehicle installment contracts in the state of Mississippi.

“We are cooperating with the inquiry and cannot predict the eventual scope, duration or outcome at this time,” the company said in the filing. “As a result, we are unable to estimate the reasonably possible loss or range of reasonably possible loss arising from this investigation.”

The matter in Mississippi arrived 16 months after Credit Acceptance revealed a similar situation originating from the top law enforcement officer in Maryland.

Credit Acceptance confirmed in a regular filing with the SEC that the company received a subpoena from the Maryland attorney general on March 18, 2016, relating to the company’s repossession and sales policies and procedures within that state.

Senior vice president and treasurer Doug Busk touched on that matter during Credit Acceptance’s conference call when the finance company discussed its second-quarter results.

“In terms of the Maryland matter, as we disclosed, the subpoena is focused on our repossession and sale policies and procedures in the state of Maryland,” Busk said. "Not unusually in these types of matters, we don’t really have any insight into why we received the subpoena. We are in the process of providing responsive information to the AG in the state of Maryland.

“I don't think there’s any commonality relative to this and other subpoenas or regulatory actions. I think it’s just more evidence of a very heightened regulatory environment out there,” he continued.

“In terms of the collection practices, being in business as long as we have, we’ve been focused on doing things right from a regulatory perspective. So we assess the (Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s) position on that and really anything else and make changes to our business if we think it’s necessary to meet their expectations,” Busk went on to say.

ProMax enhances certified integration with Dealertrack

DAVENPORT, Iowa - 

Dealer Marketing Services, the makers of ProMax, on Monday announced significant enhancements to its certified integration with Dealertrack.

ProMax is a certified partner of most major dealer management systems, and has offered a certified integration with Dealertrack since 2009. The newly updated two-way integration with Dealertrack further facilitates the automated transfer of data between ProMax and Dealertrack, including inventory, repair orders, customers, service and delivered deals.

The company insisted this data flow, updated multiple times daily, can enable dealers to streamline their processes and improve accuracy.

“With the continued growth and evolution of technology and data in automotive retail, it’s a strategic advantage to work with innovative partners such as ProMax to expand and enhance our Opentrack DMS program,” said Candy Lucey, senior director of marketing at Dealertrack.

“Opentrack substantiates our vision of an open platform approach designed to give third-party partners such as ProMax the maximum flexibility to use our platform to best meet the needs of our dealers,” Lucey continued.

“This enhanced integration is great news for our mutual dealer customers,” said ProMax chief executive officer John Palmer, whose company provides lead-generation solutions along with other products associated with credit reports, dealer websites and more.

“We’re always looking for ways to help our dealers succeed, and this updated integration will go a long way towards doing that,” Palmer went on to say.