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FORTHCOMING FCA changes to motor finance could present a promotional and profit opportunity and energise used car finance, said Tara Williams, Chief Risk and Compliance Officer at Autoprotect Group and MD at i-ComplyMD at i-Comply.

The opportunity Williams sees is threefold:

  • To increase used car finance penetration which across the industry is modest
  • To break negative trust perceptions that are often noted in research about dealer finance
  • To leverage finance more actively as a promotional and profit opportunity

While she feels much of the industry has moved on from simply servicing the needs of ‘captive’ customers who need finance to buy a car, Williams is clear that any legacy issues about finance need to be addressed. Primarily, these include optimising finance income per transaction and a light touch on transparency.

She said: “There is nothing wrong with finance as a profit centre, provided it is achieved whilst delivering the good customer finance outcomes sought by the regulator. We already see excellent examples of how a positive and proactive approach to used car finance can enhance the customer experience and deliver good outcomes for customer and dealer alike. Transparency can really lift the veil off negative perceptions held by some people about dealer finance.”

While the FCA Policy Statement on the final rules for motor finance include a comment about the need for ‘minor changes to some of our rules and guidance,’ Williams said that since the FCA also highlighted the existence of poor disclosure practices, dealers should dismiss the idea that minor changes are all that is required; not least of all because this would risk missing the used car finance openings available in promotional and profit terms as she concludes;

“A root and branch change by many dealers when it comes to used car finance will serve them well. It will address the potential ‘pain’ of compliance failures and breaching SM and CR requirements. Equally, it will support the ‘gain’ of increased finance income achieved by increasing overall finance penetration. Just ‘tweaking’ an existing approach risks falling short on both counts.”