CFPB Brings The Hammer Down On Captives, Dealer Reserve
The hammer has fallen on captive automotive lenders, such as GM Financial, Ford Motor Credit and Toyota Financial Services: The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau began officially asserting its authority over them as the feds and the lenders battle over allegations of discrimination in the latter’s loan products.
Forbes reports the captives — regulated at the state level until this month — will be used indirectly by the agency to regulate dealerships as far as financing is concerned; the new-car dealer lobby won exemption from oversight in 2010.
The focus? Dealer reserve. Lenders allow dealers to add a few percentage points to the former’s loan packages as compensation for generating the leads, generally capped between 2 to 3 percentage points by most lenders. However, the allegations claim dealerships use their dealer reserve to charge more on loans made to protected classes, such as women and minorities.
The CFPB plans to address the issue by “pushing lenders to switch to some form of dealership compensation that takes away dealer discretion, such as a fixed, flat rate for every customer.” The agency also suggested lower caps could also do away with the alleged variations in dealer pricing.
For its part, the National Automobile Dealers Association claims competition “keeps rates low,” that dealership compensation is lower than the rate caps suggested, and by moving to a fixed, flat rate with even lower caps, dealers would no longer be able to offer discounts on financing.
Seattle-based writer, blogger, and photographer for many a publication. Born in Louisville. Raised in Kansas. Where I lay my head is home.
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