DALLAS — F&I product provider EFG Companies rolled out a new virtual F&I model aimed at powersports and independent dealers, but the executive overseeing the new offering said there are plenty of scenarios that would make the service a perfect fit for a franchised dealer.
Simplicity Finance and Insurance provides dealers with the equipment, training, and access to veteran F&I producers who are trained in compliance and who handle deals virtually from EFG’s headquarters. Results from the company’s pilot at an independent store during the first three months of the year put the service’s per-copy average at more than $1,000.
“A dealer who does 100 units a month, they can afford to support an F&I process with a deep bench of expertise,” said Mark Rappaport, president of EFG’s new Simplicity Division. “If they’re doing somewhere around 80 or fewer deals a month, they have a difficult time finding people and keeping people. So we’re basically a solution to help them sell more effectively, in a compliant manner, and improve back-end profitability.”
Rappaport said that profile fits most powersports and independent lots. However, Rappaport said he’s received inquiries from franchised dealers interested in directing subprime deals to the program while maintaining their in-house F&I team for all other deals. The executive said he can also see the program working for dealers who offer offsite deliveries. The only requirement would be wet-ink signatures on the retail installment sale contract, power of attorney and credit applications.
The virtual process kicks off the moment the first pencil is completed and the credit application is submitted. The salesperson walks the customer into a room, where a 40-inch display streams one of EFG’s Simplicity F&I producers. They structure the deal, put together the F&I product presentation, and make the pitch — the entire customer interaction recorded to ensure compliance.
“The entire process takes 30 minutes end to end, including the signing of the paperwork,” Rappaport said, likening the experience to a FaceTime conversation with all documents signed onscreen. “And once everything is validated, the salesperson takes the paperwork and submits it to the lender that night. We then follow the contract until it’s funded.
“And when the deal is funded, it’s funded directly to the dealer. Then we invoice them on a monthly basis,” he added. “We provide all the equipment as part of the process, all the training, and then we take 50% of the back-end. If no product is sold, we don’t take anything.”
The onboarding process takes about five to seven days. Users will need to install a high-speed internet connection in the room designated for the virtual F&I interactions. EFG Companies will also send in field reps to train the dealership’s sales staff on how to turn over customers to Simplicity’s F&I producers, as well as on how to load the deal on the program’s platform.
Rappaport said Simplicity’s F&I producers will direct all deals to the dealership’s current portfolio of finance sources. Simplicity can also help dealers identify new finance sources to fill a particular credit segment. The executive said this will be particularly helpful in the powersports arena, where finance sources come in and out of the market.
“So we can find lenders to approve subprime deals,” Rappaport said, noting that all Simplicity F&I producers have completed EFG’s F&I certification course and will be certified with the Association of Finance and Insurance Professional within the next 90 days. “Our experience allows us to optimize their inventory to the lenders their working with. So we’ll help them find lenders who will deliver and fund the deal.”
Simplicity’s virtual F&I producers are currently available Tuesday through Saturday, which Rappaport said reflects the same schedule on which powersports dealers operate. The executive said the program will soon add Monday to that schedule to reflect hours of operation for independent dealers.
Rappaport added that two additional dealerships will go live with the program in the next couple of weeks, bringing the total number of dealerships using Simplicity to three. The executive noted his simplicity team is currently optimized to handle between 50 and 100 dealerships, or two producers for every 100 “ups.”
“Dealers who have seen this in action are most excited about the ability to use decades of experience, giving them the best opportunity to close all customer types and maximize their back-end profit,” Rappaport added. “They are also extremely interested in how Simplicity Finance and Insurance can enable them to better develop their inventory and lender mix for a great opportunity for back-end product sales.”