NADA and NAMAD Question CFPB’s Approach in Its Guidance on Auto Lending
McLEAN, Va. (March 21, 2013) – The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) and the National Association of Minority Automobile Dealers (NAMAD) issued the following statement today in response to the guidance from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) regarding dealer-assisted financing:
“The guidance issued by the CFPB today attempts to force auto finance sources into changing the way they compensate dealers without any indication that the Bureau has examined the effect this change could have on the cost of credit for consumers. The dealer-assisted financing model (indirect auto lending) has been enormously successful in both increasing access to, and reducing the cost of, credit for millions of Americans. Consumers overwhelmingly choose optional dealer-assisted financing because it’s convenient and competitive. The CFPB’s attempt to eliminate the dealer’s ability to discount the APR that it offers to consumers will only weaken the consumer’s ability to secure financing at the lowest possible cost. This anti-competitive approach is not in the interests of consumers and should not be accomplished through guidance and enforcement actions that lack transparency, the opportunity for public comment, and the benefits of a data driven analysis into the effects they would have on consumers and the automobile financing marketplace. It also should not be accomplished without the full participation of the Federal Reserve Board and the Federal Trade Commission, which are the two agencies that Congress vested with authority over auto dealers engaged in indirect lending.
“NADA and NAMAD strongly oppose any form of discrimination in auto lending, and the CFPB guidance appropriately explains that unlawful discrimination has no place in the marketplace. However, it is relying on a theory of discrimination that is based on a statistical analysis of past transactions – not intentional conduct – and the CFPB has not provided any information about how it is conducting its analysis. Without such basic information as how the CFPB is identifying different groups of consumers, how it is controlling for factors that can affect finance rates but are unrelated to the consumer’s background, and what constitutes a finding of disparate impact, one can have little confidence that the CFPB is conducting its analysis in a statistically-reliable manner. Regrettably, no one is well served by such an opaque process. While NADA and NAMAD stand ready to work with all of the federal agencies with responsibilities in this area, NADA and NAMAD encourage the CFPB to approach this issue in a more considered, transparent and coordinated manner.”