P&A had the opportunity to speak with Brian Reed, president and CEO of F&I Express, about the history of his company and his take on the current industry landscape. F&I Express is a Southlake, Texas-based provider of leading-edge technology solutions for dealers, agents and F&I product providers.
We have worked hard at creating relationships and connectivity to the aftermarket product industry. F&I Express has established the largest F&I provider network in the industry. We have integrated with a number of menu and selling systems, and we integrate with over 12 DMS providers. We are constantly connecting dealers to the companies with whom they are doing business!
The success of F&I Express is driven by our service. We have great relationships with dealers, agents and F&I providers and are known for going the extra mile to provide superior service. Being named a winner in the F&I Technology category of the 2015 Dealers’ Choice Awards, as well as P&A’s Provider Innovator of the Year, are all testaments to our innovation and the high-service solutions we provide to the market.Are there any recent or future developments within your company that you would like to tell us about?
Our name in the market historically has been synonymous with econtracting. Today, F&I Express is a lot more than econtracting with the launch of ExpressDigitalMedia. This new solution enables dealers to promote their F&I products while consumers are on their website shopping for cars.
We have been pleased with the response of our ExpressDigitalMedia solution, which enables dealers to offer useful information about their F&I products and prices in a controlled online environment while giving consumers the much-desired opportunity to learn about their vehicle and purchase protection options before finalizing their deal structure. This F&I Express solution was launched with our partners at MakeMyDeal, a Cox Automotive company, and we have seen exceptionally positive interest from providers and dealers alikeHow did you (personally) get started? What caused you to choose this career path?
In my career, I have worked with big companies like Mercedes-Benz and Capital One, as well as a number of startup companies. One area I have always been involved in and passionate about is building a new process, developing a business model or finding solutions for problems that customers have today. Many of the solutions that I have launched in the market have been technology-related. And while I wouldn’t consider myself a super “techie,” I do know how to use technology to enable the improvement of various customers’ processes.What are your outside interests / what do you like to do on your days off? What activities/sports are you passionate about?
Life is about having passions! As I enjoy the growth we continue to see at F&I Express, I have also been working to master the art of growing vegetables. Unfortunately, our growth of F&I Express has been greater than the growth in my gardens at times. But each year is a learning experience and I look forward to when I can start all over again. My wife thinks I am a Chicago Cubs fan because I always say, “Wait until next year!” In addition to gardening, I am an avid Indiana University basketball fan and really enjoy watching all college basketball — except for the University of Kentucky.What are the biggest issues you see facing the industry today and in the future?
In a word, compliance. We have all read the news and heard the concerns from the automotive industry about compliance with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This is not going to go away. F&I managers — and all compliance stakeholders — should be implementing measures to automatically prevent contracts from violating any future CFPB policies.
On the consumer side, it’s all about education. There will be more research needed about F&I aftermarket products before the customer comes to the dealership. Recent surveys have indicated that the overall accurate awareness of F&I products is pretty low. This shouldn’t be the case in today’s information-at-your-fingertips society.
F&I is one of the few remaining areas of the dealership that hasn’t been digitized. There is a real need and opportunity for more of the process to be brought online, and car-buying customers have an expectation to have digital options. One of the enablers of this change will be the creation of true digital content to present to customers online. I believe they will replace the paper brochures that are produced today to hand to customers in the F&I office.