3 Signs of a Dysfunctional F&I Department

F&I departments can often be the most tricky group to manage within the dealership…more than sales, service, or parts. If the environment is ‘off’ or has become toxic, filled with needless drama and turnover, it can have a cascading effect on other departments. Sales in particular.

The work environment in F&I matters and it’s important to recognize the signs of dysfunction early so they can be fixed right away.

Here are 3 signs something is wrong with the F&I environment:

  • No Team Atmosphere - Everyone is out for themselves and there is no sense of teamwork at all. This becomes a problem when egos run amok and personalities don’t fit well. Most F&I managers will always have different personalities or approaches to some degree but when it causes friction and is allowed to run unchecked by the Director, it can cause huge problems.
  • High Amount of Chargebacks - If too many chargebacks are hitting month after month, that usually signals a disconnect with ethical selling within F&I. No F&I department ever succeeded with staff short-selling or payment packing. This red flag could signal the need for either better interview/screening of staff or it’s time to clean house.
  • Increase in Turnover - If F&I staff are leaving at a rate higher than usual for your store, this is a sign something is wrong with the department culture. Some may leave for better compensation plan, of course, but if no clear reason is given, it may be something more serious than can be corrected. Harassment, poor management, or an overly competitive environment can all be enough to make a good F&I manager look elsewhere.

All is not lost…if even one of these signs is popping up at your dealership, it’s not too late to identify the issue and address it before it has a more far-reaching effect. Don’t be afraid to dig deep and be willing to make the hard decisions…your dealership will be better for it.

date published
December 14, 2021

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