By Nick Zulovich, Editor
LAS VEGAS — Dealers feverishly took notes in a packed conference room on Tuesday as a quartet of legal experts shared compliance procedures these owners and managers can immediately put into place upon returning to their stores after the National Alliance of Buy-Here, Pay-Here Dealers National Conference.
In a regulatory world intensifying thanks to the arrival of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, dealers especially took notice of a comment made by Hudson Cook chairman Tom Hudson.
"The bureau simply doesn't care if they put a dealer out of business," Hudson told the attendees at the Wynn in Las Vegas.
Hudson Cook partner Patty Covington also participated in the conference's opening session with Steve Levine of AutoStar Solutions and Terry O'Loughlin of Reynolds and Reynolds.
Among some of the points this group raised during a panel presentation titled, "Compliance Moves to Make Now," the legal practitioners mentioned:
—Establish a formal plan to monitor a store's relationships with third-party vendors and put someone in charge of executing that plan.
—Verify that the dealership's third-party service providers understand and comply with law applicable to the store's business
—Conduct a thorough analysis of the dealership's insurance coverage as a part of an overall risk assessment, and review insurance coverage of third-party vendors.
"You've got to get to know your service providers because the CFPB mandates it," Levine said. "That's a big deviation from where we've been."
Meanwhile, O'Loughlin described state attorneys general as the "foot soldiers of the CFPB." O'Loughlin can speak from experience since before he came to Reynolds and Reynolds, he was part of the legal team for the Florida attorney general's office.
O'Loughlin recommended that BHPH dealers monitor their advertisements, especially campaigns that include phrases such as, "You work. You ride."
He added, "The attorneys general love advertising cases because they're so easy. You don't want to be noticed by your state attorney general."
For stores that cannot afford to add personnel, Covington recommended that a certain type of individual already on the payroll could make for a great candidate to be a compliance officer to maintain policies and procedures.
"Find the rule follower in your shop," Covington said. "That's the person who should be your compliance officer.
"I don't want to scare you but you have to have compliance on your radar because there are more cops on the beat," she went on to say, pointing out the auto financing regulatory world not only includes the CFPB, but also the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice.
A lively question-and-answer session followed the remarks by Hudson, O'Loughlin, Levine and Covington. It set the stage for what NABD officials believe is one of their best conferences.
Today's sessions include panel presentations about maximizing recoveries, inventory acquisition, as well as a dealer best practices panel. Also on the docket is the keynote address by Joe Gibbs, Super Bowl winning football coach and owner of NASCAR championship teams.
The conference wraps up on Thursday with the newest inductee to the BHPH Hall of Fame and the unveiling of the industry's benchmarks prepared by NABD with Subprime Analytics and NCM Associates.
"What dealers will learn during this conference will help them navigate 2013 more successfully. The profit opportunities have never been greater when operators make the right decisions," NABD founder Ken Shilson said