Dealer leaders from across the U.S. convene in Washington to carry industry agenda to Congress
NADA pushes passage of HR 1737 to curb overreach by CFPB regulators
New auto dealer leaders from every corner of the U.S. were in DC this week to attend NADAês Annual Washington Conference where they were brought up to speed on the national dealer legislative agenda, which they in turn took to their members in Congress. Regulatory overreach by federal agencies aimed at dealers was a recurring topic this year as members of Congress, a commissioner from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and Washington political pundits, the like of Charlie Cook, addressed the conferees. The conference itself was comprised of dealer association representatives from the national boards of NADA, NAMAD and AIADA, along with dealer group leaders from state and metropolitan associations affiliated with the Automotive Trade Association network (ATAE). Representing WANADA at the conference were: Dick Patterson (RRR Automotive), Geoff Pohanka (Pohanka Automotive), and Jack Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald AutoMalls), WANADA chairman, NADA director for Metro Washington, and WANADA DEAC representative, respectively. Additionally, John OêDonnell and Gerard Murphy were at the Washington Conference, attending as WANADA CEO and general counsel, respectively.
Rep. David Scott (D-Ga), an African American member of the Democrat Caucus in the House, reiterated his early and steadfast co-sponsorship of HR 1737, Reforming CFPB Indirect Auto Financing Guidance Act, that would get the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau out of the dealersê business of arranging credit in vehicle sales where, as an express part of the Dodd/Frank Finance Reform Act, CFPB regulatory authority is excluded. Of note was Rep. Scottês unequivocal rejection of CFBPês well publicized claim that there is widespread, illegal discrimination against minorities in the vehicle credit process by dealers arranging higher credit rate offers for minorities than non-minorities. There is nothing to support CFPBês contention that dealers discriminate against minorities when theyêre arranging credit for vehicle buyers other than CFPBês say so, and that simply doesnêt justify their position that dealers shouldnêt be credit arrangers, Scott said.
Besides Scott there are 133 cosponsors of HR 1737 from both sides of the isle, including a number from the metropolitan Washington area who are or will be signing on to the legislation. WANADA teamed up with MADA and VADA in bringing dealers together with members of Congress in an all-out effort to check CFPBês misdirected regulatory zeal through the passage of HR 1737. For NADAês run down on HR 1737, click here.
Another important area of regulatory concern discussed at the Washington Conference was stepped up scrutiny of the automobile business by FTC. This report came directly from one of the FTC commissioners who spoke, Maureen Ohlhausen, who cautioned dealers about engaging in deceptive advertising, pointing to a marked increase in law enforcement actions by the FTC against dealers. Commissioner Ohlhausen also reminded dealers about the relatively new realms of FTC law enforcement they need to regard, such as the Safeguards Rule and Red Flags Rule. These, of course, have to do with the dealerês obligation to protect consumer information, such as — social security numbers — from identity theft. Concluding on a helpful note, the commissioner referred dealers to www.nada.org for NADAês Fair Dealer Advertising Guidelines, along with FTCês website, which she said had useful business compliance references, @ www.ftc.com.
Rounding out the Conference presentations was Rand Paul, senator from Kentucky and Republican candidate among a field of many for president of the United States. And then there was everyoneês favorite Washington pundit, Charlie Cook, who during his Conference segment referenced a member of the current 114th Congress who had this to say reflecting on his job: When Iêm in Washington, I try to convince people that Iêm not crazy, but when I go home, I try to convince them that I am.Download Bulletin PDF