Helping consumers secure financing for car purchases is the main responsibility of auto finance people. Sometimes referred to as auto finance and insurance officers, they gather financial information from buyers and present various financing options that work within their budgets. At many dealerships, auto F&I professionals also upsell car purchases by offering extended warranties, guaranteed auto protection insurance and other add-ons, such as paint protection and fabric protection. In some areas of the country, salaries can reach six figures.
Automotive Outpaces Average
In 2012, the average loan officer earned $70,350 a year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. But those working at car dealerships earned nearly 27 percent more than the occupational average, bringing home $89,020. This was an 8 percent increase over the previous year, when salaries at auto dealers were $82,670. The jobsite Indeed provides a similar figure, estimating auto finance and insurance salaries at $84,000 as of 2013.
Earnings Vary by Location
Of the states, auto F&I professionals in New York brought home one of the highest salaries, at an average of $102,00 a year in 2013. Those working in Massachusetts also fared better than most, averaging $99,000 a year, while auto F&I professionals in California earned an average of $91,000. The same, however, can’t be said for those working in South Dakota, where the average was just $62,000 a year -- 26 percent lower than the national average in the automotive industry.
Employment Prerequisites Limited
With a six-figure earning potential, people may think auto F&I professionals need a great deal of schooling to enter the field. This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, loan officers in general need only a high school diploma or its equivalent to land a job, reports the BLS. It isn’t until moving into commercial loans that a bachelor’s degree in finance, business or a related field is required. F&I professionals working with consumer loans, as would be the case at an auto dealership, usually receive on-the-job training.
Outlook On Par with All Occupations
The BLS expects employment opportunities for loan officers to grow by 14 percent from 2010 to 2020. This is on par with the national average for all U.S. occupations, a projected growth of 14 percent. With nearly 6,500 loan officers employed at dealerships, the 14 percent works out to almost 900 new jobs over the course of the decade. Between 2011 and 2012, however, the number of loan officers working for dealerships more than doubled, so the future could be brighter in this industry.