This month marks Bobit Business Media’s first PowerSports F&I Conference. For those not attending, I’d like to give you a taste of what you’re going to miss.

The show kicks off with a panel discussion addressing what I think is the biggest challenge for powersports dealerships these days — funding. Moderated by Josh Clark, the Sept. 16 panel (1:15 p.m.) will include representatives from XpressCredit, HMR Powersports Financing, Sheffield Finance and financial consultant Peter Jones.

I don’t have to tell you how difficult it is to find lending sources out there. Many of you received the Aug. 4 facsimile from HSBC promising stricter enforcement of its finance policies. For those that didn’t, check out our news story on page 8. There aren’t any secrets to finding new finance sources either, as F&I manager Cindy Wallace, a former senior underwriter for GE Money Bank, will tell you on page 16.

Here’s the deal, finance companies and banks are looking for bulletproof deals. The auto industry was reminded of that fact in recent months with the loss of HSBC and Triad, and Chrysler’s announced end to leasing. The credit markets are very skittish right now, which is why you need a dedicated F&I professional to find financing options for your dealership. That’s why I’m excited about our opening panel on funding.

We’ve also put together a great collection of experts to lead the conference’s workshops, including Ron Martin of The Vision of F&I, David Robertson of the Association of Finance and Insurance Professionals, Rebecca Chernek of Chernek Consulting, and Rick McCormick of Reahard & Associates.

We even have Todd Baldwin as a keynote speaker. The former general sales manager for Chaparral Motor Sports, one of the largest dealers in the nation, will discuss the processes he employed at his former dealership to maximize both sales and F&I profits.

There’s one additional panel I wanted to bring to your attention — the Red Flags Rule panel on Sept. 17 at 10:50 a.m. Born out of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transaction Act (FACTA), the Red Flags Rules are the newest weapon to combat what is the No. 1 complaint received by the Federal Trade Commission — identity theft.

And starting Sept. 1, any business or institution that falls into the category of “creditor” will have exactly 62 days to meet the Nov. 1 compliance deadline. That means any business or department handling consumer credit will have to develop processes for verifying a consumer’s identity.

Think of the new rule as a way for federal agencies to fill the cracks in the system that allowed identity thieves to pilfer the identities of others. Six agencies were involved in drafting the new rule and the 26 guidelines or examples of identity theft that businesses need to monitor.

I can’t give you every step you need to take to become compliant, but I’ll give you the basic gist of the rule. You first have to identify all areas of the dealership where credit is handled. You then have to determine the sources of red flags relevant to your business. From there, you will need to formulate procedures F&I managers and salespeople must adhere to on every transaction.

You also need to remember the rule is a moving target, which means your program must be updated periodically to include new threats.

Now, as daunting as the Red Flags Rules sound, an FTC representative told me the agency is only looking for a good-faith effort. It understands no program will be bulletproof, but it does expect you to do your due diligence when it comes to compliance.

See what you’re going to miss? Don’t worry. I’ll have a full report on the show in the next issue of PowerSports F&I.