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About Keith

Keith Whann is a leading national authority on dealer, compliance, F&I, technology and consumer protection issues facing the automotive industry. Keith’s automotive and legal career has spanned over 32 years from a beginning as an Assistant Ohio Attorney General, founder of the law firm Whann & Associates and an industry voice on legislative and regulatory issues on Capitol Hill, thru today, as founder and CEO of The Whann Group providing compliance, training and technology solutions to the industry.

Keith has had hundreds of articles published in trade journals across the country and his blog posts discussing compliance, dealer and consumer protection issues related to car buying and auto industry related topics are favorites of dealers and consumers alike. Keith has made presentations and conducted training seminars on a wide variety of topics affecting dealers, consumers, the car buying and F&I processes, compliance and automotive industry as a whole. Keith has also spoken at conventions and meetings for over 50 national and state motor vehicle industry related trade associations and regulatory agencies.

EDUCATION:            

            Hiram College, Hiram, Ohio
            B.A., Business Management and Economics, 1981
            Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Cleveland, Ohio, J.D., 1984


BAR ADMISSIONS:  
           

            Ohio,1984
            US District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Ohio, 1985

                                                                       

KEITH'S EXPERIENCE:                

From 1984 to 1987 Keith served as an Assistant Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office handling primarily motor vehicle industry related cases, with an emphasis on odometer rollback, title fraud and other motor vehicle related violations of law, along with being responsible for the enforcement of various statutes which regulated the day-to-day sales activities and operations of entities engaging in consumer transactions.  During Keith’s tenure as an Assistant Attorney General, he was a member of the National Odometer Enforcement Association and served on its Legislative Committee, and was a member of the fifteen-state Midwest Task Force on Odometer Alterations, serving a term as Chairman of the Organization in 1986.

Keith has been engaged in the private practice of law since 1987, founding the law firm Whann & Associates located in Columbus, Ohio in 1991, which he operated through 2011. The focus of his practice was the representation of motor vehicle dealers, national and state motor vehicle trade associations and other industry related businesses and service providers.  Keith provided general counsel, litigation and legislative related services throughout the United States and in Washington, D.C., developed various training, educational and legal compliance programs for the industry and worked with Federal and State regulatory agencies.  During this time Keith also served as Outside General Counsel for the Ohio Automobile Dealers Association (17 years) and the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association (18 years). 

From 2012 to the present Keith has provided legal and business consulting services in the motor vehicle industry, with an emphasis on Legal & Regulatory Compliance issues and the impact of technology on motor vehicle dealers, the sales and F&I processes and the industry as a whole. Between 2012 and 2016 Keith also operated The Whann Technology Group, which developed software products for auctions and other businesses in the wholesale automotive sector. The WTG simulcast, management system and mobile technology products were used by over 130 auctions throughout North America and in South America and Europe.

In 2016 Keith founded The Whann Group, which provides compliance, consulting, training and technology solutions to the automotive industry, with an emphasis on legal & regulatory compliance issues and the impact of technology on motor vehicle dealerships and the sales, F&I and car buying processes.  The company’s offerings leverage Keith’s 32 years of experience relating to business, legal and compliance issues faced by dealers, consumers and the automotive industry as a whole. Keith’s diverse background and unique perspective enables the The Whann Group to provide comprehensive and customized solutions to complex compliance issues.

                      

KEITH'S SPECIAL MOTOR VEHICLE INDUSTRY RELATED EXPERIENCE:                                    

Keith has been a featured speaker on legal, business, regulatory compliance, consumer protection, technology and other topics related to the motor vehicle industry at conventions and meetings for over 50 International, National and State industry related trade associations and regulatory agencies. He has authored hundreds of articles on the above topics that have been published in blogs, trade publications and magazines throughout the country.

Created various Motor Vehicle Dealership Review, Audit and Training Programs to increase motor vehicle dealership profitability and customer satisfaction while reducing legal and regulatory exposure by making dealership sales, F&I and other processes, systems and paperwork more compliant, transparent and consumer friendly.

Worked on legislative and regulatory matters with Congress, the Federal Trade Commission, Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Internal Revenue Service, Department of Justice, Customs, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency and The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Conducted several tutorial meetings and provided background information to the Federal Trade Commission in connection with the establishment of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act Implementation.  Topics covered included: The retail and wholesale automobile industry; Motor vehicle dealership operations; Documents in a car deal; Differences between new and used, purchase and lease and traditional, subprime and buy here - pay here transactions; F & I practices and Consumer disclosures.

Was the only industry representative to be asked to participate in two sessions at each of the three 2011 FTC Roundtables entitled “The Road Ahead: Selling And Financing Vehicles” as they gathered information from across the country in preparation for the development and formation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection at a hearing titled, “Consumer Protection in the Used and Subprime Car Market” in March of 2009. 

Met with the Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy to discuss issues related to the impact and effectiveness of the Administration’s actions related to the Federal TARP program and Dodd-Frank Legislation.

Worked with the IRS to resolve various taxation issues pertaining to subprime lending and related finance companies, including drafting of revisions to the IRS Audit Technique Guide for the used motor vehicle industry released in 2002 and amended in 2005.

Worked with the FTC in producing the 1998 Edition of the FTC Publication “A Dealer’s Guide to the Used Car Rule” and conducted seminars with the FTC on the Rule and related warranty and sales issues.  I also worked with the FTC to obtain a Letter of Opinion dated December 31, 2002 regarding anti-trust tying issues in Limited Warranties and to update the FTC’s Dealer’s Guide to the Used Car Rule, published in June, 2004.                                    

Was involved in the drafting process with the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws to revise Articles 2, 2A and 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, and the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act, Uniform Consumer Leases Acts and the Uniform Certificate of Title Law Project.  

Co-developed and conducted a training seminar on Salvage and Title Fraud for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at the Inaugural Meeting of the Federal Task Force formed pursuant to the Anti-Car Theft Act of 1992.

                       

A few of the industry related regulatory issues on which Keith has commented include:

FCC: Junk Fax Prevention Act

FRB: Truth in Lending Proposed Rules

FRB: Anti-Tying Restrictions of Bank Holding Company Act Section 106 Amendments

FRB: Regulation V

FTC: Magnuson Moss Warranty Tie-In Issue

FTC: E-Competition

FTC: Alternative Forms of Privacy Notices

FTC Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Privacy Safeguards Rule

FTC: FACT Act Disposal Rule

FTC: FACT Act Affiliate Marketing Rule

FTC: FACT Act Scores Study

FTC: FACT Act Prescreen Rule

FTC: Used Car Rule; Paperwork Comment

FTC: Red Flags & Address Discrepancies under the FACT Act

FTC: Implementation of Sec 311 risk-based pricing provisions of the FACT Act

FTC: Used Car Rule modifications relating to format, design & content of the Buyer’s Guide

FTC: Red Flag Regs implementing FACT Act Sec 315 & amendments to Sec 605 of the FCR

IRS: Proposed Revenue Procedure on Cash Method of Accounting

IRS:  Cancellation of Indebtedness

NCCUSL: Draft of Uniform Certificate of title Act

NHTSA’s Tire Safety Information Rule

Treasury: Customer ID Program Recordkeeping Requirements for Financial Institutions

USA Patriot Act: money laundering risks posed by businesses engaged in selling vehicles

 

Keith has spoken on legal, regulatory, compliance and F&I issues pertaining to the motor vehicle industry at conventions and/or meetings for or with the following groups: 

Regulatory Agencies

Federal Trade Commission

Internal Revenue Service

International Association of Auto-Theft Investigators

Midwest Task Force On Odometer Alterations 

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

National Odometer & Title Fraud Enforcement Association

National and International Groups and Industry Trade Associations

American Car Rental Association

Association of American Motor Vehicle Administrators

Automotive Resource Network Annual Automotive Conference

Canadian Motor Vehicle Dealers Association

Consumer Bankers Association

European Networking Group Vehicle Remarketing Conference

National Alliance of Buy Here-Pay Here Dealers

National Auto Auction Association

National Automotive Finance Association

National Independent Automobile Dealers Association

National Remarketing Conference

National Special Finance & Buy Here-Pay Here Conference

National Vehicle Leasing Association - Various 20 Group Meetings and Programs

 

Franchised & Independent Dealer Trade Associations From The Following States

Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington & West Virginia

 

Some of the topics covered in the presentations include:

Advertising in the Motor Vehicle Industry

Collection, Repossession and Bankruptcy Issues in a Motor Vehicle Transaction

Complying with the Federal Privacy Laws and U.S. Patriot Act

Complying with the FTC Used Car Rule

Complying with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act Privacy Safeguards Rule

Complying with the Red Flag Regulations

Dealership Technology and its Impact on Compliance

Generating Profit Not Legal Exposure in the F&I Department

Handling Consumer Complaints and Dealing with Regulatory Agencies

How to Attract Additional Lenders to Your Dealership

How to Protect Your Dealership from Legal & Regulatory Exposure

How to Protect Your Dealership’s F & I Department from Legal & Regulatory Exposure

How to Sell a Car and Keep it Sold

Issues Related to Motor Vehicle Service Transactions

Legal and Business Issues Affecting Dealership F&I Departments

Legal and Business Issues Affecting Dealership Operations

Legal and Regulatory Issues Impacting a Motor Vehicle Transaction

Marketing and Selling Vehicles to the Hispanic Marketplace

Marketing Vehicles on the Internet: Constructing a Website is the Easy Part

Minimizing Dealership Losses from Repossession, Bankruptcy and Paperwork Issues

Paperwork Issues in a Motor Vehicle Transaction

Social Media and the Internet: It’s Effect on Your Dealership

Subprime Lending in the Motor Vehicle Industry

Strategies for Effectively Defending Consumer Lawsuits

Taxation and Capitalization Issues Facing the Buy Here-Pay Here Industry

Techniques Used by Consumer Lawyers to Break a Car Deal

The Dealership F&I Department and the CFPB

The Dealership F&I Department: Creating Profit, Not Legal Exposure

The Dealership F&I Department: Products, Paper, Promises & Profit

The Evolution of Online Remarketing

The Five Most Significant Legal, Business and Regulatory Issues Facing Dealers Today

The Internet, E-Commerce and Your Dealership

The Titling and Registration of Motor Vehicles

Turning the Compliance Fear Factor into a Competitive Advantage