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A rapidly shrinking lending landscape

Dealer concern mounts as Textron’s pullout leaves only GE and Bank of America as floorplan players Still coping with the September loss of KeyBank as a retail and commercial marine lender, the industry was dealt another blow in December when Textron Financial Corp. said it is quitting marine floorplan financing. The pullouts leave boat dealers…more

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Exports dip as sales overseas cool

Marine manufacturers who have been supplementing lagging domestic sales with robust export sales say that as America’s financial crisis spills across borders, overseas sales are dipping too. Following an unprecedented increase in boat sales abroad that began in early 2004, the market has slowed in recent months, as the global economy follows the U.S. recession…more

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Market Watch: South Florida

Trade Only plans to look regularly at specific sectors of the boat industry in our Market Watch, either focusing on a specific region or type of boat. This month, we’re examining the market in South Florida. When the region’s king-sized housing bubble burst, it took some of the air out of its multibillion-dollar boat business…more

The ever-changing marine lending landscape

Editor’s note: This is how things stood in early October.   Who’s out1) May 2006, National City. This was a top-10 retail marine lender since about 1996 and became a national player in 2001, says Jim Coburn, vice president for lending at FlagStar, who also worked at National City for 25 years. Local National City…more

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Marine finance upheaval squeezes dealers

Editor’s note: This is where things stood in marine finance in early October. The banking environment, however, was changing on almost a daily basis, and the situation may have changed in the interim. As financial institutions drop out of marine industry finance, dealers say credit has tightened and they worry not only that interest rates…more

Group input keeps Grand Pointe ready

Getting industry feedback contributed the most to the four decades of success at Grand Pointe Marina, a family-owned dealership near Lansing, Mich., according to Patrick Stevens, who purchased the business in 1968 with his wife, Sandy. Participating as a member of a Spader 20 group provided excellent access to that industry feedback, he says.  …more

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A passing storm

In rough-and-tumble market, Grand Pointe Marina increased its service business 20 percent since 2007 When general manager Chris Stevens examined his staffing situation this summer at Grand Pointe Marina, a family-owned boat dealership, he knew he faced some wrenching decisions. Sales were down 15 percent by midyear, and he anticipated a continuation of the drop-off.…more

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Inventory control: Lenders lend a hand

They’re helping with floorplans and cash flow, hoping to avoid 1990s-type dealership failures In light of an economic downturn, manufacturers and dealers are working in tandem with lenders to control and move inventory. Lenders are helping dealers manage their floorplan lines. In some cases, lenders have been extending curtailment periods and, in others, they have…more

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In tight market, financing fraud soars

Banks are having to battle more sophisticated scam artists who secure bogus loans and fool dealers An unprecedented spike in boat loan fraud could be prompted by an economic downturn and increasingly savvy criminals, financial experts say. “It’s pretty scary how sophisticated this is,” said Don Parkhurst, senior vice president of SunTrust Bank.“Loan fraud is…more

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Certification in an uncertain time

Dealers are weighing the costs and benefits of the three-year-old program, but the weak economy makes it hard to gauge its effectiveness Joe Zahler, a sales consultant at Wayzata Marine in Orono, Minn., says industry-wide certification has given customers the best possible experience, which ultimately leads to closing a deal on boats. The sales reps…more

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