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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Navigation: A new world

The high-tech gizmos are more affordable and easy to use, and are giving dealers more to offer buyers It sounds like covert military intelligence lingo, or perhaps it was part of the dialog in a James Bond film. But terms like thermal imaging, 3-D images with satellite-photo fusion and touch screens no longer are bantered…more

Boat loans still plentiful for credit-worthy

But GE Money’s departure from marine lending could make things tougher for the marginal buyer Given today’s tight economy and GE Money’s exit from the marine lending market, some financial experts think the average person will have a harder time borrowing money to buy a boat. That spells bad news for already struggling boat dealers,…more

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‘She’ power: It’s in the purse strings

Marketing to women can be more profitable than you realize — if it’s done right “If Mama doesn’t want the boat, he ain’t getting the boat.” That’s the adage Wanda Kenton Smith cites when convincing clients of her advertising and public relations agency that women are as important as men when making a boat sale.…more

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