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Time to get 'mad as hell'

Having trouble keeping track of the trillions supposedly flowing from Washington to “help” us? Me, too. Why there’s TARP I and TARP II, the huge Stimulus package, the giant Budget, the grand Porkulus appropriation bill and who knows what else. And, now, along comes TALF! (I think I hear Abba singing “Feel the beat of the tambourine.”)

Well, here’s one fact I can grasp. Unlike the auto, RV, motorcycle and lots of other industries, we in boating have been ignored in most of these bills and, to steal a line from a movie: “I’m mad as hell and I’m not gonna to take this anymore!” I want you to join me.

Specifically, I’m referring to TALF (Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility). In a nutshell, seven days ago the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York announced TALF, a consumer and business lending initiative. It’s supposed to provide financing to investors to support their purchases of certain AAA-rated asset-backed securities (ABS).

In the first round of TALF, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York will lend up to $200 billion to eligible owners of certain AAA-rated asset-backed securities (ABS) for auto loans, credit card loans, student loans, and SBA-guaranteed small business loans. In this round, TALF will also apply to AAA-rated auto dealer floorplan loans. (Yes, once again, boating gets screwed. Ah, but wait -- we’re mad as hell and we’re not gonna take it anymore, remember? So, let’s act.)

There’s a second round of funding coming and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and U.S. Treasury have indicated additional items will be added to the list. For example, they are actively considering AAA-rated asset-backed securities (ABS) backed by non-auto floorplan loans. Bingo! That could be us.

However, just as we did before (remember the ‘Clean Boating Act’) we need to make some noise. Right now, our members of Congress, the U.S. Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York need to hear from us urging inclusion of marine floorplan financing loans backed by ABS into TALF.

Failure to include marine dealer/floorplan loans, and any consumer credit assistance for the marine industry, in TALF would be inequitable and worsen an increasingly fragile financial market required for basic business operation in the U.S. marine sector.

Once again, NMMA is taking the lead in calling for action by all industry members, manufacturers, retailers, suppliers and marine trade associations to actively push for marine floorplan loans into TALF. NMMA, under the leadership of Legislative Director Matt Dunn, has set up an easy way for everyone to get this done. Simply go to www.NMMA.org and click on the Action Alert button. There, in just a few minutes, you and all your employees can send the right messages to your Senators and Congress person.

We know floorplan financing is problem No. 1 for us right now so, please, get mad as hell and do your part today.

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