Dealer exemption included in financial regulation bill

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Boat dealers, along with auto and RV dealers, will be exempt from oversight by a new federal consumer financial protection bureau in a bill agreed upon early Friday morning by a congressional conference committee.

The bill now goes to the House and Senate for approval, then to President Barack Obama to sign, likely before the July 4 holiday.

"The provision that the House and Senate conferees agreed to last night and early this morning relating to motor vehicle dealer exclusions applies to recreational boat dealers and recreational vehicle dealers as well," Mat Dunn, legislative director for the National Marine Manufacturers Association, told Soundings Trade Only this morning.

"We applaud the efforts of the NADA, the auto dealers association, which did an amazing job on this. It was very difficult. They did almost 90 percent or more of the lift work on getting this approved," he added. "For boat dealers, it was just making sure that whatever was finally agreed upon that there was equity in treatment for product dealers, and that was our primary goal. We wanted to make sure that the rules that were written were fair to the marine dealers and not create two different systems of regulation."

The Federal Trade Commission will continue to be the regulatory authority for dealers and credit practices, Dunn said, and will have some expedited rule-writing ability.

Boat dealers, however, should not see any differences.

"This is a pretty significant victory for boat dealers," Dunn said.

Click here for a review of what's in the final reform bill.

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