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Marine lending tightens further

Provident Bank finalized its merger with M&T Bank, removing one more marine lender from the retail landscape.

"Provident was a fairly significant national lender," with a portfolio of $350 million to $400 million in retail finance, said Don Parkhurst, who heads up marine lending for SunTrust Bank. "A lot of that volume is falling to us now, or BB&T, but it's one less player at a time that marine finance already has few players."

Also this summer, Connecticut-based Customer One Financial quit retail marine lending, Parkhurst said, as well as Safeway Corp. of Indianapolis. Both were smaller service companies that did direct retail marine lending and made some loans through dealers.

Both were more regional lenders, with Customer One's footprint being the East Coast and Safeway's the Midwest, Parkhurst said.

In the last two years, the marine industry has seen a declining number of retail and wholesale lenders, with giants such as GE, Wachovia and KeyBank leaving the retail side and KeyBank and Textron pulling out of wholesale lending.

— Reagan Haynes

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