The National Marine Bankers Association's founding president Don Wynne Mattocks died May 23 in Durham, N.C., after a six-month battle with leukemia. He was 68.
Mattocks co-founded the NMBA in 1979 and remained director emeritus until his death. He helped pave the way for lending for smaller recreational pleasure boats and fostered an alliance between boat dealers and bank lenders. During the decade in which Mattocks advocated for boat loans, the industry expanded in annual revenues from $7 billion to $17 billion, while the boat lending business grew from an estimated $1 billion to $5 billion annually, according to an obituary written by friend and founding NMBA executive director Greg Proteau.
Current NMBA president Karen Trostle and immediate past president Jim Coburn both consider Mattocks their "mentor."
"For me, my relationship with Don was very personal," Coburn told Soundings Trade Only. "He shaped me into who I am now. What he taught me about banks was something that we have gotten away from: building good relationships."
Coburn said Mattocks always encouraged others to have solid relationships with co-workers, clients and vendors, because those connections were the key to success.
"He had a great sense of humor and was enjoyable to be around," said Coburn. "He always lived life to the fullest and when he caught a rare blood disorder, he didn't have long to fight it, but he fought it to the end."
Mattocks was also vice president of retail finance for Citizens and Southern National Bank until the mid-1990s, then moved to Primus Automotive Financial Services, a division of Ford Motor Credit Company, where he served as senior vice president. He retired to New Bern, N.C., in 2005, continuing to be involved in NMBA, according to Proteau.
"His knowledge of the marine lending business was unequalled," said Trostle. "We will really, truly miss him."
Trostle and Coburn agreed Mattocks' knowledge and experience were invaluable to the NMBA.
"It will be challenging to pass the baton, so to speak," said Trostle. "He had been through it all and seen a lot of it."
Mattocks was very dismayed by the current credit crunch, Coburn said.
"He always said that boats 'run on dollars, not on fuel,' " said Coburn. "It's funny: What was happening 32 years ago when the NMBA first began to form is not so different from what is going on today."
The NMBA began in 1979 as a way to bridge the gap between boat dealers and bank lenders through education and promoting the extension of credit to consumer and trade borrowers, according to Proteau.
"We wanted to take the two sectors of the business and help both of them," Proteau told Soundings Trade Only. "The idea was to grow business by doing more together."
Proteau said Mattocks had a real "zest for life" that made it easy for him to become not only a co-worker, but a friend.
"Everyone called him 'Mad Dog,' " said Proteau. "We don't know where the name came from, but he had a bit of a cavalier side of him - 'a life lived large,' would be his moniker."
— Elizabeth Ellis