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NMBA report notes increase in boat loans

Although 2010 proved to be a challenging year for many members of the National Marine Bankers Association, some showed recent signs of increased marine loan activity, according to the group’s recently released 2011 annual report.

Based on 2010 data, the report discusses how low consumer confidence and a high unemployment rate have affected the industry. New-boat sales were down 16.1 percent last year, but that’s compared with 25.9 percent and 27.8 percent for the previous two years.

Some categories that saw growth were sailboats above 50 feet, skiffs from 19 to 35 feet and sailboats under 18 feet.

“At this writing, most economists are still hesitant to project any major upticks over the next year or so, though many are forecasting some light at the end of the tunnel, cautiously predicting a slow and steady recovery over the next few years, perhaps beginning later in 2012,” the NMBA states.

“However, with some boat categories actually showing increased sales and the majority of bankers reporting increased loan volume in 2010, the industry may have some bright spots on which to focus and concentrate efforts moving forward,” according to the report.

Some highlights from the report include:

• Refinance loans have increased in market share for lenders continuing to offer the product.

• Documentable powerboats and all sailboats had the strongest positive movement along bank respondents.

• The current/remaining players have been rewarded with increased business.

• During the economic downturn, lower-down-payment products virtually disappeared. Some lenders are slowly beginning to allow smaller down payments, opening the lending market again.

• Marine loan delinquencies dropped 25 percent from 2009 to 2010, from 2.26 percent to 1.9 percent, respectively.

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