Overall marine lending volume rose incrementally, according to a survey of National Marine Bankers Association members for the second quarter, which ended June 30.
NMBA members also reported an uptick in new boat loans during the quarter, according to the survey.
The spring report also marks the first reading in the last 18 months in which all respondents said boat lending was the same or improved from the previous quarter.
Observers suggest that the readings mirror the increased sales activity that boatbuilders reported in the spring. That, in turn, might have been supported by growing consumer confidence and a firming housing market.
Marine lenders expect gains to continue into the summer quarter, but are split, with slightly more than half expecting growth and the balance eyeing flat activity.
Mild early spring weather could have pulled boat buying earlier into the model year and also might have shifted some borrowing ahead.
Survey respondents indicated that this was when they noted lower credit ratings for borrowers and more tightness by lenders in the second quarter, reflecting more demand for loans across all lines. For the balance of the year there may be additional borrowing headwinds, with consumers concerned about the economy (especially job prospects), health care coverage questions and expectations of a disconcerting national election atmosphere.