NMLA releases annual report

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New fiberglass boats showed increased sales across all length groups, with the 35- to 49-foot leading the growth with a 10.5-percent increase.

That’s according to the National Marine Lenders Association, a group that released its annual report on lending trends last week.

The report provides specific industry data relating to two distinct business line entities; those who originate and hold recreational marine loans — banks, credit unions and private lenders — and those who originate and broker marine loans — service companies.

“The stabilization and more recent continued growth in new boat sales is an encouraging sign for the economy and, of course, lenders,” the group told Trade Only Today in an email. “Because most boats are ultimately a luxury item and replacing or upgrading them can often be postponed, the market will get hit early in an economic downturn and can be slow to recover in an upswing. With several other economic indicators well into such an upswing, the boating industry is now experiencing the results of better economic health.”

The average size of a boat loan for new and preowned boats grew in 2016 from $58.8 to $64.3.

The 45- to 54-year-old age segment retained the highest percentage for marine loan customers in 2016.

Income tiers over $100,000 continue to be the greatest percentage of boat loan customers.

Lenders that hold marine portfolios and offer refinance loans saw an increase in refinance activity for the first time in four years, the group said.

There has been a gradual increase in the percentage of boat loan dollars to total installment loan portfolio dollars since the end of the great recession.

Those surveyed reported that 34 percent of their applications were received online, a 24-percent increase from the previous year.

The complete 109-page NMLA 2017 Annual Report is available for purchase in PDF format. Please visit www.marinelenders.org and select "Annual Report."