SBA issues first marine loan

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The first marine loan was recently issued under the Small Business Administration's Dealer Floor Plan pilot program that was launched earlier this year.

The Tennessee-based Cleveland Boat Center finalized its SBA Dealer Floor Plan loan with longtime SBA lender Citizens National Bank of Athens, Tenn., the National Marine Manufacturers Association reports.

"Our SBA loan has provided our business with manageable terms and increased flexibility," said Randy Wattenbarger, owner of the Cleveland Boat Center, in a statement. "It's helping us preserve jobs and keep boats available to local boaters at a price they can afford."

In another encouraging development for the boating industry, last week GE Commercial Distribution Finance brought more than $500 million in securitized floorplan loans to market partially under the Term Asset-Backed Securities Lending Facility, or TALF. GE previously brought an initial $500 million in floorplan loans through TALF to market in early August.

"As the economy slowly recovers, initiatives like TALF and the SBA DFP program are providing additional, much-needed help to resilient marine businesses as they work to emerge from this downturn," NMMA president Thom Dammrich said in a statement.

The SBA program is slated to end Sept. 30, 2010, at which point SBA will decide to either extend the pilot, end it or make it a permanent part of SBA's lending programs.

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