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Survey: Marine lenders expect flat or improved quarter

A recent survey of National Marine Bankers Association members shows that 50 percent of respondents expect business in the first quarter of 2012 to be up from the same period last year and 39 percent predict it will be the same, the group said.

The NMBA introduced a quarterly members’ survey in 2011 to gauge changes in the lending environment and identify trends that could be used for business planning. Forty-two percent of NMBA lender members responded to the fourth-quarter survey, with the majority having a national presence.

Respondents largely reported that business was up in 2011, except in the third quarter, and 76 percent reported increased bookings in the final quarter from the same period in 2010. Used-boat sales make up the majority of new loans for NMBA members, as a four-quarter average shows that 57 percent of the lenders indicated that loans on new boats accounted for 25 percent or less of their bookings in 2011.

Similarly, a four-quarter average shows that 80 percent of the lenders surveyed indicated that refinance business represented less than 26 percent of their loan bookings.

The fourth-quarter survey shows that concerns about credit stringency have waned since the third quarter, with 89 percent of respondents saying that lending criteria (credit history, asset/net worth, debt ratio, income, collateral and other lender requirements) are the same or less stringent than during the prior quarter.

All responding lenders indicate that the credit quality of borrowers was the same or better in the fourth quarter, compared with the third quarter of 2011.

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