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Marine bankers unveil three-part campaign

No doubt about it . . . these days, bankers are as popular as jock itch! But, before you put all bankers in that same group you should know that at least one set of bankers has been diligently working to develop a program aimed at stimulating new sources of lending for boating. Kudos to the National Marine Bankers Association (NMBA) for its just-unveiled program intended to create and promote increased awareness of loan availability for the industry. Itís a three-pronged approach aimed at helping dealers and manufacturers, educating banks and other credit institutions, and reaching the consumers.

First, for dealers and manufacturers, NMBA has produced a Webinar and posted it on the organizationís website at Although somewhat elementary in parts, overall itís an excellent presentation with solid information about obtaining additional funding for wholesale and retail. Itís packed with tips on approaching banks for future relationships, too, and every dealer should view this Webinar.

Second, in an aggressive effort to educate and attract more lenders to the marine field, NMBA has created a direct mail campaign including a new brochure and the ďMarine Credit Industry White Paper.Ē The White Paper makes a strong case for marine lending and anticipates significant opportunities for financial institutions as the boating industry recovers. More specifically, it recaps the marine lending market’s history, its good performance and a definition of why lenders should offer both wholesale and retail credit.

†”Today’s recreational marine lending landscape is rich with opportunities,” suggests Bill Thompson, with Cardinal Points Network, LLC, who drafted the white paper on behalf of NMBA. Thompson adds, “Due to recent fluctuations in the credit and capital markets, demand is greater than supply for retail and commercial floor plan lenders. As a result, interest rate spreads have increased and the profit potential is improving.”

† The White Paper further asserts: (1) Subprime activity was minimal in boat financing and delinquency rates were lower than other consumer credit categories, averaging 1.1 compared to 1.8 respectively, in 2007; (2) Boat buyers are mostly middle class Ė three out of four have a household income of $100,000 and under, and present healthy lending opportunities for banks; (3) The boating industry has experienced consistent economic cycles since the 70s allowing for some predictability for lenders when seeking future growth opportunities; and (4) Recent fluctuations in the credit market demonstrate that despite economic downturns, sound lending practices in the marine industry have historically provided solid returns over time.

This direct mail campaign has been sent to all member institutions in†nine associations ranging from the Independent Community Bankers of America to the Credit Union National Association. The White Paper can also be found at

Third, NMBA will shortly be creating editorial materials intended for use in future boat show programs and local media outlets in boat show markets. The editorials will be directed at the consumer and relay†the “availability of funds” message for boat buyers.

NMBA has also been working alongside NMMA and MRAA and the Federal Small Business Administration to focus on the need for federal assistance for boat dealer floor planning.

I tip my hat to all these associations for their work!


5 comments on “Marine bankers unveil three-part campaign

  1. Don Parkhurst

    Norm –

    Thanks for your kind words and support! We are also working on a new SBA program for marine dealer floorplan financing, the details of which should be coming out in the next several weeks.

    Don Parkhurst
    Imediate Past President
    National Marine Banker’s Association

  2. Bill Otto


    Thanks for the support. We are “all” in this together and the NMBA is just trying to help in what ever manor we can.

    Bill Otto

  3. dave boso

    Trickle down economics again, Humongus Marine will get the most money and it may trickle down to we little guys, or maybe like the auto co.’s they will do away with us.

  4. Jim Coburn

    Glad you noticed Norm & thanks for your comments and thoughts!

    The webinar directed at dealers and marine businesses is definitely a “101 refresher.” In fact, I wrote most of the first half of it around 20 years ago which helped dealers and university students in Michigan (throughout the years) interested in the marine industry and how to approach and plan their contacts with banks. Amazing how much of my old presentation is applicable today. I also discussed the SBA in the webinar, back in January, as a way for smaller-sized marine dealers to “look from another angle.” I am pleased to say through shared efforts of the NMMA & MRRA, the NMBA set up a successful meeting with the SBA recently in Washington DC.

    We requested Bill Thompson’s talent to assemble a marine lending paper directed mainly at financial institutions in the US. We are continuing to share the paper and are following up with some of the recepients now. The NMBA plans to update the stats in the white paper going forward.

    Our marketing committee is now working on consumer awareness and the loan availability message.

    We will keep at it and keep sharing with the industry!

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