SAN DIEGO – During its annual conference in San Diego, the National Marine Bankers Association presented a 25th Anniversary Report in which the association’s past presidents predicted how marine lending will change in the future, it reported in a statement today.
E*Trade Financial’s Peggy Bodenreider, who is immediate past president, suggested that the future will mean more pressure on boat dealers.
“As younger employees enter the workforce, they will drive automation within the dealerships, forcing an increase in the sophistication level of the average boat dealer,” she predicted. “This will improve efficiency and accuracy in the lending process, driving more indirect lenders to interface with electronics applications and decisioning tools.”
Other past presidents expressed concern that the combination of higher interest rates and baby boomers’ need to consider retirement may mean an industry slowdown.
“My thoughts on the future are that boat owners shouldn't get too addicted to the current low rates,” said Forest Green Associates’ Jackie Forsee. “If the deficit continues to balloon, inflation and interest rates will surely follow.”
This concern for the future was echoed by Robin Cottmeyer of Offshore Financial, who noted the baby boomers "have much to consider over the next five to ten years, including retirement … These folks have been the primary reason the marine industry has continued to expand since the mid-1980's and have been the driving force within the mid-size boat market. Unfortunately, they may also be the reason that sector of the boating industry slows."
A third prediction involved the consolidation of marine lenders.
"The big will get bigger, however, this will provide more opportunities for smaller regional institutions by serving buyers who seek a more personal approach,” said Bill Otto of Key Bank USA. “Pricing and profitability issues, rarely discussed for fear of antitrust ramifications, will hopefully be revisited by lenders from their own perspectives and portfolio performances, rather than based on their competitors, rumors, myths and paranoia."
A Copy of the NMBA's 25th Anniversary Report including highlights of its history and complete Outlooks is available on line at www.marinebankers.org.
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