NMBA works to improve lending

CHICAGO, Ill. – The National Marine Bankers Association continues work on projects aimed at providing lending opportunities, awareness and improving relationships between bankers, marine industry businesses and associations, the group said in a newsletter published yesterday. Within the newsletter, NMBA President Jim Coburn outlined “three important initiatives” currently under way.

The first is NMBA’s Web-based tutorial, a basic “101” Webinar created to assist boating industry stakeholders in finding and developing loan sources. The free Webinar is a 14-minute review of the basics in uncovering prospective marine bankers that covers local, regional and national possibilities and identifies simple, appropriate ways to approach prospective bankers to extend credit services to consumers and businesses.

“The Webinar recognizes our current unprecedented economic environment and illustrates how marine dealers and manufacturers are in a positive position to effect change in their trading areas,” Coburn wrote. “We found that many marine businesses in the U.S., particularly smaller dealers and suppliers, were not versed in the basic development of banker relationships. For others, the Webinar is a compact ‘refresher’ course covering the basics and benefiting all marine related businesses toward improving and maintaining solid relationships with existing bankers and lenders.“

The second initiative is NMBA’s “white paper” – a Marine Industry Executive Summary for lenders that provides an overview of the marine and marine lending industries in the U.S. Written by NMBA friend and colleague, Bill Thompson of Cardinal Points Network, LLC, the paper anticipates a recovery in the recreational boating marketplace and an accompanying opportunity for financial institutions to participate in the next cycle of growth.

NMBA said there is an upside potential for banks and other credit providers, and it may be higher than in the past because many bankers were forced to discontinue service to the marine market due to the credit crunch and financial crisis.

The six-page white paper offers a market overview, profiles and financial needs of the manufacturing and retailing sectors, and a snapshot of the boat buyer and borrower. NMBA said every marine dealer and related marine businesses should arm themselves with this paper when meeting with prospective bankers and lenders.

The third initiative is NMBA’s work with the Small Business Administration and the MRAA and NMMA.

“We had the opportunity to meet with the SBA in Washington D.C. and were successful in urging them to start a pilot program aimed at floor plan financing,” Coburn wrote. “The new 7a DFP lending program for floor plan is in addition to the SBA’s traditional 7a programs. The program is tailored to small marine dealer business (as the program title suggests) and to those bankers signed up with the SBA and willing to provide guaranteed floor plan loans.”

To interact with all three initiatives, visit NMBA’s Web site and click on the appropriate link located on the homepage at www.marinebankers.org.

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