Marine lenders celebrate NMBA’s 25th anniversary

SAN DIEGO – Members of the National Marine Bankers Association recently gathered in San Diego for an annual three-day conference to toast the group’s achievements over the past 25 years, the NMBA said in a recent release.

The association was organized to provide service to what was then a “specialty” lending niche in 1979 and to extend and promote credit growth to the boating industry and boat buyers, and has fulfilled that mission in many ways, according to the NMBA.

Statistics show that since its founding, boat loans by NMBA members to buyers have grown from $1 billion to $7 billion annually; inventory loans for dealers and manufacturers rose from just $100 million to more than $2 billion a year; the average term of a boat loan increased from approximately 8 to 14 years. The average size of the loan rose from $26,000 to $106,000.

“The explosion of credit and varieties of loan offerings in the past quarter century have helped consumers buy and the industry sell boats, but many of us believe the NMBA gave this a hearty extra push,” said NMBA President Don Parkhurst of SunTrust Bank. “We’ve taught a lot of institutions how to make marine loans, and, importantly, we’ve taught them how to be smart and profitable in the process. As a result, observers of our industries believe the growth of boating, through the affordability of growing loan offerings, is tied to our members’ efforts.”

NMBA has been involved in a number of traditional association programs over the years. In addition to development of marine lending statistics, it has advanced federal and state government initiatives to standardize the boat lending and recordation process, and focused on education and communication.

These benefits were dubbed the NMBA’s “Four Pillars” by past president Jim Coburn of National City Bank: an annual conference, active Web site, annual workshop aimed at improving the operations side of the business, and an annual marine lending survey.

A copy of the NMBA’s 25th Anniversary Report including highlights of its history and visions of the future is available online at

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