A quarterly survey by the National Marine Bankers Association shows an increase in new boat activity, making 2013 potentially the best year marine lenders have seen in years, according to an association press release.
The survey for the quarter ending Sept. 30 reports 25 percent of all lender respondents (both service companies and banks/finance companies) indicating that new boat loan volume represented more than 50 percent of all activity in the quarter. Last year’s third quarter response was 8 percent and zero percent in 2011.
More than 80 percent reported that the average loan amount was the same or higher than in 2012. Ninety-four percent said dollar volume was the same or up year-over-year, compared to 84 percent in the same quarter last year and 66 percent in 2011.
The outlook for next quarter is fairly upbeat, with 88 percent of lenders indicating they expect dollar volume to be up over the fourth quarter last year.
Throughout 2012 and into the first quarter of 2013, a steadily increasing number of lenders reported credit tightening. In contrast, 81 percent of lenders polled felt applicant credit quality had improved or remained the same compared to the prior quarter. Nineteen percent of respondents felt credit quality had slipped.
Two opinion questions were added to the survey this month:
1. Will a new Fed chairman stimulate consumer lending? Only 19 percent of respondents felt a change at the top could produce a more favorable environment for boat loans.
2. Will Obamacare negatively impact discretionary purchases? Despite the relative optimism, 75 percent thought it could cause consumers to delay or cancel plans for a boat purchase.