The National Marine Bankers Association says 2013 might be the best year marine lenders have seen in years.
The new NMBA quarterly survey for the period that ended Sept. 30 shows that 25 percent of all lender respondents said new-boat loan volume represented more than 50 percent of their activity in the third quarter.
Last year's third-quarter response was only 8 percent, and none reported that high a level of new-boat activity in the third quarter of 2011.
The average loan amount was reported by 88 percent of the respondents to be the same or higher than 2012, and the NMBA said this is likely attributable to the increase in new-boat loan activity. "It seems 2013 could be the best many marine lenders have seen in years," the report stated.
Following a dramatic increase in the number of lenders reporting lending criteria to be less stringent last quarter, all of the survey respondents indicated that the credit requirements were unchanged from the second quarter.
"Throughout 2012 and into the first quarter of 2013, a steadily increasing number of lenders reported credit tightening, so this is good news," the report read. "In contrast, only 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, compared to only 8 percent in the second quarter."
Thirty-five percent of the 48 NMBA lender members completed the quarterly survey, and 94 percent indicated that their margin was the same or higher than last year. Ninety-four percent of respondents also said dollar volume was up year-over-year, compared with 84 percent in the third quarter of 2012 and only 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 from the fourth quarter of 2012.