The marine industry’s behemoth floorplan lender increased several credit lines in the last year or two as boat sales continue their steady, albeit slow ascent and confidence rises among consumers and dealers.
“I would say virtually every one of our largest customers has come back to us for credit increases over the last year or two years,” GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance marine group president Bruce Van Wagoner told Trade Only Today.
Van Wagoner said the dealer requests for increases have been “in response to the marketplace and opportunities in front of them.”
Those opportunities include dealers taking on another segment of the market, requiring a bigger line to handle unit sale increases, those seeing the dollar value of units is increasing, or simply a rise in confidence, Van Wagoner said.
“We’ve had the vast majority come back and request increases and I feel good about our ability to accommodate them,” provided they’re properly capitalized, he said, adding that the credit lines vary from $50,000 to $250 million.
“It’s our view that credit’s widely available on boats on the wholesale and retail side. The dealers that need financing generally are able to get it,” Van Wagoner said. “Every dealer’s different. We try to find financing solutions that are reasonable.”
GE Capital’s survey of marine industry manufacturers, dealers and suppliers, conducted at the Miami International Boat Show, showed that 80% of participants expect sales to increase 5 to 10 percent in 2015, up from 54% in 2014.
“Two years ago, that number was only 43%,” Van Wagoner said, adding to keep in mind that the majority of respondents are Florida dealers in a robust market.
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