Textron Financial Corporation (TFC) is one of at least two inventory finance providers looking to expand its RV dealer floorplan portfolio.

TFC is the finance subsidiary of Textron Inc., manufacturer of Cessna aircraft, Bell helicopters and E-Z-Go golf carts.

TFC was a small player in RV dealer inventory finance the last two years. But Group President Jerry Britton said, “TFC is looking to dramatically expand its RV portfolio.”

Britton has over 30 years experience in RV dealer inventory finance. He says TFC’s emphasis on RV wholesale lending is indicated by its hiring of other executives with extensive experience in the field. That group includes Senior Vice President Tom Low, Duane Oxendine, Vice President of Sales for the southeast region, Gary Kamrath, Vice President of Sales for the north region, and Mike Russell, Vice President of Sales for the west region.

“It (RVs) is a good, stable industry,” Britton said. “There will be cycles.”

During 2000, three RV dealer inventory finance providers, CIT, Conseco and John Deere Credit, left the RV dealer floorplan business. That was a major factor in TFC’s decision to expand its role in the sector, he said.

However, any success TFC has expanding its RV dealer inventory finance portfolio will not come as a result of relaxing lending standards. “We’re taking a long-term approach,” Low said. “We will be prudent but competitive in our lending standards.”

Low believes the RV dealer body is financially strong despite some high profile dealership closures during 2000. In several cases, the closures were the result of dealers attempting to grow too fast. That fact, Low said, proves that lenders have to be careful. “We will work together with dealers to support the inventory levels they feel are right for their business, whether that is an expansion or reduction in RV inventory,” he said.

In addition to TFC, Cleveland-based National City Corp. is looking to expand its RV dealer inventory finance portfolio in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky.