Eighty per cent of respondents to a survey by the National Marine Bankers Association (NMBA) said loan volume for the first quarter of 2012 was up compared to a year ago. The same percentage said they expect loans to rise in the second quarter.

The quarterly survey was introduced last year in order to gauge changes in the US lending environment. About 35 percent of the association’s membership responded to this survey.

Most respondents said that business was up in four of the last five quarters, with the exception of the third quarter of last year.

Pre-owned boat sales make up the majority of new loans for NMBA members. Just over half said that loans on new boats accounted for 25 per cent or less of their bookings in the first quarter.

Refinance activity also picked up as 36 per cent of the lenders surveyed indicated this business represented 26 per cent to 50 per cent of their loan bookings, while for all quarters in 2011 an average of 80 per cent of the lenders reported it accounted for 25 per cent or less of their volume.

All respondents said that lending criteria is the same or less stringent than the previous quarter. All responding lenders indicate, for the second consecutive quarter, that credit quality of borrowers was the same or better than the previous quarter.

For the second quarter of 2012, 80 per cent expect loan volume to be up over the same quarter a year ago, while 13 per cent expect it to be the same.