Consumer confidence is up, but not enough to drive powersports sales to pre-recession levels, said Sean Hardeman, executive vice president and lending chief at LBS Financial Credit Union.
“I highly doubt we’ll see consumers willing to purchase powersports, boats, at the same level as they did prior to the Great Recession, at least anytime too soon,” Hardeman told Auto Finance News.
The powersports market in California, specifically, is likely to take time to recover, he said. “There is more hope for powersports, though, than there is for boats and personal watercraft, in light of the extended drought in California.”
There is more inherent risk in the powersports financing business than in auto or mortgage, Hardeman said. For one thing, federal and state examiners keep a watchful eye on the players in this space. “Any financial institution in this space has to be extremely prudent and careful with their programs,” he said. “LBS Financial is highly capitalized to protect against economic downturns and the inherent risk in the loan portfolio.” Despite the higher underlying risk, South-California-based LBS continues to develop partnerships “that make sense for the credit union and dealers” in the powersports industry, Hardeman said.