NMLA’s 43rd Annual Marine Lenders Conference Sets Attendance Record

More than 200 attendees from 87 businesses and 37 first-time registrants connected September 24-26 at the Westin Hilton Head Island Resort in South Carolina

The National Marine Lenders Association (NMLA) just wrapped up its 2023 conference in Hilton Head, S.C., drawing the largest number of attendees in more than 10 years.

Headliners for the National Marine Lenders Association (NMLA) event included Bill Yeargin, CEO and President of Correct Craft, who presented the economics of culture within an organization. He noted that implementing a positive culture should not be realized as an expense, but rather as a high-end return on investment. Matt Gruhn, MRAA President, shared the current mindset of U.S. boat dealers and highlighted examples of how a successful dealership can survive and thrive during challenging times by demonstrating resiliency, creativity and maintaining a “never-give-up” attitude.

Speaker at a conference
Matt Gruhn, MRAA President, spoke at the NMLA Conference about the current mindset of U.S. boat dealers and shared how a successful dealership can survive and thrive during challenging times.

A panel discussion on cyber security, fraud mitigation and loss prevention highlighted top-down tips for organizations and individuals on ways to protect themselves amid the evolving world of AI. Panel member Matthew O’Neill, US Secret Service, reminded attendees that corporate systems can be “hacked” via one person, thus driving home the need for bottom-up fraud policies. Additional breakout sessions and panel discussions covered marine portfolio protection, e-contracting, delinquency, collection recovery, marine industry advocacy issues and Gina Martin Adams’ (Global Head of Portfolio Strategy and Chief Equity Strategist for Bloomberg Intelligence) economic update.

“We thank all our members and industry stakeholders for their participation. Seeing so many first-time attendees at this year’s event was very encouraging. What a strong testament to the growth of the NMLA and the entire marine industry” said Robin Cottmeyer, NMLA’s Executive Director.

The conference is one of the major highlights of the year for NMLA members and the marine finance industry. Next up on NMLA’s educational calendar is the Annual Marine Lending Workshop (March 10-12, Orlando, Fla.), a two-day interactive program offering attendees the opportunity to increase their knowledge base with experts possessing more than 200+ years of combined marine experience.

About NMLA
The National Marine Lenders Association is a 501-C non-profit organization that began operations in 1979. Their mission is simple: Promote and improve recreational marine lending in the United States. Membership includes banks, credit unions, and finance companies who offer retail and inventory financing for the boating and yachting industry. Associate members supporting the needs of lenders include maritime attorneys, USCG documentation and title companies, marine insurers, repossession and liquidation businesses, marine technology providers, and industry associations.