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Capital One ends marine retail lending

Capital One has pulled out of marine retail lending, according to Jim Coburn, vice president of consumer lending at Flagstar Bank and president of the National Marine Bankers Association.

Several calls made to Capital One were not returned, although three industry insiders, including one Capital One employee, confirmed the bank is no longer taking marine applications.

Capital One in March 2006 announced a merger with North Fork Bank, which was known for concentrating on yacht loans of more than $1 million. The merger was completed in March 2008, and the name recently was changed to Capital One. The announcement to pull out of marine lending was made to employees shortly before Christmas, sources said.

An employee of Capital One said several specialty lending offices were shut down as the bank began refocusing on deposits.

Phil Hawkins, manager of Sterling Associates in Fort Lauderdale, said the office had been closed.

"They were a competitor of mine, and word on the street is they just let all their people go," Hawkins said.

Sterling Associates works with several banks to place boat loans, and sometimes Hawkins would hand a loan he couldn’t place to Capital One. A former employee of his who left to work at Capital One had told Hawkins she needed a job after her severance ended in February.

"I'm sorry to see them go," Hawkins said. "You hate to lose anyone, especially now."

The announcement comes on the heels of several lenders pulling out of marine lending, including KeyBank quitting floorplan and retail lending and Textron withdrawing from floorplan lending.

— Reagan Haynes