Boating Industry

May 2016

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Page 15 of 51 16 | Boating Industry | May 2016 BY JONATHAN SWEET O n March 1, Wells Fargo officially acquired GE Capital's Commercial Distribution Finance platform in the U.S. and Canada. The company expects to close on the rest of the global operations (which includes Europe, Africa, Middle East, Asia and Australia) this year. The deal with Wells Fargo was first an- nounced in October 2015, as part of GE's plan – announced in April 2015 – to mostly exit the financial services business. The new Wells Fargo Commercial Dis- tribution Finance will continue to provide inventory and receivable financing solu- tions across 17+ industries, including the boating industry. According to the com- pany, the marine business unit supports hundreds of OEMs and thousands of deal- ers "of all shapes and sizes from the biggest to the smallest in order to help this industry provide quality customer service, which is vital to today's consumer. "By bringing together these two busi- nesses, Wells Fargo sees this as an opportu- nity to deepen relationships and strengthen its presence in key commercial lending markets. It values the deep industry exper- tise and customer relationships which the CDF business has built." GE Capital Commercial Distribution Finance has long been one of the most influential companies in the marine in- dustry as the largest provider of floorplan financing. The company has also invested in a number of educational and award pro- grams supporting marine dealers and the industry from its annual state of the indus- try conference at the Miami International Boat Show to the Boating Industry Top 100 and the Marine Dealer Conference & Expo. With that in mind, it's no surprise that the CDF sale has been one of the most closely watched and most talked about sto- ries of the last year, with dealers and OEMs alike wondering what impact the transition will have on their businesses. We talked to Bruce Van Wagoner, president of the Wells Fargo Commercial Distribution Finance Marine Group, about the transition and what dealers can expect from the new company. Boating Industry: What does this mean for dealers? Will they be dealing with the same people they've gotten to know over the years? VAN WAGONER: There are no antici- pated changes expected to our team. I am pleased to share 100 percent of our marine account management and commercial teams have successfully transitioned. Wells Fargo is an established financial services company that is committed to investing and growing across our core industries globally, and will offer a good environment for growth. We will continue to provide inventory financing solutions, service and business intelligence through our in-depth industry expertise. Our success will be based upon our ability to deliver financing solutions to help our customers grow. Boating Industry: Will there be any changes in systems, processes, etc., that you expect to impact dealers? VAN WAGONER: No, we do not antici- pate any changes to our external systems or processes. All previous websites are in the process of being rebranded, and will redirect to our new site www.wellsfargo. com/cdf. We'll continue to provide cus- tomers with access to COMS, the powerful operating system that provides real-time inventory and business management in- formation. In addition, our commercial representatives will continue to provide customized CDF and industry analytics to our dealer customers when requested. with Bruce Van Wagoner Wells Fargo CDF Marine Group President Bruce Van Wagoner

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