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March 23, 2018  

Yamaha Resurfaces With Card-Bond Plan

Look for Yamaha Motor Corp. USA to resume issuing asset-backed securities after a long absence from the market — but with a new type of collateral backing the bonds.

The motorcycle maker’s captive-lending arm, Yamaha Motor Credit, plans to use securitization as a funding mechanism for Yamaha-branded credit cards it started offering about a year ago. The operation also is looking into deals backed by dealer-floorplan loans.

Word of the initiative began circulating as a team of Yamaha executives huddled with bankers and investors at the Structured Finance Industry Group’s “SFIG Vegas” conference, held Feb. 25-28 in Las Vegas. “They were meeting with a lot of people, explaining their program and how well they were doing with it,” one source said.

Via a partnership with WebBank, Yamaha offers credit cards to individuals with strong credit histories. The cards can only be used to purchase Yamaha products.

Yamaha also will launch an in-house floorplan-loan program by yearend.

The last time Yamaha sold asset-backed securities in the U.S. was in 2000. From 1994 until that point, the company had completed four transactions totaling $684 million, two backed by motorcycle loans and two that funded an earlier floorplan program, according to Asset-Backed Alert’s ABS Database.

In 2015, Yamaha began developing a securitization program to finance purchases of its motorcycles, boat engines and other gear by customers with poor credit. But it never followed through with that effort.

Jeff Young, who was promoted to president of Yamaha Motor Credit in January, is overseeing development of the credit-card business. He joined the company in 2014 as chief operating officer. His prior jobs included leading Mitsubishi Motors Credit and managing Ford’s securitization program.

In January, Yamaha hired Brian Hinchman as head of wholesale finance. He previously spent time at TCF Inventory Finance and GE Capital, where he worked on several securitizations.