UpFront: Q&A with GE Capital’s Dennis Murphy
In today’s turbulent economic climate, teaming with an adept financial partner behooves suppliers, retailers, and consumers. MMR recently sat down with vice president of GE Capital, Dennis Murphy, to get his thoughts on partnering with, and working within, the MI community.
MMR: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us, Dennis. Can you start by giving me a brief overview of your own background in finance?
Dennis Murphy: I specialize in working with music merchants to provide consumer financing programs and assist retailers to drive more sales. I have over 25 years’ experience in sales and marketing in financial services. I’m based out of St. Paul, Minnesota.
MMR: Can you discuss some of the specific MI retailers and suppliers GE Capital is working with and what your goals are with these partners?
DM: Programs offered include the GE Money Music program for NAMM members, Yamaha Music & Sound Program and the Sam Ash program. GE Money works with its partners to provide financing programs to dealers or corporate stores, to drive customer traffic, increase sales and develop customer loyalty.
MMR: What’s the reasoning behind GE Capital’s continued active involvement in the music industry?
DM: GE Money is dedicated to the music space and understands the need for financing in the music industry. GE has developed strong relationships with NAMM, music manufacturers, and independent dealers. The music customer profile is similar to many other segments GE Money serves. Music customers tend to make large initial purchases with subsequent repeat purchases. Prior to GE Money entering the music industry, music dealers had limited options for financing and limited support. GE Money has been able to solidify relationships within music by providing excellent dealer support, training, point-of-sale materials and marketing expertise.
MMR: Can you talk about the staff at GE Capital who works specifically on MI projects?
DM: Our structure enables us to tap into many cross-functional areas, so we can bring a strong base of expertise and support to the music experience. This includes Sales, Marketing, Finance, Risk, Compliance, Legal, merchant services, as well as customer services.
MMR: You make use of some music folks in your ads – can you discuss the reasoning behind this?
DM: Testimonials and input from business owners is the best way to build awareness of our programs, as music retailers would rather hear about the benefits of our finance programs from their peers, rather than from their provider. A music retailer that uses and has had success with the GE Money music finance program is our best advocate.
MMR: Do you have any observations on the state of finance, in general? Are there any larger trends that you’ve noticed lately?
DM: Consumers consider their payment options more carefully in this environment. The finance programs we offer within the music industry, such as deferred interest programs and other promotions, help customers build the purchase into their budgets in a way that is convenient and affordable.
Deferred Interest/No Interest If Paid In Full Plans charge no interest when accountholders make their required minimum monthly payment and pay the balance in full within the promotional period.
MMR: Any final thoughts you’d care to share with our readers?
DM: Music dealers tell us they appreciate the types of programs we offer, because it helps them be more competitive, drive repeat business, and provide choices for their customers. It is more important than ever to have payment options for buyers to purchase the musical instrument they want, either for themselves or their family members. GE works hard to make our programs simple to use and easy to offer in the stores by providing free Point-of-Sale materials and training for the stores. In addition, our credit decisions are fast – typically seconds – making the process quick and convenient for the customer, enabling them get approved and purchase in one visit to the store.