Manufacturing companies such as Caterpillar and Harley Davidson rely on in-house lending for up to 15% of their profit, but analysts see Caterpillar's financing as low-risk. "They stick to their knitting, their loans are highly collateralized, their default rates are relatively low and there's a good auction market," said Eli Lustgarten, an analyst at Longbow Research. In addition, there appears to better transparency at Cat Financial than many other financial arms, according to an analyst at Morningstar.

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