The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index (MLFI-25), which reports economic activity from 25 companies representing a cross section of the $900 billion equipment finance sector, showed their overall new business volume for August was $8.8 billion, up 4 percent year-over-year from new business volume in August 2021. Volume was down 13 percent from $10.1 billion in July. Year-to-date, cumulative new business volume was up 5 percent compared to 2021.
Receivables over 30 days were 1.5 percent, down from 1.6 percent the previous month and down from 1.8 percent in the same period in 2021. Charge-offs were 0.17 percent, down from 0.18 percent the previous month and down from 0.23 percent in the year-earlier period.
Credit approvals totaled 75.2 percent, down from 78 percent in July. Total headcount for equipment finance companies was down 2.9 percent year-over-year.
Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) in September is 48.7, a decrease from 50 in August.
ELFA President and CEO Ralph Petta said, “August origination volume reflects an equipment finance industry that is fueling continued growth and expansion of businesses throughout the U.S. Up to this point at least, steadily rising interest rates do not appear to dampen enthusiasm of businesses that prefer the utilization of productive assets versus their ownership, which is the essence of the equipment finance sector. With the Fed’s most recent 75-basis point jump in short-term interest rates, and the prospect of a hard landing, time will tell whether—and to what extent—these same business owners continue to grow and invest in equipment.”
Thomas Sbordone, Managing Director and National Sales Manager, BMO Harris Equipment Finance, said, “While the economic data may be construed in any number of ways and can feel, at times, unsettling, the fundamentals of our equipment finance business remain strong. Companies invest in capital equipment, throughout all cycles, for a myriad of reasons and equipment obsolescence is certainly real. Productivity gains require capital and business owners are always seeking an edge on the competition. Once decision-makers get past the initial ‘sticker shock’ of seeing how their financing rates have climbed over the past year they make rational choices based on their individual circumstances. The August MLFI results look positive, generally, given the market environment with continued high inflation, supply chain issues and other challenges. It will be interesting to see the September end-of-quarter MLFI results when the effects of the Fed’s latest interest rate hike are clearer. A ‘wait and see’ approach never feels great, but we’re reminded that patience is a virtue.”
About ELFA’s MLFI-25
The MLFI-25 is the only near-real-time index that reflects capex, or the volume of commercial equipment financed in the U.S. The MLFI-25 is released globally at 8 a.m. Eastern time from Washington, D.C., each month on the day before the U.S. Department of Commerce releases the durable goods report. The MLFI-25 is a financial indicator that complements the durable goods report and other economic indexes, including the Institute for Supply Management Index, which reports economic activity in the manufacturing sector. Together with the MLFI-25 these reports provide a complete view of the status of productive assets in the U.S. economy: equipment produced, acquired and financed.
The MLFI-25 is a time series that reflects two years of business activity for the 25 companies currently participating in the survey. The latest MLFI-25, including methodology and participants, is available at www.elfaonline.org/knowledge-hub/mlfi-25-monthly-leasing-and-finance-index.
The MLFI-25 is part of the Knowledge Hub, the source for business intelligence in the equipment finance industry. Visit the hub at www.elfaonline.org/KnowledgeHub.
MLFI-25 MethodologyELFA produces the MLFI-25 survey to help member organizations achieve competitive advantage by providing them with leading-edge research and benchmarking information to support strategic business decision making.
The MLFI-25 is a barometer of the trends in U.S. capital equipment investment. Five components are included in the survey: new business volume (originations), aging of receivables, charge-offs, credit approval ratios, (approved vs. submitted) and headcount for the equipment finance business.
The MLFI-25 measures monthly commercial equipment lease and loan activity as reported by participating ELFA member equipment finance companies representing a cross section of the equipment finance sector, including small ticket, middle-market, large ticket, bank, captive and independent leasing and finance companies. Based on hard survey data, the responses mirror the economic activity of the broader equipment finance sector and current business conditions nationally.
About ELFAwww.elfaonline.org.The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) is the trade association that represents companies in the nearly $1 trillion equipment finance sector, which includes financial services companies and manufacturers engaged in financing capital goods. ELFA members are the driving force behind the growth in the commercial equipment finance market and contribute to capital formation in the U.S. and abroad. Its 580 members include independent and captive leasing and finance companies, banks, financial services corporations, broker/packagers and investment banks, as well as manufacturers and service providers. ELFA has been equipping business for success for more than 60 years. For more information, please visit