March New Business Volume Down 10 Percent Year-over-year, Up 39 Percent Month-over-month and Down 10 Percent Year-to-date
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 $1 trillion equipment finance sector, showed their overall new business volume for March was $8.2 billion, down 10 percent year-over-year from new business volume in March 2018. Volume was up 39 percent month-to-month from $5.9 billion in February. Year to date, cumulative new business volume was down 10 percent compared to 2018.
Receivables over 30 days were 1.90 percent, up from 1.80 the previous month and up from 1.70 percent the same period in 2018. Charge-offs were 0.37 percent, up from 0.35 percent the previous month, and down from 0.51 percent in the year-earlier period.
Credit approvals totaled 75.3 percent, down from 76.0 percent from February. Total headcount for equipment finance companies was up 0.4 percent year-over-year.
Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) in April is 58.3, down from the March index of 60.4.
ELFA President and CEO Ralph Petta said, “First quarter new business volume got off to a slow start, relative to Q1 last year. This was not unexpected given analysts’ expectations that equipment and software capex in 2019 could not realistically expect to keep pace with last year’s strong showing. The overall U.S. economy continues to perform reasonably well: unemployment is low; interest rates are favorable, with the Fed deciding to hold off on additional increases for a while; and the broader equity markets are stable. Credit markets appear healthy. Headwinds to this benign scenario include a softening in global economies and continued international trade frictions, particularly with China and Europe.”
Alan Sikora, CEO of First American Equipment Finance and a member of the ELFA Board of Directors, said, “Following a year of growth in 2018, the equipment finance industry experienced two consecutive months of year-over-year declines. Time will tell whether this decrease is simply a hangover from December stock market volatility or an early sign of weakness in the U.S. economy. The U.S. equipment finance industry is massive and strong—no single company commands significant market share. As a result, not all companies are experiencing declines. First American Equipment Finance continues to grow, and we remain optimistic about the remainder of 2019.”
About the ELFA’s MLFI-25
The MLFI-25 is the only index that reflects capex—the volume of commercial equipment financed in the U.S.—and is released as a complementary economic indicator the day before the U.S. Department of Commerce releases the durable goods report.
To read a detailed description and methodology of the MLFI-25, visit http://www.elfaonline.org/Data/MLFI/
The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) is the trade association that represents companies in the $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 575 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. For more information, please visit www.elfaonline.org.