Business Volume Down in February 2013 for Equipment Lease Finance Industry | Construction News

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 $725 billion equipment finance sector, showed their overall new business volume for February was $4.7 billion, down 6% from volume of $5 billion in February 2012. Month-over-month, new business volume was down 20% from January. Year-to-date, cumulative new business volume was up 5% compared to 2012.

Receivables over 30 days increased to 2% in February, up from 1.8% in January.  They were down from 2.5% in the same period in 2012. Charge-offs were up slightly at 0.4% from their all-time low of 0.3% the previous month.

Credit approvals totaled 77.4% in February, down 1% from January.  Fifty-three percent of participating organizations reported submitting more transactions for approval during February, down from 55 percent the previous month.

Finally, total headcount for equipment finance companies was down 3.5% from the previous month, and decreased 2.9% year over year, largely due to a change in reporting by one survey participant.

Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation's Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) for March is 58.0, a slight decrease from the February index of 58.7, reflecting a leveling off in industry participants’ optimism after two consecutive increases. 

ELFA President and CEO William G. Sutton, CAE, said: “It is too early to tell whether February’s decline in new business volume signals a longer-term trend spurred by economic uncertainty, sequestration and unresolved fiscal matters, or is a one-time development that needs to be closely monitored. Recent internal and external economic indicators and analyses point to a moderately sluggish beginning to the year, to be followed by a pick-up in overall economic activity in the second half of the year.  February’s somewhat disappointing data could very well provide concrete evidence of this forecast.”

Hugh Connelly, President, Univest Capital, Inc., said, “The government’s inability to manage the finances of the country appears to be affecting the current recovery. Small business owners want to know the tax and regulatory rules within which they must operate.  Until the government determines the attributes of the economic landscape, volatility will continue to unsettle the economy, and a lasting recovery will remain elusive.”