The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association's (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index (MLFI-25), which reports economic activity for the $521 billion equipment finance sector, showed overall new business volume for February was $4.1 billion, up 28 percent compared to the same period in 2010.
Measured against the prior month, February volume was down a tick. And, it is worth noting that only 10 percent of responding organizations reported declining volume activity when compared to the year-earlier period.
Credit quality continues to be mixed. Receivables over 30 days increased to 3.1 percent in February from 2.8 percent in January, but declined by 47 percent compared to the same period in 2010. Charge-offs increased slightly, from 0.9 percent in January to 1.0 percent in February, but showed dramatic improvement over the same period in 2010.
Compared to the year-earlier period, credit standards eased as new application approvals increased to 76 percent in February. And, 61 percent of participating organizations reported submitting more transactions for approval during the month, up from 56 percent of responding organizations in January.
Finally, total headcount for equipment finance companies remained flat for the last four months, but was down four percent year-over-year. Supplemental data shows that the construction and trucking sectors once again led the underperforming sectors in February.
Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation's Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) for March is 72.4, a new high since the MCI was launched in May 2009, and an increase from the previous high of 71.6 in February.