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 $9.1 billion, up 2 percent year-over-year from new business volume in March 2017. Volume was up 18 percent month-to-month from $7.7 billion in February. Year to date, cumulative new business volume was up 12 percent compared to 2017.
Receivables over 30 days were 2.00 percent, up from 1.60 percent the previous month and up from 1.40 percent the same period in 2017. Charge-offs were 0.51 percent, up from 0.28 percent the previous month, and down from 0.68 percent in the year-earlier period.
Credit approvals totaled 75.2 percent in March, up from 74.2 percent in February. Total headcount for equipment finance companies was up 0.3 percent year over year. During 2017, headcount was elevated due to acquisition activity at an MLFI reporting company.
Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) in April is 68.3, easing from 72.2 in March.
ELFA President and CEO Ralph Petta said, “The first quarter of the year concludes with a continued steady increase in new business growth. Tempering this trend, which reflects sound fundamentals in the overall economy and high business confidence, is the reality that charge-offs and delinquencies are also inching forward, ever so slightly.”
Michael Romanowski, President, Farm Credit Leasing Services Corporation, said, “New business is on parity with 2017, which we will take as a win. Customers are continuing to analyze the impact of tax reform, and in some cases, deciding to delay investment or pay cash for capital expenditures. As the year progresses, we expect many customers to increase their utilization of lease financing as it continues to be an attractive option for the assets that we lease.”