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 September was $9.7 billion, down 5 percent year-over-year from new business volume in September 2022. Volume was down 4 percent from $10.1 billion in August. Year-to-date, cumulative new business volume was up 1.9 percent compared to 2022.
Receivables over 30 days were 2.3 percent, unchanged for the second consecutive month and up from 1.5 percent in the same period in 2022. Charge-offs were 0.36 percent, up from 0.34 percent the previous month and up from 0.17 percent in the year-earlier period.
Credit approvals totaled 73.6 percent, down from 75.1 percent in August. Total headcount for equipment finance companies was down 2.7 percent year-over-year.
Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) in October is 40.1, a decrease from the September index of 50.3.
“Respondents to the September survey show a slight decline in new business volume, providing fresh evidence that liquidity issues brought about, in part, by high interest rates and stubborn inflation are having a somewhat negative impact on demand for business equipment in select sectors," said ELFA President and CEO Ralph Petta. "Of equal or greater concern is the quality of equipment finance company portfolios, as losses and delinquencies continue to edge up slightly. Both bear monitoring as we enter the fourth quarter of the year.”
Bill Stephenson, Global Chief Executive Officer, PEAC Solutions, said, “After the positive growth of recent months, the September survey results underscore the near-term challenges being faced by the U.S. economy. With monetary policy remaining restrictive and the cloud of further rate hikes still hanging in the air, business confidence has continued to soften and curtail investment activity. Our industry has demonstrated its resilience, having successfully navigated these economic headwinds for most of 2023 and delivering year-over-year growth. However, recent adverse events, such as the escalation of hostilities in the Middle East, will weigh on market sentiment and could further slow activity in the final months of the year.”
The MLFI-25 is a 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.