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Monthly Equipment Finance Index Shows 37% Decline from previous year

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

WASHINGTON, DC — The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index (MLFI-25), which reports economic activity for the $650 billion equipment finance sector, showed overall new business volume for June declined by 37 percent when compared to the same period in 2008. Month-to-month new business volume actually increased 24 percent from May to June, from $4.2 billion to $5.2 billion. For Q2 2009, new business volume declined by 40.1 percent when compared to Q2 2008.

The MLFI-25 is the only index that reflects capex, or the volume of commercial equipment financed in the U.S. The MLFI-25 is a financial indicator that complements other relevant economic indices, including the monthly durable goods report prepared by the U.S. Department of Commerce, which reflects new orders for manufactured durable goods, and the Institute for Supply Management Index, which reports economic activity in the manufacturing sector. Together with the MLFI-25 these reports provide a complete picture of the status of productive assets in the U.S. economy: equipment produced, acquired and financed.

The MLFI-25 reported receivables over 30 days decreased to 4.1 percent as compared to 4.7 percent in May. However, June delinquencies increased 100 basis points from the year-earlier reporting period. Charge-offs increased to 2.44 percent from 1.74 percent in the prior month, and more than doubled from June 2008. Credit approvals decreased to 65.4 percent from 66.3 percent in May, and from 74.0 percent in June 2008. Fifty-five percent of participant companies reported that fewer transactions were submitted for approval during the month, due to tightening underwriting standards and lower demand. Total headcount for equipment finance companies was virtually flat in the May-June period.

“While year-over-year declines improved in June as compared to April and May, the second quarter showed greater weakness as compared to Q1 2009 and Q4 2008 indicating that businesses continued to pull back from new investments while underwriting standards continued to tighten,” said ELFA President Kenneth E. Bentsen, Jr.

At the same time, confidence in the equipment finance market is down slightly with a score of 49.2 for July 2009 compared to 51.8 for June 2009, according to a monthly confidence index released by the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation. The index reports a qualitative assessment of both the prevailing business conditions and expectations for the future as reported by key executives from the $650 billion equipment finance sector. Survey results are posted on the Foundation website, www.leasefoundation.org/IndRsrcs/MCI/

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