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 $900 billion equipment finance sector, showed their overall new business volume for September was $8.7 billion, down 13 percent year-over-year from new business volume in September 2019. Volume was up 24 percent month-to-month from $7 billion in August. Year-to-date, cumulative new business volume was down 5 percent compared to 2019.
Receivables over 30 days were 2.00 percent, down from 2.40 percent the previous month and up from 1.70 percent the same period in 2019. Charge-offs were 0.82 percent, up from 0.75 percent the previous month and up from 0.40 percent in the year-earlier period.
Credit approvals totaled 72.9 percent, up from 71.0 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 55.0, easing from the September index of 56.5.
ELFA President and CEO Ralph Petta said, “Despite the drop in September year-over-year new business, a look at the data beginning with the advent of the pandemic in February shows that the industry, in general, is holding its own. In fact, anecdotal evidence from some ELFA member companies indicates they are enjoying a very strong year. Tempering this positive data point, however, is a spike in losses—not surprising, given that the losses, in all likelihood, reflect customers in distressed industry sectors significantly impacted by the economic downturn resulting from the COVID pandemic.”
“The pandemic continues to have a negative impact on the overall economy, and this data demonstrates that our industry is not immune. However, the 24 percent growth in month-to-month volume in the September 2020 MLFI-25 is promising,” said Anthony Sasso, Head of TD Equipment Finance. “Within any disruption, there is opportunity. Here at TDEF, we have seen our customers find innovative ways to continue to grow, and we ourselves have been able to increase our portfolio. The low interest rate environment, combined with rising spot rates within trucking, presents a good opportunity for those companies who are in a position to expand.”
About ELFA’s MLFI-25
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 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/Data/MLFI/.
ELFA produces the MLFI-25 survey to help member organizations achieve competitive advantage by providing them with leading-edge research and benchmarking information to support strategic business decision making.
The MLFI-25 is a barometer of the trends in U.S. capital equipment investment. Five components are included in the survey: new business volume (originations), aging of receivables, charge-offs, credit approval ratios, (approved vs. submitted) and headcount for the equipment finance business.
The MLFI-25 measures monthly commercial equipment lease and loan activity as reported by participating ELFA member equipment finance companies representing a cross section of the equipment finance sector, including small ticket, middle-market, large ticket, bank, captive and independent leasing and finance companies. Based on hard survey data, the responses mirror the economic activity of the broader equipment finance sector and current business conditions nationally.
The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA) is the trade association that represents companies in the nearly $1 trillion equipment finance sector, which includes financial services companies and manufacturers engaged in financing capital goods. ELFA members are the driving force behind the growth in the commercial equipment finance market and contribute to capital formation in the U.S. and abroad. Its 575 members include independent and captive leasing and finance companies, banks, financial services corporations, broker/packagers and investment banks, as well as manufacturers and service providers. For more information, please visit www.elfaonline.org.