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April Monthly Leasing & Finance Index Says New Business Volume Up


May 23, 2019 —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 April was $8.8 billion — up 11% year-over-year from new business volume in April 2018. Volume was up 7% month-to-month from $8.2 billion in March. Year to date, cumulative new business volume was down 5% compared to 2018.

Receivables over 30 days were 1.50%, down from 1.90% the previous month and down from 2.40% the same period in 2018. Charge-offs were 0.32%, down from 0.37% the previous month, and up slightly from 0.30% in the year-earlier period.

Credit approvals totaled 76.8%, up from 75.3% from March. Total headcount for equipment finance companies was up 0.3% year-over-year.

Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) in May is 59.2, up from the April index of 58.3.

ELFA President and CEO Ralph Petta said, “Second quarter new business volume starts off strongly. Continued low interest rates, a strong labor market, and solid economic fundamentals all contribute to healthy demand by U.S. businesses — both large and small — for financed assets to run their business operations. Historically, elevated credit quality also remains a signature feature of financing transactions conducted by ELFA members.”

Jennifer A. Coyle, executive director, Macquarie Group Ltd., said, “The MLFI shows a strong improvement over last year and a large jump from March, but this followed lackluster growth in Q1 otherwise. Confidence rose slightly, and the economy felt more stable. However, going into May with the looming trade war and rippling effects into various sectors in the economy, we expect that companies will defer asset acquisitions until stability returns. Overall economic conditions and low interest rates should provide some cushion.”

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 each month on the day before the U.S. Department of Commerce releases the durable goods report. 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/.

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