While monthly new business volume dropped by almost 50% from December 2012 to January 2013, volume is up from a year ago and continuing a trend in the positive direction.
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 $725 billion equipment finance sector, showed overall new business volume for January was $5.9 billion, up 16 percent from volume of $5.1 billion in the same period in 2012. Volume was down 49 percent from December, following the typical end-of-quarter, end-of-year spike in new business activity.
Receivables over 30 days increased to 1.8 percent in January after hitting their lowest level in the last two years in December at 1.6 percent. They were down from 1.9 percent in the same period in 2012. Charge-offs were at an all-time low of 0.3 percent, down from 0.6 percent the previous month.
Credit approvals totaled 78.3 percent in January, down 0.3 percent from December. Finally, total headcount for equipment finance companies was up 0.7 percent from the previous month, and increased 0.6 percent year over year.
Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation's Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) for February is 58.7, an increase from the January index of 54.2, reflecting industry participants’ increasing optimism despite a wary eye on economic conditions and government management of fiscal policies.
"The year begins where 2012 left off - on a positive note -as new business volume continues to trend in a positive direction," said ELFA President and CEO William G. Sutton, CAE. "A flurry of activity at the end of the year gave way to more moderate growth in January. MLFI-25 participants also indicate strong credit quality metrics as both losses and delinquencies improved over the year-earlier period. This good news belies an overhang of continued uncertainty that lingers in the marketplace, as policy makers in Washington continue to struggle with fiscal matters, which only serves as a damper to economic growth.”
"We remain optimistic for industry growth as enterprise and government entities increasingly utilize leasing and financing offers to help keep pace with technology change," said Irv Rothman, president & CEO, HP Financial Services, Berkeley Heights, N.J. "With rapidly evolving business and IT demands, we continue to see interest from customers for the flexibility leasing, financing and lifecycle asset management provides.”