Equipment Leasing and Finance Association

ELFA Survey: Equipment Finance Activity Grew 16.4% in 2012

New business volume grew 16.4% in the equipment finance industry in 2012, according to the 2013 Survey of Equipment Finance Activity (SEFA) released by the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA). The growth in volume was on par with the 16.5% increase reported for 2011, and well above the 3.9% increase reported for 2010 and the 30.3% decline in 2009. The SEFA, which is based on responses from 112 ELFA member companies, covers key statistical, financial and operations information for the $725 billion equipment finance industry.

ELFA also released a new companion report to the 2013 SEFA called the 2013 Small-Ticket Survey of Equipment Finance Activity. The new report, which focuses on small-ticket and micro-ticket equipment transactions among the SEFA respondents, found that new business volume in the small-ticket space grew by a moderate 3.8% in 2012.

“We are pleased to present the 2013 SEFA and the new 2013 Small-Ticket SEFA as the authoritative sources for industry information, and to serve as comprehensive performance metrics for equipment leasing and finance companies,” said William G. Sutton, CAE, ELFA President and CEO. “These studies show that the equipment finance industry is growing steadily, reflecting an improving U.S. economy.”

Survey Highlights

Key findings for 2012 as reported in the 2013 SEFA include:

  • Overall new business volume grew 16.4%. By market segment: All market segments showed growth in volume, except for the smallest segment. New business volume fell 4.7% for the micro-ticket segment but grew 13.1% for the small-ticket segment, 15.8% for the middle-ticket segment and 31.1% for the large-ticket segment. By organization type: Banks saw the strongest increase in new business volume (22.2%), while captives saw their volume grow by 10.8%  and independent equipment finance organizations saw a 7.4% increase. 
  • From an asset perspective, the equipment types that saw the largest year-over-year increases in new business volume included transportation (34.4%); mining, oil and gas extraction (31.4%); and industrial/manufacturing (22.3%).
  • Delinquencies remained steady between 2011 and 2012. Full-year losses or charge-offs also fell well below 1.0% overall.
  • Employment levels remained stable, though headcount by function reflected a decline in collections and services, juxtaposed with an increase in sales and marketing, credit approvals and booking.
  • Given the current financial markets, cost of funds continued to decline. Competitive pressure drove pre-tax spreads lower in 2012 to just above 3%, on par with the lowest levels in five years.
  • Credit approvals increased, and the percentage of approved applications that were booked and funded remained steady.
  • Net income remained steady between 2011 and 2012 in dollar terms. Return on average equity also remained healthy at 14.45%.

About the 2013 SEFA

The SEFA is a compendium of industry data, comprising a representative cross-section of equipment lease and loan origination by product, structure and origination. It provides a baseline and benchmark for companies operating in the equipment finance space through a voluntary survey of ELFA member companies.

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP administered the 2013 SEFA. The results were compiled from surveys sent to 325 eligible ELFA member companies in the first quarter of 2013. A total of 112 companies submitted 2012 U.S. domestic lease and loan data. The respondents include nine ELFA members in the 2012 Monitor Top 10 list of the largest U.S. equipment finance organizations and 36 ELFA members in the 2012 Monitor Top 50. 

The data are presented by organization type (bank, captive, independent); market segment (micro-ticket, small-ticket, middle-ticket, large-ticket); organization size (under $50 million, $50-$250 million, $250 million-$1 billion, over $1 billion); and origination business model (direct, captive, vendor, third-party, mixed). For most categories, data is reported for the past two fiscal years, 2012 and 2011.

Equipment types financed, as explored in the survey, include agriculture, aircraft, construction, computers, office machines, telecommunications, rolling stock, printing, medical, industrial, trucks and trailers and other equipment types. Types of financing offered by the equipment finance companies include tax-oriented finance leasing, short-term operating leases, leveraged leases, conditional sales agreements, off-balance sheet loans and tax-exempt leasing.

About the 2013 Small-Ticket SEFA

The Small-Ticket SEFA is a new companion report to the SEFA that focuses on respondents’ small-ticket portfolios, including both micro-ticket (up to $25,000) and small-ticket ($25,000 to $250,000) transactions. Respondents were asked a separate set of questions pertaining only to their small-ticket operations, and the data is compiled in the companion report.

How to Access the SEFA

Participation in the SEFA is a benefit of membership in ELFA. Member-respondents receive a complimentary copy of the Survey Report, as well as confidential Individual Company Data Sheets, which show the individual company’s statistics ranked against a peer group. Non-respondents may purchase the 2013 SEFA and the 2013 Small-Ticket SEFA from www.elfaonline.org/SEFA.

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