New Equipment Leasing and Finance Sector Business Volume Down in February, Following 2016 Pattern

New business volume in the equipment leasing and finance sector was down 5% to $5.9 billion in February from the prior month.

Business volume fell 3% year-over-year, according to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index, which reports economic activity from 25 companies representing a cross section of the sector. Cumulative new business volume in February was up 0.5%, year to date.

“New business volume during the first couple of months of 2017 continues the sluggish growth pattern that began 2016,” Ralph Petta, ELFA president and CEO, said in a statement. “This slow start belies the business-friendly environment that many business and economic commentators point to in characterizing the new administration in Washington. Credit quality is mixed as well.”

Those surveyed in the index reported receivables over 30 days were 1.50% in February, down from 1.7% the prior month and up 1.40% from a year prior, the ELFA said. Charge-offs were 0.38% in February, down from 0.43% the prior month and up from 0.37%, year-over-year. Total credit approvals were at 74.8% in February, down from 75.4% in January.

Meanwhile, the Equipment Leasing and Finance Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) for March is 71.1, down from 72.2 in February, but still among the highest readings in the past two years.

“There are indicators of a coming manufacturing renaissance and a plan to reduce federal taxes and regulation,” said Miles Herman, president and COO of LEAF Commercial Capital Inc. “But will all this translate into legislation to justify the postelection optimism? If promised legislative changes come to pass, it’s likely we’ll see that optimism become action.”

– Nicholas Stern, senior editor

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