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Leasing and Finance Index flat in March

Jason Cannon April 24, 2013

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 March was $6.8 billion, flat compared to volume in March 2012.

Month-over-month, ELFA says new business volume was up 45 percent from February. Year to date, cumulative new business volume was up three percent compared to 2012.

Receivables over 30 days were unchanged in March from the previous month at 2.0 percent.  ELFA says they were down from 2.8 percent in the same period in 2012. Charge-offs were down slightly, returning to the all-time low of 0.3 percent from 0.4 percent in February.

Credit approvals totaled 78.4 percent in March, up 1 percent from February.  Fifty percent of participating organizations reported submitting more transactions for approval during March, down from 53 percent the previous month, the association says.

Finally, total headcount for equipment finance companies was relatively unchanged from the previous month, and decreased 2 percent year over year.

“After a sluggish February, March business activity returned to a degree of normalcy that hopefully is sustainable into the second half of the year,” says William Sutton, ELFA president and CEO. “The continued low interest rate environment promoted by the Fed together with relatively benign fundamentals in the broader economy bode well for businesses planning to expand and grow in the coming months and invest in capital equipment.”

Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) for April is 54.0, a decrease from the March index of 58.0, reflecting industry participants’ continuing concerns over the economy and the impact of federal policies on capital expenditures, ELFA says.

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