Equipment leasing up in 2021 compared to 2020
December new business volume down 3% Year-over-year, up 49% month-to-month, and up almost 9% at year-end
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 $900 billion equipment finance sector, showed their overall new business volume for December was $11.8 billion, down 3% year-over-year from new business volume in December 2020. Volume was up 49% month-to-month from $7.9 billion in November in a typical end-of-year spike. Cumulative new business volume for 2021 was up almost 9% compared to 2020.
Receivables over 30 days were 2%, down from 2.2% the previous month and down from 2.2% in the same period in 2020. Charge-offs were 0.25%, up from 0.20% the previous month and down from 0.59 and in the year-earlier period.
Credit approvals totaled 78.6%, up from 77.2% in November. Total headcount for equipment finance companies was down 7.9% year-over-year, a decrease due to significant downsizing at an MLFI reporting company.
Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) in January is 63.9, unchanged from the December index.
ELFA President and CEO Ralph Petta said, “The association’s Q4 MLFI-25 equipment finance industry metrics show responding organizations reporting robust growth in new business activity as well as healthy portfolios, indicative of another solid year. Cumulative 2021 originations grew about 9% when compared to 2020, the first year impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses in many industry sectors grew and expanded during the past 12 months, reflecting a favorable low interest rate environment, healthy corporate earnings and strong balance sheets. The outlook for the industry, and indeed overall economy, is somewhat cloudy, with unabated inflation, the Fed poised to increase interest rates, equities markets in a recent tailspin, and the Omicron variant remaining a concerning health factor in the U.S.”
Kalyan Makam, Executive Vice President, Amur Equipment Finance, said, “Supply constraints, strong economic growth, and the early innings of the American Jobs Plan augur well for the equipment finance sector in 2022. That said, rising Omicron cases have prolonged the price inflation and supply chain troubles across the country. As well, the jump in medium term rates over the last few weeks may challenge margins for lenders.”