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Equipment Finance Industry Confidence Lower in May

Posted 05/19/2022

Washington, DC, May 19, 2022 The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation (the Foundation) releases the May 2022 Monthly Confidence Index for the Equipment Finance Industry (MCI-EFI) today. The index reports a qualitative assessment of both the prevailing business conditions and expectations for the future as reported by key executives from the $900 billion equipment finance sector. Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market is 49.6, a decrease from the April index of 56.1.

When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI-EFI survey respondent David Normandin, CLFP, President and CEO, Wintrust Specialty Finance, said, “Adapting to change is what the equipment leasing industry is all about. Our current rising rate environment will be good for the overall financial health of equipment finance companies as obligors adapt to the new world rate order and margin is built back into the business. I do think this will create challenges for many who may not have a long-term stable capital structure.”

May 2022 Survey Results:
The overall MCI-EFI is 49.6, a decrease from the April index of 56.1.

  • When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 6.9% of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, a decrease from 14.8% in April. 62.1% believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, down from 63% the previous month. 31% believe business conditions will worsen, an increase from 22.2% in April.
  • 10.3% of the survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (capex) will increase over the next four months, down from 29.6% in April. 65.5% believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, an increase from 55.6% the previous month. 24.1% believe demand will decline, up from 14.8% in April.
  • 13.8% of the respondents expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, down from 22.2% in April. 86.2% of executives indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, an increase from 77.8% last month. None expect “less” access to capital, unchanged from the previous month.
  • When asked, 48.3% of the executives report they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, up from 40.7% in April. 44.8% expect no change in headcount over the next four months, a decrease from 59.3% last month. 6.9% expect to hire fewer employees, up from none in April.
  • 3.5% of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” a decrease from 14.8% the previous month. 79.3% of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “fair,” up from 74.1% in April. 17.2% evaluate it as “poor,” an increase from 11.1% last month.
  • 3.5% of the survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, a decrease from 7.4% in April. 27.6% indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, a decrease from 51.9% last month. 69% believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, an increase from 40.7% the previous month.
  • In May 34.5% of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, up from 29.6% the previous month. 65.5% believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, down from 66.7% in April. None believe there will be a decrease in spending, down from 3.7% last month.

May 2021 MCI-EFI Survey Comments from Industry Executive Leadership:

Independent, Small Ticket
“Inflation, inflation, inflation!” James D. Jenks, CEO, Global Finance and Leasing Services, LLC

Bank, Middle Ticket
“Supply chain issues continue to have an impact on lease commencements with dates getting pushed with delivery delays. We are seeing an increase in renewals and over term rentals.” Michael Romanowski, President, Farm Credit Leasing

ABOUT THE MCI

Why an MCI-EFI?
Confidence in the U.S. economy and the capital markets is a critical driver to the equipment finance industry. Throughout history, when confidence increases, consumers and businesses are more apt to acquire more consumer goods, equipment, and durables, and invest at prevailing prices. When confidence decreases, spending and risk-taking tend to fall. Investors are said to be confident when the news about the future is good and stock prices are rising.

Who participates in the MCI-EFI?
The respondents are comprised of a wide cross-section of industry executives, including large-ticket, middle-market and small-ticket banks, independents, and captive equipment finance companies. The MCI-EFI uses the same pool of 50 organization leaders to respond monthly to ensure the survey’s integrity. Since the same organizations provide the data from month to month, the results constitute a consistent barometer of the industry's confidence.

How is the MCI-EFI designed?
The survey consists of seven questions and an area for comments, asking the respondents’ opinions about the following:

  1. Current business conditions
  2. Expected product demand over the next four months
  3. Access to capital over the next four months
  4. Future employment conditions
  5. Evaluation of the current U.S. economy
  6. U.S. economic conditions over the next six months
  7. Business development spending expectations
  8. Open-ended question for comment

How may I access the MCI-EFI?
Survey results are posted on the Foundation website, https://www.leasefoundation.org/industry-resources/monthly-confidence-index/, included in the Foundation Forecast eNewsletter, and included in press releases. Survey respondent demographics and additional information about the MCI are also available at the link above.

JOIN THE CONVERSATION
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ABOUT THE FOUNDATION
The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization that propels the equipment finance sector—and its people—forward through industry-specific knowledge, intelligence, and programs that contribute to industry innovation, individual careers, and the overall betterment of the equipment leasing and finance industry. The Foundation is funded through charitable individual and corporate donations. Learn more at www.leasefoundation.org.

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Media Contact: Charlie Visconage, cvisconage@leasefoundation.org

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