Washington, DC, Jan. 24, 2019 — The Equipment Leasing and Finance Assn.’s (ELFA) Monthly Leasing & Finance Index (MLFI-25), showed overall new business volume for December was $12.7 billion, down 1% year-over-year from new business volume in December 2017. Volume was up 59% month-to-month from $8 billion in November in a typical end-of-year spike. Cumulative new business volume for 2018 was up 4% from 2017.

The MLFI-25 Index reports economic activity from 25 companies representing a cross section of the $1 trillion equipment finance sector. Among the reporting companies are Caterpillar Financial Services, John Deere Financial and Wells Fargo Equipment Finance.

Receivables over 30 days were up 1.7%, from 1.6% the previous month and up from 1.5% the same period in 2017. Charge-offs were 0.55%, up from 0.37% the previous month, and up from 0.48% in the year-earlier period.

Credit approvals totaled 77.9% in December, up from 77.2% in November. Total headcount for equipment finance companies was up 0.1% year over year.

Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index (MCI-EFI) in January is 53.4, down from the December index of 55.5.

Jud Snyder, president of BMO Harris Equipment Finance Co. and ELFA chairman, said, “2018 was another strong year for the equipment finance industry, as reflected in the most recent MLFI-25 data. Customers across a wide variety of industries and revenue sizes invested in their businesses last year and the equipment finance industry supported that growth.

“Looking forward, the primary issues we hear about from our clients revolve around global trade uncertainty and a lack of skilled labor availability. Despite those concerns, we see continued business optimism and investment in automation and capital equipment expansion throughout the early stages of 2019,” says Snyder.