The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation (the Foundation) has released the May 2022 Monthly Confidence Index for the Equipment Finance Industry (MCI-EFI). 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, says: “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 percent of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, a decrease from 14.8 percent in April. 62.1 percent believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, down from 63 percent the previous month. 31 percent believe business conditions will worsen, an increase from 22.2 percent in April.
- 10.3 percent 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 percent in April. 65.5 percent believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, an increase from 55.6 percent the previous month. 24.1 percent believe demand will decline, up from 14.8 percent in April.
- 13.8 percent of the respondents expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, down from 22.2 percent in April. 86.2 percent of executives indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, an increase from 77.8 percent last month. None expect “less” access to capital, unchanged from the previous month.
- When asked, 48.3 percent of the executives report they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, up from 40.7 percent in April. 44.8 percent expect no change in headcount over the next four months, a decrease from 59.3 percent last month. 6.9 percent expect to hire fewer employees, up from none in April.
- 3.5 percent of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” a decrease from 14.8 percent the previous month. 79.3 percent of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “fair,” up from 74.1 percent in April. 17.2 percent evaluate it as “poor,” an increase from 11.1 percent 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 percent in April. 27.6 percent indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, a decrease from 51.9 percent last month. 69 percent believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, an increase from 40.7 percent the previous month.
- In May 34.5 percent of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, up from 29.6 percent the previous month. 65.5 percent believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, down from 66.7 percent in April. None believe there will be a decrease in spending, down from 3.7 percent 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:
- Current business conditions
- Expected product demand over the next four months
- Access to capital over the next four months
- Future employment conditions
- Evaluation of the current U.S. economy
- U.S. economic conditions over the next six months
- Business development spending expectations
- 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.
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