The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation has released the February 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 61.8, easing from the January index of 63.9.
When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI-EFI survey respondent James D. Jenks, CEO, Global Finance and Leasing Services LLC, says, “The equipment finance industry is solid right now. With inflation we will experience increases in the cost of money. With the increase in the cost of money, we will experience a slowdown in the economy and delinquencies will increase.”
February 2022 Survey Results:
The overall MCI-EFI is 61.8, easing from the January index of 63.9.
• When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 24.1 percent of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, a decrease from 25.9 percent in January. 69 percent believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, down from 70.4 percent the previous month. 6.9 percent believe business conditions will worsen, an increase from 3.7 percent in January.
• 24.1 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 25.9 percent in January. 72.4 percent believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, an increase from 70.4 percent the previous month. 3.5 percent believe demand will decline, unchanged from January.
• 17.2 percent of the respondents expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, down from 21.4 percent in January. 82.8 percent of executives indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, an increase from 78.6 percent last month. None expect “less” access to capital, unchanged from the previous month.
• When asked, 44.8 percent of the executives report they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, up from 39.3 percent in January. 55.2 percent expect no change in headcount over the next four months, a decrease from 60.7 percent last month. None expect to hire fewer employees, unchanged from January.
• 10.3 percent of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” a decrease from 14.8 percent the previous month. 86.2 percent of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “fair,” up from 81.5 percent in January. 3.5 percent evaluate it as “poor,” unchanged from last month.
• 24.1 percent of the survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, a decrease from 29.6 percent in January. 58.6 percent indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, a decrease from 63 percent last month. 17.2 percent believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, an increase from 7.4 percent the previous month.
• In February 44.8 percent of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, down from 50 percent the previous month. 51.7 percent believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, up from 50 percent in January. 3.5 percent believe there will be a decrease in spending, up from none last month.
February 2021 MCI-EFI Survey Comments from Industry Executive Leadership:
Bank, Small Ticket
“I see volatility in the market that will provide opportunities for companies nimble enough to embrace them and quick enough to take advantage.” David Normandin, CLFP, president and CEO, Wintrust Specialty Finance
Bank, Middle Ticket
“We’re in an interesting period as we wait to see what the Fed will do. We all know rates will go up, but by how much? Customers are looking at their options, and the savvy ones are looking to lock in today’s low rates for longer term leases.” 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, 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.