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The US equipment finance sector has reported a sharp drop in new business volume in February, which was 24% lower year-over-year at $5.9 billion and 18% down month-to-month.

The figures are contained in the latest monthly leasing and finance index (MLFI-25) from the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA), and also show that year to date, cumulative new business volume was down 10% compared to 2018.

Receivables over 30 days were 1.8%, up from 1.7% the previous month and up from 1.6% the same period in 2018. Charge-offs were 0.35%, unchanged from the previous month, and up from 0.28% in the year-earlier period.

Ralph Petta, ELFA president and CEO, said, “Monthly new business volume declined for the first time in almost two years. Total cumulative year-to-date volume is in red numbers as well.

“Fundamentals in the US economy appear to be holding up, although February jobs data were far below what most observers expected. With the Fed holding interest rates unchanged, these and other economic data bear monitoring in the coming months to better understand the dip in equipment financing volume for February.”

Melinda Haynes, president of lease operations with Onset Financial, said: “We remain optimistic about 2019 being a growth year for the equipment leasing industry despite the decline in business volume for the first two months of the year.

“The need for capital and good partners exists in any economy and Onset has benefitted from a strong multi-media presence, diverse funding relationships and advances in our internal systems.”