WASHINGTON (April 19, 2018) –  The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation (the Foundation) recently released the April 2018 Monthly Confidence Index for the Equipment Finance Industry (MCI-EFI). Designed to collect leadership data, the index reports a qualitative assessment of both the prevailing business conditions and expectations for the future as reported by key executives from the $1 trillion equipment finance sector. Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market eased again in April to 68.3, down from the March index of 72.2.

When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI-EFI survey respondent David T. Schaefer, chief executive officer (CEO) of Mintaka Financial LLC, said, “Business conditions are very positive and we expect this to continue. We are watching the escalating trade tensions to better understand the ramifications. Overall we are bullish on 2018.”

April 2018 Survey Results

The overall MCI-EFI is 68.3 in April, a decrease from 72.2 in March.

  • When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 33.3 percent of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, a decrease from 54.8 percent in March. 63.3 percent of respondents believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, an increase from 45.2 percent the previous month. 3.3 percent believe business conditions will worsen, an increase from none who believed so the previous month.
  • 46.7 percent of survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (capex) will increase over the next four months, a decrease from 67.7 percent in March. 50 percent believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, an increase from 32.3 percent the previous month. 3.3 percent believe demand will decline, an increase from none in March.
  • 26.7 percent of the respondents expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, up from 22.6 percent in March. 73.0 percent of executives indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, a decrease from 74.2 percent last month. None expect “less” access to capital, down from 3.2 percent last month.
  • When asked, 46.7 percent of the executives report they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, an increase from 41.9 percent in March. 50 percent expect no change in headcount over the next four months, a slight decrease from 51.6 percent last month. 3.3 percent expect to hire fewer employees, down from 6.5 percent in March.
  • 30 percent of the leadership evaluate the current United States economy as “excellent,” up slightly from 29 percent last month. 70 percent of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “fair,” down slightly from 71 percent in March. None evaluate it as “poor,” unchanged from last month.
  • 30 percent of the survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, a decrease from 45.2 percent in March. 63.3 percent of survey respondents indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, an increase from 51.6 percent the previous month. 6.7 percent believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, an increase from 3.2 percent in March.
  • In April, 53.3 percent of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, an increase from 51.6 percent in March. 43.3 percent believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, a decrease from 45.2 percent the previous month. 3.3 percent believe there will be a decrease in spending, relatively unchanged from 3.2 percent who believed so last month.

April 2018 MCI-EFI Survey Comments from Industry Executive Leadership

  • Independent, Small Ticket: “The recent increase in interest rates has had a positive impact on demand for our products, clearly indicating that transactions need to be finalized. Our concerns center more on the manic policies of this Administration as it relates to trade and how those decisions impact our economy. The stock market is reflective of the emotions businesses and investors are feeling.”  Valerie Hayes Jester, President, Brandywine Capital Associates
  • Bank, Small Ticket: “High confidence levels and rising interest rates are fundamentally good for our business. The market is slow to accept the reality of rising rates, thus we will continue to have short term yield compression.” David Normandin, CLFP, Managing Director, Commercial Finance Group, Hanmi Bank
  • Bank, Middle Ticket: “We are still working through the transition with customers to the new normal of tax reform.  We continue to see a lot of confusion in the marketplace." Michael Romanowski, President, Farm Credit Leasing Services Corporation

For more information, visit the Foundation.