The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index (MLFI-25) showed that the overall new business volume for March was $7 billion, up 3% from a year ago. Month-over-month, new business volume was up 30% from February. Year to date, cumulative new business volume increased 6% compared to 2013.

The MLFI-25 index reports economic activity from 25 companies representing a cross section of the $827-billion equipment finance sector,
 Receivables over 30 days increased to 2.1% from 1.8% the previous month, and were up slightly from 2.0% during the same period in 2013.

Charge-offs were down at a new all-time low of 0.2% from 0.4% the previous month.
Credit approvals totaled 77.8% in March, an increase from 75.3% the previous month. Sixty-five percent of participating organizations reported submitting more transactions for approval during March, an increase from 53% during February. 

Finally, the total headcount for equipment finance companies was up 4.4% year over year.
 Separately, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s Monthly Confidence Index for April is 65.1, remaining at the highest index level in two years for the second consecutive month.  

“Equipment finance companies in almost all industry sectors are reporting a strong first quarter of the year. The March data showing new business volume clearly provides evidence of a strong first quarter looking back and a positive forecast for future activity,” said ELFA President and CEO William G. Sutton.

“The Federal Reserve recently hinted at continuing a monetary policy that will promote a sustained low interest rate environment at least for the foreseeable future, which is giving the business community a reason to feel confident about the overall trajectory of the U.S. economy and make capital investments in their businesses. Another positive sign for the industry is the trend toward increased hiring during the past 10 months,” he said.