The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation (the Foundation) releases the June 2023 Monthly Confidence Index for the Equipment Finance Industry (MCI-EFI) today. 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 is 44.1, an increase from the May index of 40.6.
When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI-EFI survey respondent Jonathan Albin, chief operating officer, Nexseer Capital, said, “We believe that as banks’ senior credit facility lending tightens, there will be more opportunity for equipment lessors to supply supplemental capital. We are seeing evidence of this today.”
June 2023 Survey Results:
The overall MCI-EFI is 44.1, an increase from the May index of 40.6.
- When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 3.3% of the executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, an increase from none in May. 73.3% believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, up from 51.9% the previous month. 23.3% believe business conditions will worsen, a decrease from 48.2% in May.
- 6.7% of the survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (capex) will increase over the next four months, an increase from 3.6% in May. 66.7% believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, an increase from 53.6% the previous month. 26.7% believe demand will decline, down from 42.9% in May.
- 6.7% of the respondents expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, down from 10.7% in May. 76.7% of executives indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, an increase from 75% last month. 16.7% expect “less” access to capital, up from 14.3% the previous month.
- When asked, 13.3% of the executives report they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, a decrease from 17.9% in May. 76.7% expect no change in headcount over the next four months, an increase from 67.9% last month. 10% expect to hire fewer employees, down from 14.3% in May.
- None of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” unchanged from the previous month. 83.3% of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “fair,” down from 85.7% in May. 16.7% evaluate it as “poor,” an increase from 14.3% last month.
- 6.7% of the survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, an increase from 3.6% in May. 40% indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, an increase from 32.1% last month. 53.3% believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, a decrease from 64.3% the previous month.
- In June 30% of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, down from 35.7% the previous month. 56.7% believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, up from 53.6% in May. 13.3% believe there will be a decrease in spending, up from 10.7% last month.
June 2023 MCI-EFI Survey Comments from Industry Executive Leadership:
Bank, Small Ticket
“The equipment leasing and finance industry is resilient and will weather the liquidity shortage that we are currently in, as well as the looming recession. There are and will continue to be opportunities that exist in this environment, and nimble organizations that are capitalized will be well positioned to grow during this period of uncertainty.” David Normandin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wintrust Specialty Finance
Bank, Middle Ticket
“Businesses need equipment to operate. While business expansion may be limited, the need to replace equipment will remain. Our credit criteria has not changed.” Charles Jones, Senior Vice President, 1stEquipment Finance (FNCB Bank)
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