WASHINGTON (September 19, 2017) — The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation (the Foundation) released the September 2017 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 is 63.7 in September, easing from the August index of 64.4.
When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI-EFI survey respondent David Normandin, CLFP, Managing Director, Commercial Finance Group, Hanmi Bank, said, “The United States economy is showing signs of optimism in the small business sector. Combined with recent natural disasters, I believe that this creates an environment in which business will invest in opportunities for recovery. These opportunities will require equipment.”
September 2017 Survey Results:
The overall MCI-EFI is 63.7, easing from 64.4 in August.
When asked to assess their business conditions over the next 4 months, 29 percent of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next 4 months, a decrease from 38.2 percent in August. 67.7 percent of respondents believe business conditions will remain the same over the next 4 months, an increase from 61.8 percent in August. 3.2 percent believe business conditions will worsen, an increase from none who believed so the previous month.
38.7 percent of survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (capex) will increase over the next 4 months, a slight increase from 38.2 percent in August. 61.3 percent believe demand will “remain the same” during the same 4-month time period, up from 58.8 percent the previous month. None believe demand will decline, a decrease from 2.9 percent who believed so in August.
9.7 percent of the respondents expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next 4 months, down from 17.7 percent in August. 90.3 percent of executives indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, up from 82.4 percent last month. None expect “less” access to capital, unchanged from last month.
When asked, 38.7 percent of the executives report they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, a decrease from 41.2 percent in August. 58.1 percent expect no change in headcount over the next 4 months, an increase from 55.9 percent last month. 3.2 percent expect to hire fewer employees, an increase from 2.9 percent in August.
6.5 percent of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” up from none last month. 93.6 percent of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “fair,” a decrease from 100 percent in August. None evaluate it as “poor,” unchanged from last month.
22.6 percent of the survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next 6 months, a decrease from 23.5 percent in August. 71 percent of survey respondents indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next 6 months, a decrease from 76.5 percent the previous month. 6.5 percent believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next 6 months, an increase from none who believed so in August.
In September, 45.2 percent of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next 6 months, an increase from 38.2 percent in August. 54.8 percent believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, a decrease from 58.8 percent the previous month. None believe there will be a decrease in spending, down from 2.9 percent last month.
September 2017 MCI-EFI Survey Comments from Industry Executive Leadership:
- Independent, Small Ticket: “We have been optimistic that the fourth quarter will experience an increase in activity. I think the impact of the two hurricanes may be significant on near-term economic cycles. Additionally, the current lack of direction on tax and healthcare reform are not helping the small to midsize business feel comfortable to expand.” Valerie Hayes Jester, President, Brandywine Capital Associates
- Bank, Middle Ticket: “Preliminary economic data indicates 3-percent growth in GDP for the second quarter. This is obviously a positive indicator for the equipment finance industry. However, U.S. businesses still remain cautious and continue to hold back on significant investments in their business pending a more affirmative outlook for the future. As such, I believe the industry will continue to experience moderate growth in the near term.” Thomas Jaschik, President, BB&T Equipment Finance
- Bank, Large Ticket: “Year to date we think clients have held back pending changes to tax policy. As tax policy appears less likely to happen this year, we do expect a pickup in activity in Q4. However, lack of consistent public policy is our biggest concern.” Thomas Partridge, President, Fifth Third Equipment Finance
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