Equipment Lease Finance Industry Confidence Lower in June

Confidence in the $628 billion equipment finance market is 48.5, down from the May index of 59.2, reflecting growing concern over the European debt crisis, U.S. unemployment, and regulatory and political uncertainty, according to The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s June 2012 Monthly Confidence Index.

When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI survey respondent Harry Kaplun, President, Frost Equipment Leasing and Finance, offered comments shared by others responding to the MCI survey: “Uncertainty is becoming more pronounced in the economy. International economic problems, U.S. unemployment, and potential political changes all contribute to a hesitancy to make major capital expenditures.”

June 2012 Survey Results

When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 8.1% of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, down from 17.1% in May. 64.9% of respondents believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, down from 77.1% in May. 27% believe business conditions will worsen, up from 5.7% the previous month.

8.1% of survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (capex) will increase over the next four months, a decrease from 20% in May. 64.9% believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, down from 77.1% the previous month. 27% believe demand will decline, up from 2.9% in May.

10.8% of executives expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, down from 25.7% in May. 86.5% of survey respondents indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, an increase from 74.3% the previous month. 2.7% survey respondents expect “less” access to capital, up from no one who expected less access in May.

When asked, 24.3% of the executives reported they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, down from 31.4% in May. 64.9% expect no change in headcount over the next four months, an increase from 62.9% last month, while 10.8% expect fewer employees, up from 5.7% in May.

78.4% of the leadership evaluates the current U.S. economy as “fair,” down from 88.6% last month. 21.6% rate it as “poor,” up from 11.4% in May.

8.1% of survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, down from 22.9% in May. 64.9% of survey respondents indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, down from 65.7% in May. 27% believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, an increase from 11.4% who believed so last month.

In May, 29.7% of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, down from 37.1% in May. 70.3% believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, up from 62.9% last month, and no one believes there will be a decrease in spending, unchanged from last month.

Survey Comments

Depending on the market segment they represent, executives have differing points of view on the current and future outlook for the industry.

Independent, Micro Ticket

“The Equipment Leasing & Finance industry is doing well. However, the macroeconomic climate is unsettled which is muting our industry's growth.” Paul Menzel, President and CEO, Financial Pacific Leasing, LLC

Independent, Small Ticket

“[We’re] concerned about what impact Europe's problems and their banks may have on the U.S. economy.” William H. Besgen, President and COO, Hitachi Capital America Corp.

Bank, Middle Ticket

“The future of the industry is good even with the changes on the horizon. The next few months will be challenging due to the political and global economic conditions.” Elaine Temple, President, Bancorpsouth Equipment Finance

Independent, Large Ticket

“[It is] still to be determined. JP Morgan did us no favors. Europe [is] still choked with debt [which] will have a major impact on the U.S. The fast approaching budget/year end crisis for the U.S. will be last year all over again. Regardless of who is in the White House, the problem will not be dealt with.” Anonymous

Related Editorial:

Enjoy the Next 20 Years—But Prepare for What Comes Later.

Lease Finance Industry Confidence Dips in May

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