Overall, confidence of key executives from the $827 billion equipment finance sector was 65.4 in May, relatively unchanged from 65.1 the previous month, peaking at the highest level in two years for the third consecutive month. This sentiment is gauged by the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation’s May 2014 Monthly Confidence Index for the Equipment Finance Industry.
When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI survey respondent, Valerie Hayes Jester, President, Brandywine Capital Associates, Inc., said, “We have experienced a transaction flow that appears to be returning to a more normal state after the winter slowdown. Companies seem to be getting back on track and ordering equipment that should have been delivered in the first quarter. I am still concerned with the longer term effects of the many changes in our healthcare system as well as still undetermined tax policies that have great impact on small businesses.”
May 2014 Survey Results:
When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 31.4% of executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, down from 37% in April. 68.6% of respondents believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, up from 60% in April. No one believes business conditions will worsen, down from 2.9% the previous month.
34.3% of survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (capex) will increase over the next four months, down from 37% in April. 65.7% believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, up from 60% the previous month. No one believes demand will decline, down from 2.9% who believed so in April.
28.6% of executives expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, unchanged from April. 71.4% of survey respondents indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, and no one expects “less” access to capital, also both unchanged from the previous month.
When asked, 40% of the executives reported they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, an increase from 37% in April. 51.4% expect no change in headcount over the next four months, down from 60% last month. 8.6% expect fewer employees, up from 2.9% who expected fewer employees in April.
2.9% of the leadership evaluates the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” 91.4% of the leadership evaluates the current U.S. economy as “fair,” and 5.7% rate it as “poor,” all unchanged from April.
37% of the survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, an increase from 34.3% who believed so in April. 62.9% of survey respondents indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, unchanged from April. No one believes economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, a decrease from 2.9% who believed so last month.
In May, 45.7% of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, an increase from 40% in April. 54.3% believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, a decrease from 60% last month. No one believes there will be a decrease in spending, unchanged from last month.
Comments from Executive Leadership
Bank, Small Ticket
“I am optimistic because of our steady growth and concerned over the economic fallout from the ongoing Ukraine crisis.” --Kenneth Collins, Chief Executive Officer, Susquehanna Commercial Finance, Inc.
Independent, Middle Ticket
“We see the economy continuing to improve, but at a very slow pace. We at HCA are adding some people to our workforce in the truck transportation, medical and technology financing space.”-- William Besgen, President and Chief Operating Officer, Hitachi Capital America Corp.
Bank, Middle Ticket
“After a solid first quarter it appears the equipment finance market has cooled considerably entering the second quarter. Similar to the past several years, the market has a habit of creating peaks and valleys of demand activity. Hopefully the economic forecast for 2014 will play out as predicted. If so, the second half of the year should present substantial growth opportunities.-- Thomas Jaschik, President, BB&T Equipment Finance