New business volume for equipment finance companies rose 4% in March as companies increased capital spending amid the recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

The Equipment Leasing and Finance Association said the 25 companies it surveys for its Monthly Leasing and Finance Index signed up for $9.3 billion in new loans, leases, and lines of credit last month, up from $8.9 billion a year earlier. Borrowings rose $26% from February.

“The equipment finance industry appears poised to take advantage of an economic tailwind that is manifesting itself in an improving labor market, a continued low interest-rate environment, a strong corporate earnings season, and high business confidence that is creating demand for investment in commercial equipment,” said ELFA Chief Executive Officer Ralph Petta.

“ELFA member organizations also report improving portfolio quality, which is reflective of their customers’ ability to meet their payment obligations as the pandemic’s grip on many businesses loosens,” he added.

The association also said the percentage of borrowers that had their credit approved totaled 77% in March, up from 75.8% in February, and that its monthly confidence index rose to an all-time high of 76.1 from 67.7.

A reading of above 50 indicates a positive business outlook.

“We are starting to see pent-up demand for goods and services leading to expanded capital budgets for equipment to produce it and transportation to deliver it,” said Aylin Cankardes, president of Rockwell Financial Group. “With favorable interest rates, businesses are increasing spending again to stay responsive in a rapidly evolving environment.”

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