U.S. companies borrowed 8% less to finance equipment investments in October compared to a year ago, according to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association (ELFA). Some businesses felt the impact of high interest rates, which ELFA reports on as part of its coverage of the nearly $1-trillion equipment finance sector and its survey of banks such as Bank of America and financing affiliates of equipment makers.
Despite sound metrics in the U.S. economy, participants reported slight increases in both losses and delinquencies, said ELFA CEO Ralph Petta. This softness in credit quality is indicative of the challenges experienced by some businesses as they operate in a higher interest rate environment, constrained in some sectors by reports of a pull-back in bank lending.
The trends are consistent with the economic environment and market turmoil resulting from quantitative tightening, inflation, employment, and supply chain disruption, said Dennis Bolton, Head of North America Equipment Finance at Gordon Brothers. In October, U.S. companies signed up for $10.4 billion worth of new loans, leases and lines of credit, up from $9.7 billion a month ago, ELFA said. Credit approvals also improved month-on-month, touching 76% in October, up from 73.6% in September.
ELFA’s non-profit affiliate, the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation, said its confidence index in November stood at 42.8