New business volumes in the American leasing industry rose by 3% to reach $6.2bn (£5.9bn) in January 2017, according to the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association’s (ELFA) Monthly Leasing and Finance Index (MLFI-25).

The list surveyed 25 companies from the equipment finance sector, and found a 49% decline in new business volumes between December 2016 and January of this year, dropping from $12.1bn.

Receivables over 30 days were 1.7%, an increase from the 1.3% recorded in January 2016, while charge-offs increased from 0.26% a year earlier to 0.43% in January 2017.

Credit approvals were down slightly from December 2016 to 75.4%, and employee numbers increased, with headcount up 18.3% year on year in January 2017, which ELFA attributes to acquisition activities at one of the companies surveyed.

Ralph Petta, ELFA president and chief executive officer, said the results conformed to forecasts for stronger growth in equipment finance over the year.

Petta said: “After the first year-over-year (2015-2016) decline in new business volume since the financial crisis, the increase in January 2017 originations gets the year off on the right foot.”

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Petta feared an erosion of credit quality, and cautioned that the effect of US government policy was as yet unknown.

He added: “Yet to be known, however, are the potential effects of more business-friendly policy pronouncements by the new Trump Administration on the amount and nature of capital investment in the United States.”