New business volume in US equipment leasing
was $5.1bn (€3.8bn) in January, a 21% increase year-on-year and
down 53% from the previous month.

The figures come from the latest Monthly
Leasing and Finance Index from the Equipment Leasing and Finance
Association (ELFA) which said the monthly drop in volumes was down
to a typical end-of-year spike in business, reaching $10.8bn in

The EFLA data also showed a similar pattern in
credit approval which returned to a normal level of 77% after a
high of 79% in December. More than 71% of participating
organisations reported submitting more transactions for approval
during January, down from 77% in December.

William G Sutton, ELFA president and chief
executive, said: “January’s increase in new business volume
returned to a more typical growth pattern following a very busy
end-of-year for many leasing and finance companies.

“The continued strengthening in financing
volume and trend toward healthier portfolios provide clear evidence
that the equipment finance marketplace is in the midst of regaining
some of the momentum lost during the Great Recession.”

Meanwhile, the Monthly Confidence Index of
ELFA’s associate body the Equipment Leasing and Finance Foundation
(ELFF), increased in February to 59.6, from the January index of

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The index shows confidence in the US leasing
industry continues incremental recovery after a big drop in
mid-2011, with just under a quarter of executives believing
business conditions will improve over the next four months.

Looking ahead, 23.5% of respondents said they
believe business conditions will improve, a 5.1% increase from the
January index. 73.5% of respondents believe business conditions
will remain the same, a drop from 76.3% on the previous month,
and 2.9% think business conditions will worsen – a decrease
from 5.3% in January.

Survey respondent Russell Nelson, president of
Farm Credit leasing, said: “Continued signs of economic recovery
and modest expansion occurring across an increasing number of
industries are driving new and replacement capital expenditures,
supported by flat interest rate growth. 

“The current outlook would indicate strong
growth in loan and lease demand for equipment finance through