A report jointly published by The Alta Group and US trade association the Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation (ELFA) has found that over a fifth of all US leases last year were funded by non-bank backed, non-captive independent lessors.
The report said: "The overall size of the US equipment leasing market is $270bn (240.45bn) in annual originations in 2015, according to estimates by The Alta Group.
"Of that total, 21% or $46bn was financed through non-bank owned, non-Captive Independents."
The 38-page report, titled ‘Lender finance: how does the capital stack?’ covers the growth of the US’ SME market and the provisions for asset lending that have sprung up to cater for it since the financial crash in 2008.
The report said: "Independent leasing companies have been able to grow and thrive in no small part because of their nimble, yet disciplined, approach to origination and portfolio management. The strong performance of equipment lease assets during and post crisis has landed them among the most highly sought after asset classes.
"The assets are relatively low risk and offer higher margins than many bank loan products. This strong combination will keep liquidity flowing into the market."
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The Alta Group researchers were managing director Valerie L. Gerard, director George L. Lehnertz, and director Patricia M. Voorhees.
"Lender finance has been the lifeblood of independent lessors for decades," Gerard said.
"When traditional bank lenders pulled back in the aftermath of the financial crisis, they created an opportunity for other capital providers to support the equipment leasing industry. What that means for independent lessors is that more lenders are attracted to the industry than ever before."