Equipment Finance Industry Confidence Improves in January

Washington, DC, January 18, 2023 – The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation (the Foundation) releases the January 2024 Monthly Confidence Index for the Equipment Finance Industry (MCI-EFI) today. The index reports a qualitative assessment of both the prevailing business conditions and expectations for the future as reported by key executives from the $1 trillion equipment finance sector. Overall, confidence in the equipment finance market is 48.6, an increase from the December index of 42.5.

When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI-EFI survey respondent David Normandin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wintrust Specialty Finance, said, “I expect that Wintrust will have a good year in the market as we have stable liquidity, attractive cost of funds, and an engaged and motivated team. I expect to continue to see challenges in the overall economy as well as specific segments, and we are diversified and nimble to move to the opportunity. The leasing industry has historically performed better than other asset classes through tougher times because of the nimble and creative nature of the industry. I expect that the industry will come through this next couple years stronger having learned from our experiences.”

 January 2024 Survey Results:
The overall MCI-EFI is 48.6, an increase from the December index of 42.5.

  • When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 20.7% of the executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, an increase from 3.7% in December. 62.1% believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, down from 66.7% the previous month. 17.2% believe business conditions will worsen, a decrease from 29.6% in
  • 13.8% of the survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (capex) will increase over the next four months, up from 3.7% in December. 65.5% believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, down from 74.1% the previous month. 20.7% believe demand will decline, a decrease from 22.2% in December.
  • 13.8% of the respondents expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, up from 3.7% in December. 75.9% of executives indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, up from 74.1% last month. 10.3% expect “less” access to capital, down from 22.2% the previous month.
  • When asked, 6.9% of the executives report they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, a decrease from 18.5% in December. 79.3% expect no change in headcount over the next four months, up from 63% last month. 13.8% expect to hire fewer employees, down from 18.5% in December.
  • None of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” unchanged from the previous month. 93.1% of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “fair,” up from 85.2% in December. 6.9% evaluate it as “poor,” down from 14.8% last month.
  • 13.8% of the survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, up from 3.7% in December. 65.5% indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, a decrease from 66.7% last month. 20.7% believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, a decrease from 29.6% the previous month.
  • In January, 17.2% of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, an increase from 14.8% the previous month. 65.5% believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, down from 66.7% in December. 17.2% believe there will be a decrease in spending, down from 18.5% last month.

January 2024 MCI-EFI Survey Comment from Industry Executive Leadership:

Captive, Small Ticket
“We still see demand for light and medium-duty trucks to satisfy ever-growing e-commerce business. We also see thousands of light and medium-duty trucks waiting for bodies to be upfitted. When the body companies catch up with chassis awaiting upfitting, we will see a lot of opportunities for equipment finance companies in this sector over the next three to six months.” Jim DeFrank, EVP and Chief Operating Officer, Isuzu Finance of America, Inc.


Why an MCI-EFI?
Confidence in the U.S. economy and the capital markets is a critical driver to the equipment finance industry. Throughout history, when confidence increases, consumers and businesses are more apt to acquire more consumer goods, equipment, and durables, and invest at prevailing prices. When confidence decreases, spending and risk-taking tend to fall. Investors are said to be confident when the news about the future is good and stock prices are rising.

Who participates in the MCI-EFI?
The respondents are comprised of a wide cross-section of industry executives, including large-ticket, middle-market and small-ticket banks, independents, and captive equipment finance companies. The MCI-EFI uses the same pool of 50 organization leaders to respond monthly to ensure the survey’s integrity. Since the same organizations provide the data from month to month, the results constitute a consistent barometer of the industry’s confidence.

How is the MCI-EFI designed?
The survey consists of seven questions and an area for comments, asking the respondents’ opinions about the following:

  1. Current business conditions
  2. Expected product demand over the next four months
  3. Access to capital over the next four months
  4. Future employment conditions
  5. Evaluation of the current U.S. economy
  6. S. economic conditions over the next six months
  7. Business development spending expectations
  8. Open-ended question for comment

How may I access the MCI-EFI?
Survey results are posted on the Foundation website,, included in the Foundation Forecast eNewsletter, and included in press releases. Survey respondent demographics and additional information about the MCI are also available at the link above.


The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization that propels the equipment finance sector—and its people—forward through industry-specific knowledge, intelligence, and student talent development programs that contribute to industry innovation, individual careers, and the advancement of the equipment leasing and finance industry. The Foundation is funded through charitable individual and corporate donations. Learn more at


Media Contact: Kelli Nienaber,