Equipment Finance Industry Confidence Lower in October

Washington, DC, October 19, 2023 – The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation (the Foundation) releases the October 2023 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 40.1, a decrease from the September index of 50.3.

When asked about the outlook for the future, MCI-EFI survey respondent Mark Bonanno, President and COO, North Mill Equipment Finance, said, “The macroeconomic environment remains challenging. The U.S. is facing the largest peacetime deficit ever. The likelihood of a government shutdown has increased due to U.S. political upheaval and the pending election cycle. Inflation remains significantly above Fed targets, and the possibility of interest rates going higher or remaining elevated for longer than expected is high, making a recession more likely than not.”

October 2023 Survey Results:
The overall MCI-EFI is 40.1, a decrease from the September index of 50.3.

  • When asked to assess their business conditions over the next four months, 3.7% of the executives responding said they believe business conditions will improve over the next four months, a decrease from 10.3% in September. 74.1% believe business conditions will remain the same over the next four months, down from 75.9% the previous month. 22.2% believe business conditions will worsen, an increase from 13.8% in September.
  • 3.7% of the survey respondents believe demand for leases and loans to fund capital expenditures (capex) will increase over the next four months, down from 10.3% in September. 77.8% believe demand will “remain the same” during the same four-month time period, a decrease from 79.3% the previous month. 18.5% believe demand will decline, an increase from 10.3% in September.
  • 14.8% of the respondents expect more access to capital to fund equipment acquisitions over the next four months, up from 13.8% in September. 70.4% of executives indicate they expect the “same” access to capital to fund business, down from 72.4% last month. 14.8% expect “less” access to capital, up from 13.8% the previous month.
  • When asked, 14.8% of the executives report they expect to hire more employees over the next four months, a decrease from 20.7% in September. 70.4% expect no change in headcount over the next four months, up from 72.4% last month. 14.8% expect to hire fewer employees, up from 6.9% in September.
  • None of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “excellent,” unchanged from the previous month. 92.6% of the leadership evaluate the current U.S. economy as “fair,” up from 89.7% in September. 7.4% evaluate it as “poor,” down from 10.3% last month.
  • 3.9% of the survey respondents believe that U.S. economic conditions will get “better” over the next six months, a decrease from 6.9% in September. 57.7% indicate they believe the U.S. economy will “stay the same” over the next six months, a decrease from 62.1% last month. 38.5% believe economic conditions in the U.S. will worsen over the next six months, an increase from 31% the previous month.
  • In October, 11.1% of respondents indicate they believe their company will increase spending on business development activities during the next six months, down from 24.1% the previous month. 77.8% believe there will be “no change” in business development spending, up from 69% in September. 11.1% believe there will be a decrease in spending, an increase from 6.9% last month.

October 2023 MCI-EFI Survey Comment from Industry Executive Leadership:

Bank, Small Ticket
“The equipment finance industry will continue to flex to find the opportunities that exist in our current market and will find solutions to the challenges in pockets of the industry. I am confident that we will continue to grow profitably through this time.” David Normandin, President and Chief Executive Officer, Wintrust Specialty Finance

Independent, Small Ticket
“While we have avoided recession in 2023, there are a number of dark clouds on the horizon that could tip the scale, including the cumulative effect of higher interest rates, higher oil prices, the resumption of student loan payments and the ongoing risk of a government shutdown.  Some, but certainly not all, of our customers are wary about the future and seem to be a little more skeptical on capital spending.” Bruce J. Winter, President, FSG Capital, Inc.

“When the auto union strike is settled, the result is likely going to include an increase in wages and benefits for the workers. An increase in inflation will follow.” James D. Jenks, CEO, Global Finance and Leasing Services, LLC


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 programs that contribute to industry innovation, individual careers, and the overall betterment of the equipment leasing and finance industry. The Foundation is funded through charitable individual and corporate donations. Learn more at


Media Contact: Kelli Nienaber,