Foundation COVID-19 Impact and Economic Recovery Survey Reveals Equipment Finance Companies’ Work-From-Home Expectations, Portfolio Performance

Washington, DC, May 27, 2021 – The Equipment Leasing & Finance Foundation (Foundation) releases the results of its first quarterly COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Survey today revealing equipment finance companies’ work from home practices and performance of portfolio metrics, including deferrals, defaults, and originations. The COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Survey is revised and expanded from the Foundation’s COVID-19 Impact Survey of the Equipment Finance Industry launched in May 2020, in order to reflect longer-term effects of the pandemic’s impact on equipment finance companies going forward.

Among the survey highlights:
Work from Home (WFH):
•  The level of WFH pre-pandemic overall was 28%. The larger the lender (by annual origination volume) the fewer that were 50%+ WFH before the pandemic.
•  About 85% of all lender sizes were mostly WFH at the beginning of 2021.
•  By 2022, management expect WFH to be cut in half, with the portion of lenders having 50%+ WFH going from 84% currently down to 41%.
o  40% of $1B+ organizations are expecting to be mostly WFH next year, compared to only 7% pre-pandemic.
o  60% of captives expect to be mostly WFH in 2022. None were 50+% WFH before the pandemic.
•  Deferral rates are down 90% from their peak in 2020.
•  No lenders report more than 10% of their portfolios are in deferral currently.
•  The vast majority of borrowers that had deferrals (93.6%) are now paying as agreed.
•  Default rates in 2020 (0.92%) were up from 2019 (0.73%), but not by much.
•  2021 default rates (0.52%) are expected to be lower than those in 2019; the average of 2020 and 2021 equals the rate of 2019.
•  Survey respondents reported only a 1% decline overall in originations in 2020.
•  45% reported increased volume in 2020. Lenders originating less than $1B reported 34% growth in 2021.
•  Expectations for 2021 are for significant growth, 18% overall.

“The COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Survey is the kind of timely in-depth, forward-looking research the Foundation is committed to bringing to the industry,” said Tom Ware, Foundation Trustee and Research Committee Chair. “These survey results show the strength and resilience of the equipment finance industry overall in coming through the pandemic, and the ways in which our workforce will continue to be impacted long after.”

COVID-19 Impact and Recovery Survey Comments from Industry Executive Leadership:

Bank, Small Ticket
“Short term we are still seeing the impacts from PPP. Medium term we expect some winners and losers along asset classes, and long term we are optimistic about the business community and investment in assets.”  David Normandin, CLFP, President and CEO, Wintrust Specialty Finance

Independent, Small Ticket
“We see an uptick in the short term as vaccinations are rolled out. Hopefully, we can reach herd immunity in the second half of the year and approach a level of activity consistent with the pre-pandemic economy.” Steve Grant, CFO, Americorp Financial, LLC

Independent, Middle Ticket
“The equipment finance industry generally will continue to grow along with the economy in the short, medium, and long term. However, with the Biden Administration’s emphasis on infrastructure, it is likely that we will see an increase beyond the general economy.” Jonathan Ruga, CEO, Sentry Financial Corporation

Survey responses were collected from 64 equipment finance company executives from April 1-28, 2021. Results are available online at All Foundation studies are available for free download from the Foundation’s online library at


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,