Data from ELFA portray a mixed picture of health for capital-equipment finance. The association reported that transactions fell to $7.1 billion in December, down 22% compared with the same month in 2008. At the same time, businesses are finding it easier to remain current on their loans. "While credit losses showed some improvement, the industry still has a long way to go to return to the kind of positive growth we saw in the pre-recession economy," said Ralph Petta, ELFA's interim president.

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