May/June 2011

2011 ABL Marketplace Survey: ABLs Take Note as Competition Climbs to a Frenzied Pace

A respectable 11% of a select group of more than 800 senior asset-based lenders took the time to participate in this year’s Mid-Year Marketplace Survey. As portfolios grew stronger compared to a year ago, competition has also intensified, causing concern among this year’s respondents.

Once again, ABF Journal polled senior lenders from leading ABL shops. As 2009’s somber beat gave way to a mellower mood in 2010, ABLs expect 2011 to intensify to a frenetic pace … at least from a competitive standpoint. One lender was compelled to tell us, “It’s complete and total insanity already.”

From a broader perspective, fiscal and regulatory policies (53.1%) followed by rising commodity prices (29.2%) and global unrest (17.5%) register as the greatest concerns for this group of lenders. When one considers the response rate around fiscal and regulatory policies, it’s no surprise that 73.2% of the participants don’t think the measures taken by the administration, the Department of the Treasury and the Federal Reserve have proven to be effective in stimulating economic growth.

We asked about the economy and expectations of more solid footing and an overwhelming 82.5% of the participants sense we need to look to 2012 or beyond for that to occur. Only 12.4% expect normalcy to return in the second half of this year and 5.1% are more optimistic, sensing we’re already there or should get there by mid-year.

On a happier note, more than half of the respondents expect new ABL opportunities will stem from financings structured to support growth and expansion. For the full story, we invite you to turn the page. And while it is indeed a brand new day as we sensed from last year’s survey, without a doubt the beat has picked up and the heat is on.

To those who took the time to participate in this year’s Mid-Year ABL Marketplace Survey, we extend our thanks.