Tag Archives: CIT

CIT Down

At the end of the day, CIT had nothing.  Their asset quality was poor, their systemic risk implications seemed limited, Sheila Bair dug in her heels, and Jeffrey Peek (CEO) didn’t have sufficiently strong connections to get her overruled.

CIT had friends, but not enough - and maybe this tells us something about the shifting political sands.  The Financial Services Roundtable (top financial CEOs) came out in force, the House Committee on Small Business reportedly made worried noises, and Barney Frank sounded supportive.  But the American Bankers Association (the broader mass of bankers) publicly stood on the sidelines and Senate Banking – and prominent senators – seemed otherwise engaged.  Continue reading

CIT Battlelines

The issue of the day is obviously CIT.  It’s hard to sort out the real news from clever PR/planted stories in this situation, but it looks like the FDIC is coming out strongly against being involved in a rescue package.  Given Sheila Bair’s successful political positioning and strong popular appeal, it’s hard to see how – once dug in – the FDIC can be moved.

The lobbying frenzy has concentrated on CIT’s role in financing small and medium-sized business; “the recession will be deeper if CIT fails” is the refrain.  This is a weak argument – it would be straightforward to refinance this part of CIT’s business without bailing out CIT’s creditors, and definitely without keeping top CIT executives in place; this is the essence of “negotiated conservatorship,” which is a proven model in the US.

More plausible is the concern that given Treasury’s generous handouts to date for financial firms, if they are now tough on CIT’s creditors, this will send a new signal about how they may treat other firms – and maybe raise fears of Hank Paulson-like flipflopping.   Citigroup’s CDS spread is still at worrying levels, and Treasury/National Economic Council watches this closely – for both organizational and personal reasons. Continue reading

Will CIT Go Bankrupt?

CIT Group is apparently in trouble and now negotiating with Treasury, the Fed, and the FDIC for some sort of “bailout”, e.g., in the form of a guarantee for its debt.

Traditionally, CIT provided vanilla loans to small and medium-sized business. “But under its current chief executive, Jeffrey M. Peek, a well-liked Wall Street veteran who lost out several years ago in a race to run Merrill Lynch, CIT made an ill-timed expansion into sub-prime mortgage and student lending” (NYT today).

What happens to CIT will help define exactly where we are with regard to “too big to fail.”  Continue reading