Lessons From CIT Group

Here’s a dirty little secret for you. The market actually works and we don’t need to bail out everyone. I guess that’s two secrets.

Remember how the imminent demise of CIT Group (NYSE:CIT)was going to tank small businesses from sea to shining sea. The usual suspects were in full Armageddon mode with predictions that if we let CIT go down it could wreak havoc on the economy. Smaller companies that relied on CIT would topple like dominoes, after all the company counted over 1 million of these precious darlings as customers, or so they alleged with nary a statistic to back up their assertions.

Well guess what happened on the way to the party. CIT has been left to fend for itself and it looks very much as if the company’s customers are adapting very well, thank you. The WSJ’s Deal Journal notes a Foresight Analytics report that indicates CIT has fallen from the number one lender to small businesses to number 16. Looks like those small businessmen and women aren’t complete dolts. They smell smoke and figure they’ll move along before the fire.

Even more less surprising is that other lenders smelled the opportunity and have been picking up market share at CIT’s expense. From smaller players like Live Oak Banking to big guys like Wells Fargo (NYSE:WFC) a lot of lenders have aggressively picked off CIT’s customers. Isn’t creative destruction wonderful?

The lessons seem obvious. Rarely is the economy as imperiled by the demise of a firm as the failed executives of that firm would like you to believe. Never is the damage going to be as extreme as those in the political class who have been bought and paid for by that failing firm would suggest. The probability that competitors will step in and limit the collateral damage is extremely high.

Refreshing isn’t it that a company can fail or come close, the system is allowed to work through the issues on its own and, Lordy, the sun comes up in the morning. Now that we’re out of crisis mode can we just keep this in mind and maybe let the economy separate the winners and losers.

About Tom Lindmark 401 Articles

I’m not sure that credentials mean much when it comes to writing about things but people seem to want to see them, so briefly here are mine. I have an undergraduate degree in economics from an undistinguished Midwestern university and masters in international business from an equally undistinguished Southwestern University. I spent a number of years working for large banks lending to lots of different industries. For the past few years, I’ve been engaged in real estate finance – primarily for commercial projects. Like a lot of other finance guys, I’m looking for a job at this point in time.

Given all of that, I suggest that you take what I write with the appropriate grain of salt. I try and figure out what’s behind the news but suspect that I’m often delusional. Nevertheless, I keep throwing things out there and occasionally it sticks. I do read the comments that readers leave and to the extent I can reply to them. I also reply to all emails so feel free to contact me if you want to discuss something at more length. Oh, I also have a very thick skin, so if you disagree feel free to say so.

Enjoy what I write and let me know when I’m off base – I probably won’t agree with you but don’t be shy.

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1 Comment on Lessons From CIT Group

  1. This article is right on target. Just like (AIG)21st Century Insurance(AIG) that was bought by Farmers Insurance. There was so much attrition at 21st(AIG) because AIG placed their folks within that company and fired the rest. Now if you look at their customer base. It went from 2 million to 300,000 maybe?

    Never reward losers with your business. Never.

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