officers who analyze the creditworthiness
of active customers on a daily basis. Their
analysis is stored online and is supplemented by CIT’s market intelligence, based
upon the pay history we have developed
with each retailer. In addition, we have EDI
(Electronic Data Interchange) links with
the major retailers to speed up the flow of
funds and information. Our clients can access their accounts receivable information
any time online and can customize and run
reports as needed.
Which services have been in the most
demand and why?
There is always demand for credit protection. Companies want the peace of
mind that they will not suffer from bad
When consumer product companies
look for credit protection, they look
to CIT. We have proprietary customer
credit files on approximately 325,000
customers. You could say that we have
our finger on the pulse of the retailers,
and we have it across a broad range of
industries including apparel, footwear,
accessories, furniture and home furnishings, housewares, toys, sporting goods
and consumer electronics.
Our clients also value our professional collection services. It is often difficult
for a small-to-mid-sized company to
replicate this service internally; and it’s a
service that’s integrated with the factoring service we provide.
As companies look to manage their
balance sheets, they look to outsource
these functions to CIT, so they don’t
need to invest in people, overhead and
systems. This allows them to concentrate on what they do best – bring new
products to market.
Lastly, companies are always looking
for financing. Liquidity and working
capital are the lifeblood of a business
and are especially critical for small-to-mid-sized businesses, which are the
majority of the companies we serve.
What impact, if any, did CIT Group’s
restructuring have on the Trade Finance
Our success in establishing ourselves as
the leading factor in the U.S. has been
based on our deep industry expertise,
exceptional client service and long-standing relationships within the retail
sector. While the restructuring did affect
our business to some extent, we were
able to minimize the impact through
proactive communications with our
clients, maintaining service levels, and
continuing business as usual.
From a financial perspective the CIT
of today is a very different company.
At the end of the fourth quarter 2010,
we had more than $11 billion of cash
on hand, while our Tier 1 Capital ratio
What lessons were learned in the
recent market downturn and how are
they being applied going forward?
Factors and lenders alike have been
reminded that ‘Credit Is King.’ Factors
continue to closely watch customer
credit, but, perhaps more importantly,
they are also watching client credit
metrics when they have loans outstanding to clients. TSL
Michele Ocejo is executive editor of The
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