Small business owners have many financing options in today’s market, with available commercial lending and alternative lending options. CIT Group, Inc. is one of the nation’s leading commercial lenders and an option for business owners seeking a traditional banking experience.
As a commercial finance company and a division of one of the biggest banks in America, CIT offers several advantages, such as multiple lending products, competitive rates, and integrated banking services. However, working with a large company could lose some of the personal touches you get with alternative lenders and brokerages.
Comparing CIT to other lenders can be challenging since it doesn’t publish much information on qualifications and costs. You might have to apply before finding out your interest rate and fees.
This lender review covers what you need to know about the company before applying. Specifically, we’ll answer these questions and more:
CIT Group, Inc. is a financial holding company that provides commercial financing and leasing services. It’s a division of First Citizens Bank, but its storied history dates back to 1908 when it was founded as the Commercial Credit and Investment Company. First Citizens acquired the commercial finance company in 2022.
It has evolved significantly over the last century, but today it’s one of the leading commercial financing providers in the nation. It mainly serves small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). The company also offers consumer banking and advisory services.
CIT’s small business offerings are primarily equipment financing, working capital loans, and SBA loans. Its commercial financing offerings for mid-market companies include various loan and real estate finance options.
The company also offers business banking services. It’s a good fit for companies that want multiple financing options integrated with banking services.
CIT is also an expert in some of the more arcane aspects of business financing and uses its detailed knowledge of its clients to compile deals for equipment leasing, factoring, acquisitions loans, and credit management.
It combines traditional business banking methods with financial technology (fintech) capabilities, a hallmark of the alternative lending market. It can provide funding for some loans within two business days. CIT operates out of New York, NY
CIT consists of many divisions and subdivisions for SMB clients. Today, we will focus on its small business offerings but list some of its commercial finance options for middle-market businesses.
CIT’s Business Capital equipment financing was recently rebranded as First Citizens Bank Equipment Finance. Small business owners can finance new or used equipment with a loan or lease. You can get up to $500,000 with an application only or up to $1 million with financials.
You can use financing to acquire various business equipment. Companies looking for larger equipment purchases ($3 million – $100 million) would use the CIT’s Capital equipment financing option.
Cash flow is the lifeblood of any business. You can use the company’s working capital loans to cover everyday business expenses such as buying inventory, marketing, payroll, and more. Unfortunately, CIT doesn’t publish information on its rates or funding speed for working capital loans.
CIT is a preferred SBA lender, which means it can process certain parts of the loan application sooner. The US Small Business Administration (SBA) partially guarantees SBA loans. With backing from the federal government, lenders can offer higher borrowing amounts at lower interest rates and longer repayment terms.
The lender offers three types of SBA loans.
These are the most popular and versatile SBA loans. You can use the funds for most business purposes, including working capital, buying equipment, acquiring commercial real estate, and refinancing business debt. Interest rates are tied to the prime rate plus the lender’s spread. The SBA sets a cap on the interest and fees lenders can charge. Loan amounts go up to $5 million. You will typically need to provide collateral for loans over $25,000, but there is no down payment requirement.
These loans require working with a Certified Development Company (CDC) and are sometimes called 504/CDC loans. How you can use the funds are more restrictive, but borrowing amounts can go up to $15 million for three total projects. Most businesses use these loans to acquire commercial real estate or other tangible assets. You can also use the funds to renovate a location or special projects that promote economic development. The costs are typically 3% of the financed amount. In most cases, you must make a down payment of at least 10%.
The SBA Express loan is a modified version of 7(a) loans that carry a lower borrowing amount but gets approved and funded much faster. You can use the funds for the same purposes, but loan amounts are only between $50k – $350k. Terms go up to 10 years. There is no down payment required.
Middle-market businesses have access to the following financing options and commercial banking services:
One of the drawbacks of working with the financial holding company is that it does not provide any information regarding how to qualify for its products. It does not list the minimum credit score, time in business, or annual revenue to apply.
CIT also does not state what documents are required to apply. It does state applicants must provide business bank statements for the previous six months, but no other information is provided.
CIT Group, Inc. is one of the leading business lenders operating today. As a division of a major commercial bank, it has many resources, divisions, banking services, and financing programs.
While it doesn’t publish qualifications, it’s generally true that commercial lenders have a higher threshold than more agile alternative or fintech lenders. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t apply, just that you should know it might be more difficult.
Some small business owners feel the large corporate lending model doesn’t provide as much attentive customer service as alternative lending sources devoted solely to small businesses. While it provides some excellent small-business lending services, its focus seems more on larger middle-market businesses.
As a commercial lender, it has very competitive rates, and you could potentially save money working with them. However, you must apply before you can know for sure. According to some customer reviews, the company performs a hard credit pull, which can negatively impact your credit score.
CIT does not publish information on any referral partner programs. However, some online reviews mentioned getting CIT financing through a loan broker. You would need to contact them directly to inquire about offering their products to your small business clients.
The lender provides an online application for smaller business loans, but in most cases, you’ll contact them to apply directly. You can either call or complete the online contact form. A CIT representative will review the application process and what’s required and help you with the next steps.
CIT does provide an application-only process for equipment financing of $500k or less. Follow these steps to apply.
You can complete the online form in about 3 minutes. You’ll provide information on how much you’re requesting, your name and contact information, and the business name and contact information.
If approved, the lender sends documents for you to sign electronically.
If everything goes smoothly, you could receive equipment financing within 24 hours.
The repayment process varies depending on your lending product. CIT’s working capital business loans automatically deduct daily or weekly payments from your business checking account.
SBA loans carry fixed monthly payments for the loan term. Loans with a term of 15 years or longer carry an early repayment penalty if you pay them off in the first five years.
Equipment financing typically carries fixed monthly payments, but there are various payment options and schedules. It might be possible to get seasonal or deferred payments.
The company offers multiple lending products, including a robust equipment financing platform. In some cases, you can receive next-day funding.
As a commercial lender, its rates are competitive with most traditional banks and credit unions. It has plenty of resources and industry insight as a division of a top 50 bank in the US with over 100 years of experience.
The commercial finance company works with businesses in a wide range of industries. It provides financing for both small businesses and middle-market enterprises.
The most significant drawback is the lack of information it provides. There’s no way of telling whether you’ll qualify for its products before applying.
Other than its application-only process for equipment financing under $500k, you must contact them to apply. The process is far more involved than most alternative lenders’ convenient, streamlined applications.
The rates can vary significantly depending on the lending product, but the company doesn’t provide detailed information on costs. It’s difficult to compare costs with other lenders.
While being a commercial bank has its advantages, it offers so many products that it can be challenging to understand what lending products are best for your small business. Between its commercial lending products and consumer banking services, making sense of the website is a mess.
Here’s a summary of the benefits and drawbacks of CIT.
Yes, CIT is a safe and legitimate lender and banking institution. The company has existed since 1908 and is now a division of First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company. Its parent company is a top 50 bank in the US.
Reviews for business lenders and financial institutions tend to be polarized. Some customers have a great experience while others feel it was too expensive. CIT is no exception, but overall its reviews skew toward the negative. It has a 1.2 out of 5 rating on 15 customer reviews at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and a 2.3 out of 5 rating on 347 customer reviews at Trustpilot.
We should note that there are several reviews for consumer banking services mixed in with the reviews for commercial finance products. We will focus on reviews of its lending products and commercial banking services.
The positive reviews talk about the process being easy and excellent customer service. Multiple users praised their service representatives and the convenience of automatic payments. Most of the positive reviews were from equipment financing customers.
The most common complaint in the negative reviews was about customer service and a lack of communication. Many negative reviews discussed being unable to contact a live person, having no callbacks, and the clunky and difficult-to-use website. One customer complained that they were denied a loan, but the company never gave reasons for it.
Several customers said they were overcharged with fees. One customer said they never received a loan disclosure outlining terms, APR, and fees. Some customers complained about processing delays for paying off loans and receiving the title to their equipment.
The lender does not provide eligibility requirements. In response to a customer complaint on Trustpilot, a CIT representative said that credit decisions are primarily based on verifying identity and banking history, but they didn’t elaborate.
If you were declined, the denial letter should explain why. You can contact the company directly if you need more information.
In addition, you might be interested in other small business loans options, such as:
CIT Group is best suited for well-qualified small business owners who want to work with a lender that offers massive resources and integrated banking services. You might not get the same attention and care as you would with a boutique lending platform, but you’ll get very competitive rates and an “all-in-one” financial services provider.
Unfortunately, you won’t know if you’ll actually save money with them until you apply and see your rates. While it doesn’t specify a minimum credit score, it’s generally true in all financing that the lower your score, the more expensive the loan.
Small business owners who are worried about a low credit score, want to know the qualifications ahead of time, or want to comparison shop might consider an alternative lender instead. While online lender rates can be higher, some lenders’ speed, convenience, and transparency make it worth it.
Based on user reviews, lending products, and available information, we rate CIT Group, Inc. at a 3 out of 5. The company’s size and resources are advantageous, but the negative customer reviews, lack of transparency, and focus on middle-market companies make it less than ideal for small business financing.
Disclaimer: The CIT trademark is owned by First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company and its use herein is for reference purposes only and it does not indicate sponsorship or endorsement from First-Citizens Bank & Trust Company.