Banker Ellen Alemany Joins CIT's Board

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Ellen Alemany's retirement is off to a busy start.

The former head of RBS Citizens Financial Group has joined the board of CIT Group (CIT), according to a press release Tuesday. Alemany, who stepped down from Citizens in October after nearly six years as its chief executive, will serve on CIT's audit committee.

Alemany's post-RBS plans have been the subject of eager speculation among banking insiders. The 58-year-old industry veteran suggested that she wouldn't remain on the sidelines in a speech accepting a lifetime achievement award at American Banker's Most Powerful Women in Banking gala this fall.

"I still have some lifetime yet," she said.

Alemany's appointment to the CIT board could be perceived as another sign of the specialty lenderís second wind. The company filed for bankruptcy in November 2009 and has staged a comeback under Chief Executive John Thain, formerly the head of Merrill Lynch.

The $35 billion-asset CIT has fueled its recovery with mergers and acquisition financing and loan portfolio purchases. It bought $1.2 billion in loans from Flagstar Bancorp (FBC) last year and was released from a written agreement with the Federal Reserve Board.

Analysts have speculated that CIT's focus on commercial lending could make the company an attractive acquisition target, particularly for a large bank like Wells Fargo (WFC). Thain reportedly shopped the company last year in the aftermath of its failed bid to purchase online lender ING Direct.

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