While market conditions are decimating CIT Group as a whole, Christine Reilly, head of CIT's Small Business Lending Corporation, soldiers on, finding some upside in recent results. To start, the SBL group has been the No. 1 SBA 7(a) lender for eight consecutive years; over the past five years the group has been the top lender to women, veteran and minority-owned businesses.
Yet, despite the successes, when Reilly took over the group in May of 2006, some would argue that business had grown stagnant. The team had a sales force spread across 48 states without centralized leadership. That changed once Reilly took charge. She restructured the sales and operations teams to form one centralized back office-including all underwriting, closing and servicing-out of Livingston, NJ. The two-phase process that began in 2006 finished in the first half of this year, she says.