CIT Group Inc.'s tender offer for its $1 billion in floating-rate notes due Monday was successful, giving the lender a little more breathing room on its debt.

But the 59.8% of notes that were tendered was below the level the company had announced this month.

The struggling commercial lender, hurt by the liquidity crisis as its customers drew down credit lines in fear that they might disappear, has been working in recent weeks to avoid bankruptcy.

This month it amended the terms of the debt-buyback offer, reducing the minimum threshold required, to 58%, from 90%. It said at that time that 65% of the notes were tendered. The company had said last month it might need to file for bankruptcy protection if it didn't get enough notes tendered to the offer.

The company will pay $875 per $1,000 of principal notes tendered.

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