CIT Group Inc., putting the finishing touch on its management revamp, has named Scott T. Parker, the former finance chief of an affiliate of Cerberus Capital Management LP, as its chief financial officer, effective immediately.
The appointment rounds out the new management team put in place by CIT's chief executive, former Merrill Lynch CEO John Thain, who took the helm in February. Filling the finance position was vital, given CIT's primary challenge after emerging from bankruptcy is righting its funding model.
"This is a pretty key position for CIT to fill," said Sameer Gokhale, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods, also known as KBW. "It increases their chances of getting regulatory approval [because] they have a complete management team in place."
Parker, 43, was most recently the finance chief of Cerberus Operations & Advisory Co., an affiliate of the private-equity giant, which he joined in 2006. He also served as the finance chief at two different units of General Electric Co. (GE), GE Capital Solutions and GE Corporate Financial Services. Parker, who will report to Thain, declined to comment through a company spokesman.
"He brings experience to the position," said Gokhale. CIT, a lender to small businesses, also named Carol Hayles, 49, as controller. Hayles, whose experience includes 24 years at Citigroup Inc., most recently as deputy controller, will report to Parker.
While CIT has raised funds this year in the credit market, its ability to increase deposits, an inexpensive funding source, is hamstrung by restrictions imposed by banking regulators. The company not only has to get the go-ahead from regulators to increase its brokered deposits, it also needs permission to use its deposits to make more types of loans. In addition, it needs to build on its deposit base to include retail deposits, which are more stable than the brokered deposits CIT has now.
Thain has reiterated the lender's commitment to lowering its costly debt load and winning the confidence of regulators who have limited CIT's ability to raise deposits. To this end, CIT has paid down $3.5 billion of an expensive $7.5 billion credit facility. In addition, CIT is selling off assets it doesn't consider critical to its core business as it seeks to shore up its balance sheet. CIT also is employing existing deposits to make corporate loans.
But its costly debt load is cutting into profits. For instance, as of the first quarter, for every $100 CIT lent, it earned 65 cents, as its interest payments ate into margins, compared with about $3.50 it earned before the financial crisis, KBW estimates.
CIT, founded in 1908, relied on bonds and commercial paper to raise funds, which it then lent out at a higher interest rate. The credit crisis made it difficult for CIT to raise capital cheaply and, unable to restructure its debt, the lender filed for bankruptcy protection in November. The bankruptcy court wiped out about $10 billion of CIT's outstanding debt, as well as a $2.3 billion investment from the U.S. Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program. CIT emerged from bankruptcy in December.
CIT shares recently traded at $33.34, up 0.2%. The stock is up about 21% this year.