The CIT Group Holdings Inc. signed an agreement earlier this week to acquire the U.S. factoring and commercial finance business of Barclays Bank PLC.

Terms of the acquisition, which is expected to close early next year, were not disclosed.

New York-based CIT, which is 60% owned by Dai-Ichi Kangyo Bank and 40% owned by Chemical Banking Corp., has one of the largest factoring businesses in the country, with $8 billion of receivables and $500 million of assets.

Barclays Commercial Corp., based in Charlotte, N.C., has $4.6 billion of receivables. The unit's parent company is based in London.

The acquisition gives CIT a presence in the Southeast. Currently, the company does most of its business in New York and California, providing factoring services for apparel, textile, and other companies.

"This will broaden our client and industry base," said Albert R. Gamper Jr., CIT president and chief executive. He said that the Barclays unit serves the furniture and housewares industries in the Southeast.

In factoring, manufacturer's receivables are purchased by a bank or other firm, which services and guarantees the credit.

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