CIT Group Earnings Call Nuggets: Suspended Depreciation and Competitive Environment

CIT Group Inc (NYSE:CIT) recently reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Suspended Depreciation

Brad Ball – Evercore Partners: I am wondering if you can give us some of moving parts in the net finance margin. How much was from suspended depreciation this quarter and how do you see the progression to the 4% or the middle of (3.5% to 4.50%) range that you mentioned?

Scott T. Parker – CFO: The suspended depreciation still is kind of in the 30 basis point range, Brad, and as the portfolio transitions in the second half, I can’t give you by quarter split, but we expect that to go away by the end of the year. Then as we’ve talked about on the elevated prepayments and interest recoveries, that was about 20 basis points in the past, where you had about 10 basis points in the quarter come down. So I’d expect over the second half that that would come down. I can’t give you exact timing, but we expect that to come down as refinancings slow and interest recoveries go away.

Brad Ball – Evercore Partners: So the elevated prepays actually go down to zero at some point in the future?

Scott T. Parker – CFO: They won’t be exactly zero, but we won’t have – it will be very episodic based on that activity.

Brad Ball – Evercore Partners: Then my follow-up on the OpEx line, you’ve targeted ($60 million to $80 million). You said you are on track to get to that level. Do you see an opportunity with some of the subscale international offices to maybe go beyond that as you get into next year or further cost saves beyond the $80 million?

Scott T. Parker – CFO: We continue to look at our operating expenses; and a part of it, as you know, we’re continuing to invest in new growth initiatives and new ways to add assets, and we’ll balance that with kind of our operating expense target. So we’re trying to get in the range on the operating expense, and if things change, the environment changes, economic growth changes, we will have to continue to revisit our operating expenses. Right now, at least based on what we know today, we feel that we’re on target.

Competitive Environment

Moshe Orenbuch – Credit Suisse: I’m wondering, hoping you can kind of flush out a little bit your plans kind of growth by segment and maybe talk a little about competitive environment, you mentioned Corporate Finance we talked about a little bit in kind of vendor transportation and things like that?

John A. Thain – Chairman and CEO: I think I’ll start with Transportation, as you know we place the order book and those scheduled deliveries will kind of continue to come through the railcar stuff is shorter, so it’s coming in every quarter on the aircraft it’s a much longer kind of order book. The ways that we will supplement that is some of the lending initiatives we’ve had both in the maritime as well as in the aircraft space around lending that we’re doing out of the bank as opportunities to continue to grow that business and the way to grow the operating lease business would be in the sale leaseback where we continue to look at that market and if they meet our return, expectations and for assets that we like, those would other ways to grow the Transportation segment. On the vendor business, the U.S. business is doing very well and as John mentioned on the call, some of the other international platforms where we have good presence and we’re also seeing good growth there. I think the growth on that one is going to be really kind of CapEx spending on the products that we financed as well as overall economic growth. On the trade business, the volume, we continue to focus on new customers, diversifying our portfolio into some non-apparel areas that give us some diversification on that front and then on the Corporate Finance area, the market overall as I mentioned in my opening statement is almost half the market right now that we play in is refinancings. So, what we have done is we’ve passed on certain of refinancing, but we have been able to build good customer relationships and as you saw from the strong volume that we’re finding places to place capital where we think the risk return equation makes sense for us. So I think that, we’re staying up with the marketplace and to get above that would require both economic growth as well as additional intimal initiatives or other areas to focus on in the Corporate Finance area.

Moshe Orenbuch – Credit Suisse: Just as a follow-up, you had mentioned kind of last quarter talking about the possibility of looking at some deposit acquisitions of branches and the like, I mean any further thoughts there?

John A. Thain – Chairman and CEO: No, we continue to look at deposits and branches and if we find some that that we can acquire at attractive prices, we would continue to try to do that.

A Closer Look: CIT Group Earnings Cheat Sheet>>