• Post-War Prosperity (1946 - 1965)

    When America turned its energies to post-war production, it demonstrated the confidence of victory as well as an awesome capacity for growth and widely shared prosperity. CIT helped provide the capital fueling this unprecedented expansion of the national economy. 

    At Peace and At Work

    With much of the world devastated by war, the United States entered an era of unparalleled ascendancy. Though the Cold War worried the national psyche and poverty still simmered on both sides of the new suburbs, Americans generally enjoyed increasing prosperity. CIT's progress through the era tracked the nation's upward trajectory: in just three years, from 1947 to 1950, the company's net income rose from $7.3 million to $30.8 million. 

    On October 27, 1948, CIT founder Henry Ittleson died at age 77. CIT President Arthur Dietz continued to innovate and bring new business entities to life. In 1953, the company started a new subsidiary, Patriot Life Insurance Company, opened a consumer finance office in Hawaii and established its first employee health plan. Dietz also served as Chairman of the Highways for Survival Committee, mobilizing support for the National Highway Act that Congress passed in 1954. The Act created the Interstate Highway System and launched one of the largest construction projects in history. As supplier of financing for autos and for construction equipment, CIT helped put Americans into new automobiles and onto safer, more efficient roads.

    A New Home

    Like many Americans who, with the help of mortgage financing, were becoming new homeowners, CIT moved into its own, new building at 650 Madison Avenue in 1957. The following year, its 50th anniversary, CIT purchased a manufacturing company, Picker X-ray. Over the next eight years, Picker doubled its profits and repaid CIT entire investment. CIT also purchased Bank of North America as a way of establishing a personal loan portfolio. With additional bank acquisitions, that portfolio grew from $6 million in 1958 to more than $1 billion by 1974.

    Walter Lundell succeeded Dietz as President in 1960. The helm passed smoothly in the rising tide of prosperity. In 1964, CIT diversification continued with the purchase of Gibson Greeting Cards, the nation's third largest card company. CIT also combined several factoring units into a new subsidiary, Meinhard-Commercial.

    Confident and Prospering

    CIT added Meadow Brook Bank in 1965, and soon it merged with Bank of North America to form the National Bank of North America. It also acquired another manufacturing business, All-Steel Equipment, Inc., maker of office furniture. At the end of the year, CIT passed a major milestone, having recorded $100 billion in financing volume since its founding in 1908. Half of that volume had been generated in the 10 years since 1955. Though times would not always be so rosy, CIT success in the post war decades reflected as well as helped create a newly confident and prosperous nation.