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Standing Firm (1925 - 1945)

Through the Great Depression and World War II, in a time when reservations about installment buying ran deep, CIT maintained an unshakeable belief in the soundness of American institutions and the good judgment of its customers.

Standing Up for Consumers

  • 1926 - "The American is now the best customer in the world," declared Henry Ittleson, while defending installment purchasing from critics who feared it encouraged irresponsible debt. Though hard times lay ahead, Ittleson stood firm in his view of the reliability of consumers.
  • 1925-1926 - A Florida real estate bust increased auto repossessions and cost CIT $422,000, the largest loss in our history to that point.
  • 1926 – The year also brought CIT record profits of $3.5 million. We moved to larger quarters at One Park Avenue and continued expanding our auto finance business.
  • 1928 – CIT entered a new field, factoring. Just a few months after the notorious stock market "Crash of '29," CIT announced another year of record earnings, additional diversification and expansion, and new offices in Europe.
  • 1928-1930 – During these years, we provided financing for the Detroit Aircraft Company, signed a contract with Sears Roebuck for consumer purchases of Coldspot refrigerators, and acquired William Iselin & Company, Inc., making CIT subsidiary Commercial Factors Corporation the nation's largest factoring business.

Through the Hard Times

  • 1933 - We lent our financing expertise to a federal commission that established the Federal Housing Administration.
  • 1934 - With war clouds on the distant horizon, CIT closed our German operations.
  • 1934-1940 - CIT acquired Universal Credit Corporation, Ford Motor's financing wing, launched a new subsidiary, Equipment Acceptance Corporation, to provide financing for machinery and equipment manufacturers, and established the CIT Safety Foundation to promote safe driving.
  • 1939 - Arthur O. Dietz succeeded Henry Ittleson as CIT President, while Ittleson remained as Chairman of the Board.

On to Victory

  • 1941 - America's entry into World War II focused CIT efforts on victory. We offered a month's bonus pay, life insurance and a guaranteed job on return to our 2,000 employees who served in the armed forces.
  • 1941-1945 - CIT acquired two manufacturing companies, Microswitch Corporation and Holzer-Cabot Electric Company. Both earned awards from the military for outstanding productivity.
  • 1945 - By war's end, both CIT and the country looked eagerly toward a future of peace and stability.