20 Jul 2009

American bank CIT 'reaches deal'

3:16 pm on 20 July 2009

Troubled American bank CIT Group has cut a deal with its key bondholders for $US3 billion in financing that will allow the 101-year-old lender to avoid bankruptcy, according to the Wall Street Journal's web site.

CIT, which suffered a liquidity crunch and found itself straining under its multi-billion dollar debt load, aims to restructure outside of court, the Journal said.

No other details were immediately available.

CIT has been in talks with the bondholder group to hammer out the rescue financing deal, Reuters reported on Saturday, citing a source close to the situation.

The bank lends to nearly one million small and mid-sized businesses. Its problems surfaced two years ago in the wake of chief executive Jeffrey Peek's decision earlier in the decade to expand into subprime mortgages and student loans, both potentially highly profitable but fraught with added risk.

CIT gained the status of bank holding company in December so it could draw $US2.33 billion of taxpayer money from the a Treasury assistance programme.

But last-ditch rescue talks with the US government failed last week as the Obama administration declined help, saying it had set high standards for granting aid to companies.