CIT Group Profit Beats Estimates as Commercial Lending Increases

CIT Group Inc., the once-bankrupt business lender run by John Thain, reported a third-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as commercial loans increased.

Net income was $199.6 million, or 99 cents a share, compared with a $299.2 million loss, or $1.49, a year earlier, the New York-based company said today in a statement. The average estimate of 17 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was 95 cents a share.

“Our third-quarter results reflect our progress in prudently growing assets, expanding CIT Bank, and returning capital to our shareholders,” Thain, 58, said in the statement.

Thain, the former Merrill Lynch & Co. chief executive officer hired in 2010 to turn around CIT, cut assets and expenses to help CIT recover from a bankruptcy that wiped out $2.3 billion in government bailout funds. The Federal Reserve ended its post-crisis oversight in May after the lender’s finances stabilized.

CIT gained 32 percent this year through yesterday, outpacing the 27 percent advance for the 81-company Standard & Poor’s 500 Financials Index.

The company reinstated a dividend yesterday. The quarterly payment of 10 cents a share is payable on Nov. 29 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 15, according to a statement.

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