CIT’s future in question ahead of lender meeting

Lexington Herald – CIT Group Inc.’s shares soared Tuesday on a report that hedge fund manager John Paulson is considering merging the troubled finance company with failed mortgage lender IndyMac Federal Bank. But they plunged after-hours as a separate report said CIT is preparing a debt swap offer that could wipe out taxpayers’ investment or could file for bankruptcy protection.

CIT Group, one of the nation’s largest lenders to small and midsize businesses, spent the summer trying to stave off a potential collapse amid mounting loan losses and rising funding costs. It has been devastated by the downturn in the credit markets and is attempting to restructure its operations to remain in business. CIT in the past relied heavily on cheap, short-term debt to fund its operations – a type of funding that essentially evaporated during the peak of the credit crisis last year.

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