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  1. 1. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 1 The following transcript has been provided by a third party transcription service for informational purposes only. The transcript has been reviewed and edited by CIT and in our opinion is the best interpretation of the statements made on the call. The actual conference call may have differed slightly. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard April 20, 2005 11:00 am EDT Operator: Good afternoon. My name is Michelle and I will be your conference facilitator. At this time I would like to welcome everyone to the CIT first quarter 2005 earnings conference call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speaker’s remarks, there will be a question and answer period. If you would like to ask a question during this time, simply press star then the number 1 on your telephone keypad. If you would like to withdraw your question, press star then the number 2 on your telephone keypad. Thank you. Miss Gerard, you may begin your conference. Valerie Gerard: Thanks very much Michelle and good morning everyone. Welcome. We’re delighted that you’re here with us this morning to talk about the results for the quarter. After our formal remarks by Jeff Peek, our CEO and Joe Leone, our CFO, we will move into our standard Q&A session. One housekeeping item to note, we are pleased to announce that CIT investor day for 2005 will be held on Tuesday, November 8 in New York City. Mark your calendars. Details to come. Now as you know, elements of this call are forward-looking in nature and relate only to the time and date of this call. We expressly disclaim any duty to update these statements based on new information, future events or otherwise. For information about risk factors relating to the business, please refer to our SEC reports. Any references to certain non-GAAP financial measures are
  2. 2. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 2 meant to provide meaningful insight and are reconciled with GAAP in the investor relations section of our website at www.cit.com. So now it’s my pleasure to introduce our Chairman and CEO, Jeff Peek. Jeffrey Peek: Thanks Valerie and good morning to everyone. I’m pleased to report that CIT performed strongly in the first quarter of 2005. Our diluted earnings per share increased 29% to 98 cents over the first quarter of 2004. Now this was after excluding an extraordinary gain from debt redemption in the first quarter of 2004. In addition, as you heard on Monday, we increased our quarterly dividend three cents to 16 cents per share per quarter. In addition, we delivered strong results in some of the key areas that we had highlighted in the previous quarter. We did exceed our target return on return-on-tangible equity, ROTE. We reported 15.3% for the first quarter compared to 13.1% in the first quarter of 2004, once again excluding the gain from the debt redemption. In terms of asset growth, we saw quarterly asset growth exceed $5 billion for the quarter, reaching almost $59 billion. Now asset growth as 2.5% after adjusting for the Education Lending acquisition and also the disposition of various manufactured housing and venture capital assets. If you take that 2.5%, it breaks out to 1% from organic growth and 1.5% from bolt on acquisitions, namely the SunTrust factoring acquisition. Importantly, we are focused on decreasing our operating expenses and we believe they are moving in the right direction. Operating expenses were down $17 million from the fourth quarter of 2004 before the impact of the additional expenses in the Education Lending acquisition. Additionally, we believe we have initiatives in place to streamline our business and simplify our infrastructure. This should result in continued expense decreases. The most significant, which will include deploying consistent technology across all of CIT’s business and consolidating our servicing platforms. Now in general, we continue to execute on the fundamentals of our business. We remain prudent about growth. And we won’t compromise on our core competencies of credit, risk management, and capital discipline. Our increased focus on sales and growth initiatives combined with our efforts to enhance our profitability and our capital returns is building momentum across CIT. Our vertical market strategy is moving forward. And as we continue to build this model in Commercial Finance, it will make our businesses more efficient an enable them to work together leveraging previously unrealized synergies to better serve our clients.
  3. 3. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 3 Now here are a couple of the highlights from the first quarter. First, a report on the integration of the CitiCapital acquisition from October of last year. The final piece of that integration and our servicing platform in Dublin has been completed and we’ve reduced operating expenses per year in that acquisition from $30 million before the transaction to $8 million projected for 2006. So that integration has gone very well for us. Secondly, we’ve extended our vendor relationship with CDW, a leading provider of technology solutions for commercial, government, and educational customers. And we are now CDW’s preferred financing partner for their state, local government, and educational opportunities as well as their commercial opportunities. Within the context of the Dell relationship, we’ve launched a government finance program in Mexico. Within the context of our Agilent relationship, we’re expanding our vendor business beyond its present limitations in South Korea. And finally the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee selected Education Lending as its sole provider of educational finance during the first quarter. Now as you know, we made two significant acquisitions during the first quarter. The SunTrust factoring buy was a “bolt-on” acquisition that takes out significant costs, strengthens an existing business, and obviously solidifies our strong leadership position in that area. The other acquisition was more significant, Education Lending Group. And we want to report that since the beginning of the year, 63 new schools have added CIT to their preferred lender list bringing the number of schools to approximately 700 where we are a preferred lender. Additionally, we’ve initiated several discussions with several of our vendor partners who see additional opportunities for EDLG. So we’re very pleased with the developing potential of last quarter’s acquisition. This quarter, we also invested in our human capital by hiring several very talented and experienced professionals to assist in the sales and business development campaigns. First, Walter Owens joined us from GE Capital to lead our company wide sales initiatives. Second, Greg Smith joined us from Deloitte to lead our effort in providing merger and acquisition advisory services to our commercial customers in the middle market, a logical progression for our business. And finally, we continue to build our healthcare practice adding relationship managers and senior executives who will target large solid credit healthcare names in the middle market. Now we believe that the underlying business and economic trends continue to be favorable in many of our businesses giving us the strong start for 2005. Second quarter volumes typically higher than our seasonally weak first quarter should continue to expand as we move through the quarter. Capital Finance
  4. 4. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 4 will see the delivery of eight new jetliners in the second quarter. With the SunTrust acquisition volumes in factoring should expand in the second quarter. We also anticipate Asset Based Lending, Healthcare, Consumer, and Vendor all to do well in the second quarter and throughout 2005. And finally, Equipment Finance should pick up in volume after a very tough winter weather wise. As we said, we’ll continue to develop our vertical market strategy, implementing growth initiatives that do make our businesses more efficient and better serve our customers. On the acquisition front, we continue to explore opportunities that can leverage our existing businesses, allow us to redeploy capital, and better serve our existing markets. Finally, we anticipate continuing improvements in profitability as a result of our expense containment initiatives with greater efficiencies and lower headcount as we move through the year. In fact, based on the positive results from our more active management of our portfolio of businesses, we are revising certain performance targets for 2005. Looking ahead for the year, we see greater growth in earnings per share than our original target. So we are raising our target earnings per share growth for this year to 20% over 2004. Also in terms of return-on-tangible equity, having met our goal already in the first quarter, we’re setting our sites higher and establishing a new target for this year for return-on-tangible equity of 16%. In terms of growth in managed assets, we’re confident that we’ll deliver 16 to 18% growth in managed assets during this year with approximately 8% coming from the acquisition, the addition of Education Lending Group. And given the solid progress we made this quarter, we’re confident that we’ll realize an operating expense efficiency ratio of 39% for the full year. So all in all, we continue to make significant progress. And CIT is reenergized focus on the customer, on increasing sales, and improving profitability is beginning to show results. And now, I’d like to turn the discussion over of our financial results over to our Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer, Joe Leone. Joseph Leone: Good morning everyone. We have a lot of accomplishments this quarter. And our financial fundamentals continued to improve. All of our progress on the financial side may not be as apparent in our metrics, so I’d like to talk you through some of the details. Let’s start with growth. Jeff covered a lot of the headlines and I’ll try to add some additional color. We continued to focus on the appropriate
  5. 5. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 5 capitalization and risk-adjusted returns in our business. As you know, we sold about $400 million in non-strategic assets this quarter, $300 million of manufactured housing and almost $100 million of venture capital investments. Additionally, we took a close look at the risk profile and we syndicated or sold about $350 million, or over $350 million of commercial assets for risk management purposes. These were principally in Capital Finance, Business Credit, and Equipment Finance. On the Student Lending, EDLG front, new volume results were good. For the full quarter - we acquired the company mid-quarter, but for the full quarter ended March 31, 2005 volume from the school channel, one of our key strategic initiatives, was $214 million, up 69% from last year. And we continue to emphasize and invest in growth strategies in this channel. I think we’re off to a good start for our 2005 asset growth target. Credit. Credit was extremely strong. Net credit losses were 52 basis points, about the same as last quarter but recoveries were strong again at 17 basis points, down from an exceptional level of 30 basis points in Q4. The forward credit metrics are strong, delinquencies and non-performers and my view is that credit was even better in Q1 than it was in Q4. Shifting to the income statement, we made an accounting reclassification. We now classify rail and air maintenance costs on our operating leases in operating lease margin rather than operating expenses. As our air and rail fleets have increased, these costs will proportionately increase. So we made these changes to better align lease revenues with leasing expenses. And this change conforms to our internal business and pricing analytics. Let me give you an example in rail. Rail lessees have the option of maintaining equipment themselves or alternatively in a full service lease, having the lessor maintain the equipment. With maintenance costs and operating expense, full service leases have higher reported margins because of the higher rents received even though part of the rent was to cover expenses. The financial impact, the reclass reduces first quarter net interest margin and expenses by about $12 million. The fourth quarter 2004 impact was about $11 million and the full year 2004 impact was about $34 million. Summing it up, the change results in about a 10 basis point decrease in margins and a 1% improvement in efficiency ratio. We have restated the prior periods so the trends are comparable for your analysis. Margin. Margin was down. It was 3.54%, a little less than 3.7% excluding EDLG. This is down about 27 basis points from the prior quarter on a comparable basis and 13 basis points of that was from a one-time item.
  6. 6. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 6 Looking at the operating variances in margin, they relate to several items. We continue to finance debt at tighter spreads. That helps. The benefit was offset somewhat by short-term interest rates. And we continue to lengthen debt maturities and we had a slight shift to more fixed rate liabilities as we opted to take advantage of favorable market conditions and did some pre-funding late last quarter and in the first quarter. The net impact of these funding items was roughly an 8 basis point reduction in our margins. Operating leases contribute about a three basis point decline to the margin as the portfolio grows with concentrated longer lived assets like aircraft and railcars that typically earn thinner margins with lower operating costs as opposed to small ticket leasing. That said, pricing continues to improve in both air and rail with rentals up roughly 15% year-over-year. We did see a couple of basis point decline in our margin as a result of the sale of the manufactured housing portfolio. The gross spreads in that portfolio are high but so were charge offs. We thought that was a good trade off as we freed up capital. The pricing environment. The pricing environment in our lending business is very competitive, particularly in Business Credit and Equipment Finance. Leasing margins; however, are improved to stable as I mentioned with air and rail being better. Margins remained strong on the commercial side of Specialty Finance, especially in Small and Mid-ticket Leasing. Moving to other revenues - non-spread revenues - very strong quarter, $250 million, $240 million excluding the venture capital gain. This is up nicely sequentially year-over-year. These and other incomes were strong in Vendor Finance, Small Mid-ticket Leasing and Business Credit. Securitization gains were modest at $12 million, only 4% of pre-tax income. Expenses - we made real progress on operating expenses this quarter as Jeff said, and we’re laying a foundation for further meaningful improvement. Operating expenses were $260 million, slightly over $260 million for the quarter. This is a $17 million decrease from the fourth quarter excluding EDLG, and that is real progress in what we said we had to do as we successfully reduced certain fourth quarter items from our run rate. For example, legal costs declined partially reflecting the lower loan loss recovery. T&E expenditures were down, compliance costs decreased, so we had a decline incentive compensation. Partially offsetting these savings were increased investment in business development including healthcare buildup and higher FICA.
  7. 7. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 7 The lower expenses improved our efficiency ratio to 41% from a comparable 42% in the fourth quarter. Given the 1% reduction the operating lease re-class I described earlier had our efficiency ratio, our target for 2005 is now 39%. I want to be clear about that. The target for 2005 efficiency ratio is now 39%. We have more work to do and we’re doing it. In the second quarter we began executing on some productivity improvement initiatives. We’ve been discussing some of them with you, Jeff gave you some color. We are moving to a more consistent servicing model, standardizing data, unifying platforms. We think this is not only productivity improvement but customer service quality improvement. Let me give you some detail. In Specialty Finance we announced the consolidation of certain servicing platforms and leasing systems, specifically our New Jersey larger ticket technology leasing service center with about a quarter of a billion dollars in assets in about 6,000 accounts will be consolidated into our existing systems leasing platform in Bloomfield Hills. Our New Jersey small ticket leasing platform with a small amount of assets will be consolidated into our small-ticket leasing platform in Jacksonville. That’s a page out of the Europe Dublin consolidation that Jeff described earlier. Another word on that, internationally the integration of CitiCapital’s European business is complete. We consolidated 10 acquired leasing systems onto our own and moved the physical servicing into Dublin. This low cost consolidated European service center is a real competitive advantage to us and the above actions will have expense savings beginning in the second and third quarters. In Commercial Finance, Jeff described the approach on the vertical strategy and we put in place a senior functional leadership team from all the commercial businesses and larger ticket businesses in that group and this team is looking at efficiency enhancements across the platform. In corporate, we’ve taken specific measures to reduce expenses related to procurement whether its travel or telecom and the like, and we’re targeting a $10 million savings for 2005. We saw some of that in the first quarter. As the second quarter unfolds we’ll put more specific actions plans in place to streamline, and our overall target is 5% or about $50 million reduction from back office initiatives. These initiatives will enable us to improve productivity, obviously, and enable us to further invest in front office sales and positions in growth initiatives and improve revenues and help asset growth. All in all, we’re looking for 1% or more improvement in our efficiency ratio from these productivity measures. Taxes - income tax provision declined or improve to 36.75% from 39%. What did we do? First of all the significant increase in profitability of our
  8. 8. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 8 international operations with a driver - 1% of the reduction came from the fact that our European vendor finance business which is benefiting from strong leasing return and the platform consolidation we’ve described and the scale added by the CitiCapital acquisition, the higher profitability there reduced our overall tax rate by about 1%. The balance of the reduction, 1.25%, relates to a structure we put in place late in the first quarter leveraging recently approved legislation in the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004. This provides favorable U.S. tax treatment for long live assets held and operated offshore. Specifically, we will own and manage certain assets in Ireland to benefit from this lower tax rate there. Commercial aircraft are a perfect fit given the global nature of this business. And in the first quarter we restructured our aerospace business into two centers, one in New York for our North American fleet and one in Dublin for our international fleet. At the end of March we placed 15 aircraft in this Irish entity, some new and some existing aircraft, with a value of about $550 million and anticipate placing another 20 to 30 aircraft, $1 billion or so, there by the end of the year. When we look at that altogether, we got a 1% benefit in our consolidated tax rate from the aerospace initiative in Q1, a little over 1%, and we expect greater savings going forward. This improves the profitability of our commercial aerospace business. These transfers, the international profitability improvement I described, and other opportunities we’re evaluating could drive our consolidated effective tax rate to 36% or lower for the year 2005. Funding - as we look at our funding plan for the balance of the year, term debt issuance will be about $8 billion with about $2 billion from non-dollar markets, some out of Canada. We will continue to be active in the securitization market with equipment and vendor finance and education lending. Quarterly securitization volumes in vendor and equipment should average $1 billion. One other note on funding, we took advantage of our strong performance and extended our committed bank lines. We have $6.3 billion of our U.S. lines are now in multi-year facilities, no one year facility. Three lines are in three traunches expiring in 2008, 2009 and 2010. These lines provide us with unprecedented term liquidity and are stronger than the industry norm. Capital - strong end to the quarter, 9.6% tangible equity to managed assets, higher than our 9% capital required based upon our bottoms up risk based capital analysis. Jeff mentioned the increased dividends and the board approved an additional 5 million share increase for repurchase. These capital actions are consistent with our capital modeling and our asset growth targets.
  9. 9. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 9 A couple of final words on disclosure - we began reporting segment results this quarter on a risk-adjusted capital allocation approach and we showed you the prior periods for analytical comparison. We expanded the Specialty Finance disclosure in breaking out commercial and consumer. Consumer includes home lending, student lending, and our Utah bank. We include in our commentary key performance metrics with and without EDLG to help your analysis and we added a line in the balance sheet, non recourse secured borrowings to reflect the on-balance sheet securitizations of EDLG. And we now provide you, at your request charge-off data for both owned and managed assets. I hope these new disclosures are helpful to your further understanding of our outstanding businesses. And now Operator, I’d like to turn that over to you to open up the line for questions. Question: A couple of questions - first on the non-interest margin, if we were to normalize for EDLG and the one time item in the margin in the first quarter, what’s the expectation for the balance of the year. I mean, is it still correct to assume that it should be relatively stable or are market additions such that you’re bracing for a little bit more pressure? Answer: I think we tried to reflect that and we reflected that in the earnings release. We’re talking about risk-adjusted margin, our target for risk-adjusted margin is now between 3% and 3.2% and that’s down from 3.4% and 3.6% previous guidance. And the way to think about that is about 20 basis points or so of that is EDLG that decreased, and about 10 basis points or so is the accounting reclassification we made on the operating leases. And the other way to think about that is, in this environment, with short term rates going up and some pricing pressures due to liquidity in the market, we see that hurting margins a little bit. But on the flip side, and this has happened in all the cycles, I’ve been with this company for the last 20 years, is credit cost also improved because of higher liquidity. So, putting it together, most of the change is 20 basis points or so for EDLG and the remaining due to the re-class. Question: Okay, but in the fourth quarter I thought you had guided for credit losses in the range of 70 basis points. You’re running roughly 20 below that now, so that was part of why - I mean, are you assuming its going to stay in this 50, 55 basis point range?
  10. 10. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 10 Answer: The credit costs - we did say 80 bps without EDLG and 70 with, and as you can see we printed 52 bps already for the first quarter. And our thought on that is we are striving to do better than the 80 bps without the 70 with EDLG. Question: Okay. And then just switching gears on the asset growth front, how much growth was there in Home Equity in the quarter? Answer: I think net it was about $250 million. It went up about $500 million in the quarter, we had about $540 million of bulk purchases and about $250 million of sales. Question: And then just lastly, in this new grouping under Specialty Finance - commercial, the new business volume seemed to be down a little bit year- over-year and I was just wondering what’s behind that? Answer: Year-over-year Specialty Finance volume commercial had slightly lower volumes in the major vendor area. Question: And is that - you didn’t lose any vendor relationships, though? Answer: No. No, it’s just a function of the market. Question: I guess a quick follow up to that is, is the one-time accrual reversal, is that related to the major vendor - I guess you cited a little dip in the profitability of those programs. Are those all related to each other? Answer: Yes. That’s in Specialty Finance - commercial. Question: Okay. And maybe you discussed it and I missed it, but what was the nature of that? Was that just a - what was the nature of the reversed accrual? Answer: It was interest that had been previously accrued in numerous periods, prior periods, in small amounts in prior periods that were over-accrued due to some system change control issues that we corrected and fixed in the first quarter. Question: And then it looked like you guys obviously made a lot of progress in the quarter. One thing that maybe was a little on the weaker side was the average factoring rate or I guess actual profitability was down a hair. Is there anything systemic to that or what may be going on specifically in the pricing of Factoring? Answer: I think the commission rates continued to come down by a basis point. I think the other factor that’s going on there is the quotas coming off in China, so there have been more imports from China, a lot of volume at lower prices.
  11. 11. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 11 But I think the biggest issue there was just the commission rate was down a basis point or so. Question: Okay. I mean, do you expect things as you look forward to see a change from where the business has historically performed or is this a one-off thing? Answer: I think a one basis point reduction is - it’s a one-off thing. We don’t anticipate that the business is going to change dramatically. Question: Can you talk about the opportunity in Healthcare. Specifically what are you guys looking to finance? I know there are other ancillary companies that have focuses on such. Can you talk about exactly what types of receivables you’re looking to finance there? As well, I noted, Business Credit had some fairly significant growth this quarter. Could you talk about what went on there in asset based lending? And then finally, can you provide a little more granularity on the fee income growth quarter-to-quarter and how sustainable you think that is? Answer: Sure. Why don’t I talk a little bit about healthcare and I’ll let Joe handle the Business Credit and Fee Income. In Healthcare, we are investing in the human capital. We’re adding a number of people. At the end of the year we had about $800 million in healthcare and a $50 billion company with a sector of the economy that’s 18% to 19% of it. So we think we’re under loan there. And we anticipate that it’s a big opportunity. We think there are going to be at least three types of receivables that will generate; one would be - and we already do this, the Equipment Financing vendor relationships for imaging equipment and that type of thing. We’ve had a couple of those already. Secondly, would be some asset-based lending for various types of healthcare companies. And the third would be some conservative real estate lending to some of the - to some extended care facilities -- doctors, clinics, those types of things. So we are investing in the human capital and we’re getting very good people but those are the types of receivables we’d be looking for. And we’re recruiting experienced people. Business Credit. As you hear, there’s a great liquidity in the middle market and the lending markets but also there’s great demand. And the Business Credit unit has a terrific franchise, a great brand name, and are offered a lot of opportunities. So we’re seeing a lot of opportunities for growth capital so they had a very, very strong first quarter overall. That answers the second; the third question you asked on fees, Fees and Other Income were very strong throughout the franchises. I would say that Specialty Finance, Business Credit, in particular, were strong. Some of the
  12. 12. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 12 things that come to mind are strong fees on the lending business, syndication fees on some of the things we wanted to sell for risk management purposes. Better performance, improved performance on securitizations due to low prepayments, lower prepayments and very good credit quality. So our accretion improved slightly. But overall it is a very dry base in terms of profit on the front-end of getting into deals and on the back-end of getting out. So good performance throughout. Question: Okay. I mean if I may follow-up on some of the Business Credit. I mean typically, you guys have described that as more of a counter-cyclical business, right, if I’m correct, am I wrong? Answer: Yeah, no, I think that’s right. I have described that that way. We just happen to have a very focused group that had a particularly successful 2004 and continued into 2005. If I can say this, maybe we’re getting better at it. But, the market has a lot of growth capital and we’re meeting some of those needs so we’re - I’m real happy and proud of that team. We’d like to think that some of this growth that’s coming through is a result of the focus we’ve had on sales and growth over the last six months. Question: A couple questions; just a follow-up on that last question. Were the syndication fees for the risk management activities, were those significant? Answer: No, just sprinkled throughout. As I said before, it’s very broad-based in terms of nature and very broad-based in terms of units. Question: Okay. And the second question is the new business volume in the first quarter is seasonally weaker, it was a pretty dramatic decline quarter-over-quarter, yet asset growth was actually a little better than we expected. Can you help me reconcile like - does that mean that - does that imply as a much lower level of prepayment activity fourth quarter to first quarter? Answer: There was slightly - I mentioned that earlier. We saw a better performance in our securitization because of lower prepayments. Maybe I can try and follow all of your arithmetic but… Question: Well, I think you have $1 billion - $7 billion or so in your business line in the fourth quarter, less than $6 billion in the first quarter, yet the asset growth numbers are relatively similar. Answer: Yeah. I think it has somewhat to do with prepayment and somewhat to do with where we book the assets but I’d have to look at it closer. But yes, we
  13. 13. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 13 did see slightly lower level prepayments in certain areas although in certain other areas, the liquidations continue to be relatively not. Question: Okay. The last question is for higher level, just getting us from January to April, the change in earnings guidance. Can you just help me think about what was better than expected as you progressed through the quarter? The tax thing seems like it may have been one of the major drivers. But anything else that was running better than you thought as you went from January to April? Answer: To the tax thing was one thing. The other thing was, as we knew we would, we reduced expenses and we gave a little highlight on it, we’re spending quite a bit of time on some structural combinations on our platforms and headcount. And you will hear more from us throughout the year on how that’s going. So that - I would say those were the two - those were probably the two biggest drivers. And also, we got reasonably good growth for the first quarter, which, as you know seasonally is our weakest in the year. Question: Okay. And credit and margins were off-base there a little bit on that front? Answer: Yeah. Credit continue - the people continue to do a terrific job on credit. And as we talked earlier, we were guiding you to a higher number and they came back and did a terrific job. Question: Hi. Thanks, guys. Just another quick follow-up on the fee question; you had mentioned that a piece of it was related to better performance in the securitizations. Was there a one-time type of write-up in the fee income line? Answer: No. In the prior period, as prepayment increase, you have lower accretion and this, while we don’t have any increased prepayments, we don’t have to lower the accretion rate; that’s what I meant. Question: Okay. Good. But no change and assumptions or anything like that? Answer: No. No. I mean they’re always modifying throughout but that doesn’t mean you write-off the IO, that’s not the way it works; you get that going forward. Unless it goes the other way, then you get it current. Question: Okay. And then just on the reclassification of expenses, it looks like there was some - you changed not just the gross yield but also the depreciation. I was curious, when you restated the prior periods, are you also going to be restating operating lease balances for prior periods given the restated depreciation?
  14. 14. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 14 Answer: That’s a good question; I hadn’t thought about that. We had not. Yes, part of the adjustment goes through depreciation. I’ll have to take a look at that, you got me on that one. Question: Okay. And then just one last question, on the buyback, you had I think about 1.7 million shares remaining at the year-end. Can you give us an update of what you had remaining at quarter-end prior to the new 5 million share allotment? Answer: We had less than a million shares remaining the last I looked at it. Question: Yes. Thanks so much. I was wondering - I have a two-part question, the first one really is to the sub-prime home equity market. I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit from your perspective how that market is? I know you mentioned that you had over $500 million in bulk acquisitions. How is pricing? How has performance been? Is demand still pretty strong in that area? And then the second question relates to whether or not you’re seeing a lot of competition from banks in the asset-based lending space? Answer: I would say on the mortgage lending, the - in terms of pricing, we’re continuing to see pretty good pricing in terms of the levels we saw in the fourth quarter. Credit continues to be very good there. Obviously, with all that’s been written about the real estate markets, we watch that like a hawk. And volume seems to be somewhat volatile but doing better. I mean the - when we have - when a ten-year goes up 40 basis points in a week, we tend to have less volume. But all in all, that portfolio has been performing very well. In terms of competition, from that commercial banks and asset based lending, the ones that have designated subsidiaries to do that like a Wells or a Wachovia, sure, we see competition from them; that’s nothing new. Getting back to the point on the liquidity, particularly in the - making loans to the financial sponsors, the private equity guys, that’s probably been the area where there’s just unlimited competition from traditional players as well as new players like hedge funds and the investment banks; it’s very competitive. You’ve got - Business Credit did a terrific job to put together two quarters like they did in the face of that liquidity and competition. Question: A great quarter, guys. I was wondering based upon the situation with the airplanes coming on and off lease, what’s the outlook for the operating lease revenue recognition is in the next 12 to 18 months from - compared to now?
  15. 15. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 15 The cash flow from - I guess there are certain things coming off and there are new planes, and there are certain things that have to be renegotiated. So I’m wondering if we hit the…? Answer: Well, the basics of the portfolio - are we - our order book takes us into the middle of the second quarter for 2007. This year, we’re going to get about 20 new planes. We placed all of them on lease. The other thing that’s very important for us is we’re into the countdown between now and the end of the second quarter when all of our leases will have been renegotiated since 9/11. So we’ll actually - the difference will be most of these leases that we’ll be renewing after the first of July will have been renegotiated right after 9/11. So you should anticipate, not just for us but for the industry, that there’ll be kind of automatic increases in rates as opposed to automatic declines in rate. So our view on our aerospace portfolio frankly is improving; the lease rates are up, they were up 20% year-over-year last year; it’s moving some of the planes to a lower tax rate jurisdiction, obviously, also helps the returns. So it’s performing much better than it did a year ago. Question: Thanks. A couple of questions please. Jeff, you talked about Walter Owens joining. Can you give us a sense of what your top couple of priorities are? Answer: Sure. Sure. First, it’s just - Walter just presented to our Board his plan for the first 100 days. And first two or three things; one, assessing just the quality of sales management and the quality of sales talent we have across our businesses; secondly, trying to get some metrics on pipeline. For all of your businesses, what are our conversion rates? How many new business leads actually end up being a piece of committed business? Do we have the right number of salesmen for various sales territories? So this is the first time we’ve had somebody at a high level look at all our sales forces. Typically, the sales function has been within the business unit and reported to the General Manager. So our Sales Managers now will report to the General Manager - the CEO of their business unit as well as to Walter. We have about 1,400 salesmen across CIT and this is the first time that we’ll actually start to have a view across the business units of what the metrics are in terms of how good they are and what they can produce, compensation, cross-selling, those types of things. So it’s quite a load but I think Walter has given every indication his first two months here that he’s up to it. So we’re quite excited about that.
  16. 16. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 16 Question: Great. And so the - I guess after the first 100 days, he’s going to follow-up with the Board with conclusions? Answer: Yeah. And also, two things; his coming on board has been very timely, one, because we started our first sales summit last summer so we’ll get all of our Sales Managers together again at the end of June and then we’ll have regional sales summits for all of our sales people in the second half of the year. And in addition to that, I think as you know, we’re doing quite a bit of work with Bain on strategic planning, evaluating our businesses, returns, that type of thing. So he comes on at a very good time because his examination of markets and that type of thing obviously benefits from what’s coming out of our Bain planning process. Question: Okay. Thanks. And the second question, please; if - you mentioned a number of extensions of existing vendor relationships, but how is the progress on identifying and pursuing new ones? Answer: Well, we continue to work on that. We call it elephant hunting. We’ve added two sales executives in the last four months to really just call on large vendor- type clients, first in the technology sector and then beyond that. So we continue to - we continue to look at that and have added some sales executives. Question: And is the target still at the pace of one a year? Answer: Yeah, we’d love to. We’re - we’ve got some close we’d like to announce some here in the second quarter. Question: With the shift of your aerospace business, the bulk of it moving overseas, I was hoping you can just comment on your perspective on the health of the market for aerospace outside the U.S.? Answer: Well, the - it’s clearly healthier than it is in the U.S. If you go to Asia, it can almost be a growth business. So - and as you know, probably 80% of our planes now are leased to non-U.S. operators. So if you think where we were five years ago, the conclusion is that the vast majority of planes that we’ve added over the last couple years have been leased to non-U.S. operators. So we, we’re significantly more positive on the business on Europe and Asia then we are in the U.S. Question: Thanks. Wondering if you could help us understand the trajectory of growth as the year plays on. Because you did 2.5% this quarter, excluding EDLG looks like you’re still targeting 6-8% without EDLG. And so I’m kind of
  17. 17. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 17 wondering, given the strength of Q1 are you just - is there something unusual in Q1 or is this just - you’re going to take a conservative approach and if you beat it you beat it. Answer: I think our EDLG accounted for about 8% of assets, and so the 16 to 18% revised guidance on that was in keeping with our 8 to 10% plus EDLG. Question: So you’re, I mean, you’re tracking at the high end and Q1 is normally, seasonally the weakest, so it would suggest that you guys are tracking somewhat above 10%, unless something - the end markets deteriorate at some point this year. Answer: I think it’s a conservative estimate. And you know Piedmont was also part of the first quarter. SunTrust Factoring, excuse me. Question: That’s helpful. In the press release you mentioned EDLG was break even after funding costs. Is that, when you say funding costs, you mean the premium you paid or the actual debt cost? In the press release you mentioned EDLG was break even for the quarter after funding costs. What is funding costs? Is that the debt costs or is that the premium you paid for the deal? Answer: That’s funding the premium. Obviously the funding costs for the basic operations within the operation, operating P & L. We also have to cover the cost to finance the premium, which we did with debt. That’s, what is debt. Question: Okay. So that, I mean, that’s a, given your trajectory in terms of the volumes you saw in the quarter it might bode well for the, relative to your neutral guidance in 2005? Answer: Yeah. Our objective is what we said in January that we were neutral. There was no dilution or accretion expected from the EDLG acquisition in 2005. Our mission is to do better than that. And I think the team got off to a very fast start in terms of the first quarter. Just so you’re clear, those volumes I quoted were the volumes for the operations for the entire quarter. Not for our period of ownership, because our period of ownership was just sort of an arbitrary date. Just so you know that’s a full quarter. I just want to be clear on that. Question: Right. No, I understood. And then just lastly the, I think you guys were still kind of talking about where the servicing platform is going to be located for EDLG. Do you have any updates there? Answer: Well clearly we want to service those on ourselves. That’s a, that’s another key objective.
  18. 18. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 18 The key objectives are; build a school channel, good progress. Beat the neutral we’re off to a good start in terms of the first quarter being relatively neutral. And third is to get the servicing in house. And that’s what we’re hard at work at. Question: But it’s safe to say no decisions have been made about where that’s going to be with EDLG, in their location or your location in Texas? Answer: No, our focus is on bringing it in house and we’ll review that as the year progresses. Question: Good morning. Good quarter. Have you guys given any additional though on how you’re going to run down or exit the aircraft leasing business, once you take your last delivery in 2007? And then secondly, given the improvements in lease rates that you mentioned and secondary aircraft sales, have you re- thought your decision to exit that market? And could we see you guys think about maybe turning your decision around? Answer: Well I think that the, just to be clear, I think that what we always said was that we would not - we would not sign additional orders for new planes until we saw an improvement. Until basically the business could meet our corporate hurdle rates of return-on-equity of 15% with a risk-adjusted capital allocation. And that’s still where we are, I don’t think we ever said that we were going to exit the business. And, we have deliveries for another 24 months here. And so we obviously have to come to that strategic decision, at a point here in the future. But as we said, the businesses probably improved more than we would have thought, in terms of lease rates. Okay. So it’s a good issue. I just think you’re a little bit ahead of us in terms of our decision making. Question: Good afternoon and nice quarter. Most of my questions have been asked and answered, but let me just ask a couple of, couple of quick ones. First of all in terms of the pay-out ratio, are you expecting the pay-out ratio to move up with the increased dividend over the next couple of years? Answer: We said -- and the dividend increase is consistent with all of our prior statements here -- is we’re looking at a 15 to 20% pay out ratio. And the decision on the recent dividend was consistent with that philosophy. Question: So that hasn’t changed at all. Great.
  19. 19. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 19 In terms of the, some of the Sarbanes-Oxley related issues in your 10K can you give us an update as to where the systems ameliorations stands and what the timeline is for that? Answer: Yeah. We made good progress in the first quarter. And the issue relates to income taxes and creating a tax basis balance sheet where for every individual asset we have a tax basis as well as a book basis. In effect creating another set of full books for the balance sheet for taxes. We made good progress in some of our smaller ticket leasing platforms in putting together that detailed, very detailed balance sheet. Our expectation and our target is to resolve the control situation by mid-year to the third quarter. That was our plan in the first quarter progress keeps us on that time line. Joseph Leone: Operator, before you go to another question somebody had asked earlier about the re-class and how does it affect the balance sheet. Since we were already recording that as a reduction through operating expenses the asset was already reduced. So we don’t need to reduce the asset again for the re-class, just the re-class on the income statement. Okay operator, you can take it again. Question: Thanks. Some variations of this have already been asked. But you mentioned that you expected volume to improve, less run off in the second quarter, you know better factoring, better aircraft. And I would assume also that given the increase in interest rates probably a pretty good quarter on the, on the student lending front. Does that mean that you will do less bulk purchase of home equity? Is that something that won’t be in the mix as much as we go forward? Answer: We evaluate that on a transaction by transaction basis. So, I wouldn’t come to that conclusion because we haven’t made that decision. We probably don’t look at it that way actually. Question: So it’s not, - but it’s not like you’ve got a finite amount of capital that you’re allocating across the businesses. It’s that you think there’s room to expand more. Answer: Yeah, we think we’ve got - we’ve got some, as we’ve always said we like getting margin in our capital. It allows us to move quickly. To seize some opportunities and given our new capital allocation levels we can see pretty quickly, evaluate what the return on a particular buy is. That type of thing.
  20. 20. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 20 Question: Just a quick follow up. I may have missed this, but you mentioned there was some sales out of the home equity portfolio? Answer: Yeah, as we do all the time to manage risk. We not only make bulk acquisitions, we make bulk sales. To manage the overall portfolio to the target demographics we’ve shared with the market over the last three to six months. So I think the numbers are about $500 million in portfolio acquisitions and about $250 million in portfolio sales. Question: And they differed from the other portfolio in terms of demographics of the borrowers? Answer: Yeah. We have a target, if you look at our website, we outline all the demographics, in terms of LTV and borrower demographics and we want our risk profile to be right in the mid-range of those targets. And when we throw out our marketing net we bring in other types of loans that we want to sell through for other reasons. Question: Hey, good morning. I had a couple of questions. First question was for Joe. My understanding was that with the acquisition of EDLG you would be recording some - you would be amortizing some intangibles associated with that acquisition. Is that correct? And if so what was the amount of the amortization you actually recorded in the P&L this quarter? Answer: It’s about $100 million in round numbers. We said we would allocate it to the portfolio, the assets and the amortization is not a big number in, you know a partial quarter. Question: Okay. And then the other question I had was just looking at the returns on risk-adjusted capital in your Equipment Finance businesses seems to be the lowest, of all your businesses. How should we think or how do you think about allocating capital for new business volumes in that business. I mean should we be thinking of it as, you know, you should be having zero new business volume in that business and allocating all of the capital to other more profitable businesses? If you could just share your perspective on that? Answer: Sure. Well I think the, you know, as you can see over the past two quarters that business has not grown significantly. Some of it’s been liquidating portfolios that we thought were good to get out of on the balance sheet. But we are, because its returns have not been as good as some of the other businesses. We naturally look to the other businesses to allocate new capital to those.
  21. 21. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 21 And the leadership team there’s done a terrific job in year-over-year improvement, but their returns still lag the required hurdles. And we’re aware of that and we’re working on that pretty hard. Question: Okay. And then one other question I had was, you talked a little bit about some changes to sales force and specifically you had mentioned how you wanted to change the sales force so that it was more client focused as opposed to currently being more siloed and product focused. Am I correct in understanding that within the next 100 days that a change to the sales force structure will be complete or is that something that we should expect to see over the next two or three quarters? Answer: Oh no. I think it’ll take - it’ll take the next three to six quarters to get where we want to get to. But we’ve got a good start and we have several of these verticals established and we’re filling out. And the idea is just to be able to sell more than one product to a customer. Question: On your growth, organic growth assumes continue - a turn around in Equipment Finance and I might have missed this. I came on a little bit late. But Equipment Finance looked like it was down a little in the quarter. Or is that assuming a pick up in growth again. I know you said that’s one of the tougher, more competitive businesses. And then just, is there any chance of following your success on aircraft lending overseas with the Equipment Finance say in Asia, given the heated markets? And the other thing, and this is kind of far out but in the fourth quarter any change in the way you’re doing comp, bonuses, etcetera in the event that you do hit these higher EPS numbers. Will there be a bump in the comp numbers in the fourth quarter again? Answer: Okay. Let me try and take this one from the top. In terms of Equipment Finance, I don’t think we’re, we think the second quarter will be better in line than the first quarter. I don’t think we’re looking for any out - untoward growth in that particular portfolio. Okay? So I would say our guidance on growth is probably based more on the breadth of the portfolio, across all of our businesses than on any single business unit such as Equipment Finance having a just a shoot the lights out quarter. All right? And let me go to the compensation question. Then I’m going to let Joe talk about Asia.
  22. 22. CIT Moderator: Valerie Gerard 01-19-05/10:00 am CT Confirmation # 3102269 Page 22 You know, on the compensation issue, the way our compensation works is our bonuses are tied to our plan. So for the bonus pool to be as big in December of 2005 as it was in 2004, we would have to be up 15% in earnings per share. See what I’m saying? So that the bar gets higher every year, so we would have to significantly beat our target financially for the bonus pool to grow. Couple of additional comments on your questions. First of all, in Equipment Finance quarter–to-quarter there’s a footnote on the table, I want to make sure everybody’s read it. We moved $400 million of the assets in the first quarter from Equipment Finance into Business Credit. It relates to our sports and gaming franchises business, which we felt was a better fit as a Business Credit operation. So factor that into your forward looking trend. Asian, interesting opportunity for us. I spent some time over there on a variety of fronts. I think we’ve got a very good operation there. It’s small. Our strategy right now is to evaluate it. But our strategy right now is to work through vendor finance partners. We think that’s the appropriate approach. And as we have more to say on that front, we will. Jeffrey Peek: I think we’ll turn it back to Valerie Gerard for a couple closing comments. Valerie? Valerie Gerard: Thanks a lot, Jeff. Once again everyone thanks for your time today. As always, Investor Relations will be posting the prepared remarks from this presentation on our website in about an hour, and we will have a complete transcript posted on the Web site by tomorrow. That’s it. Steve, Pam and I are around to answer any questions that you may have. So thanks very much, have a great day. Operator: This concludes today’s conference call. You may now disconnect. END