The Lehman Bros. of 2009

Here comes another financial systemic risk crisis. The drama du jour is at CIT, a commercial lender not to be confused with Citigroup.

CIT is a small-to-midsize business lender that actually has a lot more in common with Lehman Bros. Like Lehman, the company’s business model is reliant on debt and easy credit — CIT relies on money borrowed from capital markets to finance its loans. And also like Lehman, CIT is saddled with debt of its own — about $35 billion worth.

Having already bailed out CIT with $2.3 billion in TARP bucks, the Obama administration gave the company the cold shoulder (thank heavens) when CIT came knocking for more earlier this week. Evidently, their moronic board was counting on renewed government aid. Now the company has just a matter of days to raise as much as $3 billion. Fat chance, says the market:


This time last week, we compared some eerie similarities between 2008 and 2009… investor attitudes, market behavior and economic indicators are lining up a bit too close for comfort. And now this — what would be the biggest banking failure since Lehman. Oy, could get interesting. Most media outlets are downplaying CIT’s peril, but we’re not so quick to brush it off. Its bankruptcy won’t likely produce a Lehman style meltdown, but on Monday, tens of thousands of businesses might not have a primary source of financing. In this credit environment, do you think it’ll be easy for them to get fast loans from someone else?

The Daily Reckoning