CIT Group seeks to play "a meaningful role" in the marketplace as a lender of capital for new and used aircraft.
Last week, through its CIT Bank subsidiary, CIT Group funded its first new aircraft delivery with a $40 million loan to Dubai Aerospace Enterprise to finance a Boeing 777-200F on lease to Emirates Airline.
As part of the transaction, CIT Aerospace served as asset tranche lender for the transaction, while NordLB acted as the credit tranche lender.
"We do not have specific targets on volume, but we do have sufficient capital to play a meaningful role and support various buyers' needs for financing of new and used aircraft," says John Morabito, senior vice president, financial institutions group, CIT Aerospace in an interview with Flightglobal.
CIT traditionally "has been more active" in financing mid-life to older aircraft, but "given some of the dynamics in the marketplace", the financier is becoming "more involved" in financing new or newer aircraft, including narrowbody and widebody aircraft, says Morabito.
"CIT is unique in that we are both a lessor and a lender," he says. "We have a unique value proposition for the marketplace with an ability to be solutions oriented, which allows us to finance both new and used aircraft as well as look at full pay-out tranches or asset tranches."
The financier has been actively looking for opportunities to provide debt to the aviation sector, following its activity with various US airlines earlier this year.
In June, CIT Bank upsized a five-year loan facility covering three Boeing 747-400 and two 767-300ER aircraft for Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings, the parent company of Atlas Air. The move followed an earlier deal in April in which the bank closed a $35.7 million secured loan facility with Atlas to back leverage two 747-400s and two 767-300ERs.
However, it was CIT Aerospace's purchase of a loan portfolio from an undisclosed European bank last year that kick-started its debt funding activity again. The lessor bought up the debt positions with four US airlines through the purchase.
"We were active as debt providers a few years ago and then we pulled back, but now we are seeing opportunities that did not exist before," said Jeffrey Knittel, president of CIT transportation finance in an interview with Flightglobal in July.
The lessor is not alone in its efforts - tighter banking regulation and fewer European lenders to the sector have prompted various financiers, such as private equity firms and insurance companies, to consider entering the aviation market as debt providers.