CIT Small Business Financing: 2022 Review

CIT, a division of First Citizens Bank, offers working capital loans, equipment financing, SBA 504/CDC loans for owner-occupied commercial real estate, conventional owner-occupied commercial real estate loans and franchise financing. The company also offers data integration and invoicing, and merchant services like payment acceptance and advanced point-of-sale solutions.

Small businesses are required to have been in business for two years, which means that this lender is a good fit for established businesses.

Overview: Amounts, rates and fees

CIT offers equipment financing, working capital loans, commercial real estate loans and SBA loans to small businesses. Read on for our CIT review.

CIT Financing At a Glance

Financing productAmountTermsStarting rateFeesMin. credit score
Equipment financingUp to $500,0006 to 72 months5.49% annual interest ratesNot disclosedNot disclosed
Working capital loansUp to $150,0006 to 15 monthsNot disclosedNot disclosedNot disclosed
SBA 504/CDC loan$250,000 to $13,750,000Up to 300 months for buying owner-occupied commercial real estateNot disclosedNot disclosed660
Conventional owner-occupied commercial real estate$250,000 to $10,000,000Information Not Available monthsNot disclosedNot disclosed660
Franchise financing$2,000 to $500,0006 to 84 monthsNot disclosedNot disclosedNot disclosed

Equipment financing

CIT offers equipment financing up to $500,000, with a term length of 6 to 72 months. Borrowers can use this financing to purchase equipment of many kinds, commercial vehicles, or technology such as POS terminals. Rates start at 5.49% annual interest rates for qualified customers, and financing can be available in as little as one day. Repayment typically occurs monthly, but CIT offers seasonal and deferred payment options as well.

CIT offers three equipment financing options:

  • $1 Buyout, which allows the borrower the option to purchase the equipment at the end of the lease for $1.
  • Fair Market Value, which allows borrowers to secure a lower lease payment and requires them to either purchase or return the equipment at the end of the term.
  • Net Terms, which offers a buy-now-pay-later options with financing for 30, 60 or 90 days.

Working capital loans

CIT offers working capital loans up to $150,000 to help cover everyday business expenses such as purchasing inventory, assisting in cash flow management and creating marketing campaigns.  Terms range between 6 and 15 months and repayment is deducted automatically through daily or weekly debits from your checking accounts. CIT does not publicly disclose its rates for working capital loans, so the precise interest rates you’ll qualify for will depend on your credit score and other factors. CIT approves these loans quickly, sometimes offering same-day financing.

SBA 504/CDC loans

CIT’s SBA 504 loans are available from $250,000 up to $13,750,000 for the purchase or refinance of owner-occupied commercial real estate or fixed equipment. Loans are made in conjunction with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and a certified development company (CDC), and feature long repayment times of up to 300 months. CIT restricts 504/CDC loans to applicants in all non-judicial foreclosure states, which means that the lender doesn’t need to go to court in the case of a foreclosure on the loan. Borrowers need a minimum FICO of 660 to qualify for an SBA 504 loan with CIT.

Conventional owner-occupied commercial real estate

Conventional owner-occupied commercial real estate loans are available in California only and do not include the participation of the SBA or a CDC. They are like the SBA 504/CDC loans in many other ways, however. Borrowers can secure amounts from $250,000 to $10,000,000 with a term of 120 months for buying or refinancing owner-occupied commercial real estate. As with the SBA loans, borrowers must have a FICO score of at least 660 to qualify.

Franchise financing

CIT’s franchise financing is available in amounts from $2,000 to $500,000, with terms of 6 to 84 months, and can be used to help franchise owners expand by opening new stores, improve property, remodel, upgrade equipment or technology and access working capital. CIT offers three types of franchise financing products: equipment loans for franchises, acquisition loans for franchises, and working capital loans for franchises.

Requirements: Are you eligible?

The loan requirements for CIT small business financing aren’t fully transparent. Applicants must have been in business for two years to qualify for CIT funding, although CIT does sometimes fund startups with less experience if their credit score meets an undisclosed threshold. CIT also does not publicly disclose the annual revenue applicants need to qualify for loans.

With the exception of CDC and commercial real estate loans, the lender does not publicly disclose its minimum credit score. This means that potential borrowers would have to submit an application to determine their eligibility.

While CIT does not disclose if there are any industries that they don’t fund, CDC/504 loans are restricted to states that do not allow judicial foreclosures. You’ll have to check with the laws in your state to determine if you’re eligible.

Pros and Cons of CIT

  • CIT offers a range of funding options.
  • Little information is publicly available about eligibility for many of CIT’s products.
  • Loan amounts can accommodate a wide range of business needs.
  • Applicants must generally have been in business for two years.
  • Financing can be available in as little as one business day.
  • CIT’s interest rates vary depending on borrower profile, with little publicly available. 

Review: Should you apply?

A major drawback of CIT is its lack of transparent eligibility information and rate information. It is hard to know ahead of time whether you might qualify and what you might end up paying to access your loans. Potential borrowers may have to submit an application before learning what rates they’d qualify for.

That said, CIT does offer a range of useful financial products and could be a good option for borrowers with decent credit looking for owner-occupied real estate loans of up to almost $14 million.

Alternatives to CIT small business loans

Many other lenders provide more information about eligibility, rates, and terms, which may make them more attractive options than CIT.

CIT vs. Bank of America

Bank of America offers a variety of comparable loan products to CIT. For example, Bank of America offers an unsecured business loan for $10,000 to $100,000 with a term of 12 to 60 months, while CIT’s working capital loans are up to $150,000 with a term of 6 to 15 months. Bank of America also offers equipment financing, commercial real estate loans, and SBA loans with amounts and terms similar to CIT.

CIT vs. National Funding

National Funding is an online lender particularly accessible to those with poor credit. National Funding’s term loans have a similar daily or weekly repayment schedule to CIT’s working capital loans, but National Funding’s offers much higher amounts and for longer terms than CIT — up to $500,000 with terms extending up to 24 months. CIT’s equipment financing goes up to $500,000, but has shorter term lengths of 6 to 72 months and a slightly higher rate, starting at 5.49%.

CIT vs. Commercial Fleet Financing

Like CIT, Commercial Fleet Financing offers commercial equipment loans. Commercial Fleet Financing’s loans start at $10,000, but the company doesn’t publish loan maximums, while CIT equipment loans can reach up to $500,000. Commercial Fleet Financing’s equipment loans have terms of 36 to 108 months, while CIT’s only go up to 72 months. Both companies offer the option to purchase equipment at the end of the loan or lease agreement.