6 Unanswered Questions about the CIT Group and OneWest Merger

Tomorrow, CIT Group releases its earnings call for Q4.  CIT Group is also in the middle of a proposed bank merger with OneWest Bank, a merger that the California Reinvestment Coalition and 70 other organizations are opposing.  A few questions about the merger are included below.

1) There are over 70 state and national organizations currently opposing your proposed merger with OneWest Bank.  A new petition, started last Friday, already has over 10,000 signatures, urging the Federal Reserve to reject this proposed merger.  How is the bank leadership responding to this opposition?

2) Along with this proposed merger, and bank leadership claims the bank is ready to become Too Big to Fail, there has been a renewed focus on the $2.3 billion TARP bailout provided to CIT Group in 2008 that has not yet been repaid. Do you anticipate paying taxpayers any of this money back?

3) According to the LA Times, this merger provides generous compensation to bank investors and officers, in some cases for part-time work.  How do you justify paying Steve Mnuchin $4.5 million annually for part-time work?  Under the proposed merger, he would serve as Executive Vice Chairman at CIT Group while also running his hedge fund, Dune Capital.

4) OneWest Bank has come under fire recently for its practices related to foreclosures on widows and other similarly situated family members when a reverse mortgage borrower passes away.  See this story, for example: NFM sisters chained to home to protest reverse mortgage.  Are you concerned about these practices?  Does CIT Group or OneWest bank have any plans on working with HUD to update this policy so more widows aren’t thrown out of their homes?

5) Met Life is suing the federal government over its SIFI designation.  Does CIT Group have any similar plans since your proposed merger would also entail a SIFI designation?

6)  According to a new poll, the majority of Americans want Too Big To Fail banks broken up.   And yet, you’re planning on the first ever bank merger to create a Too Big To Fail bank.  Any thoughts on this poll?

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