UPDATE 1-Lender CIT profit beats estimates as interest expense falls
* Third-qtr earnings 99 cents/shr vs loss of $1.49 year earlier
* Interest payment on long-term debt down 70 pct
Oct 22 (Reuters) - CIT Group Inc reported its third straight quarterly profit that also beat analysts' estimates as the century-old small-business lender benefited from lower interest payments on its long-term debt.
CIT, led by former Merrill Lynch Chief Executive John Thain, said interest payments on its long-term debt fell 70 percent to $233.8 million in the third quarter.
The New York-based lender has been refinancing its long-term debt, helping the company reduce its interest burden and improve its earnings. The company has $21.39 billion in long-term debt.
CIT reported net income of $199.6 million, or 99 cents per share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $299.2 million, or $1.49 per share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of 94 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"Our third-quarter results reflect our progress in prudently growing assets, expanding CIT Bank, and returning capital to our shareholders," said Thain. 3/8
CIT filed for bankruptcy in 2009 after a debt exchange offer and bailout talks failed. The bank emerged from Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection later that year. Thain was named CEO in February 2010 to restructure the company's operations as it struggled with losses on subprime mortgage assets.
Shares of CIT, which has a market value of more than $10 billion, closed at $50.97 on the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.