In This Section
2022 Inductee, CIT Commercial Services
Marc Heller is president of CIT Commercial Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of First Citizens Bank. Commercial Services is one of the nation’s leading providers of factoring and lending services to the apparel, textiles, furniture, home furnishings, housewares, consumer electronics and consumer products industries.
Heller joined CIT in January 2004 when CIT acquired the factoring portfolio of HSBC. He was previously the Executive Vice President and New York Regional Manager of HSBC Business Credit (USA) Inc. Heller had been with HSBC and its predecessor, Republic Business Credit Corporation, since 1991 and has served in the financial services industry since 1970.
Heller is a recipient of numerous industry awards, including the Financial Services Industries Award from the American Jewish Congress; the Leadership in Education Award from the New York Institute of Credit; the Community Achievement Award from ORT; and the Top Hat Award and Partner in Kindness Award from Sephardic Bikur Holim.
Heller is a founding member and former Executive Board member of “Fashion Delivers,” now Delivering Good, a charitable foundation mobilizing leading retailers and manufacturers to help youth and their families in need. He is a board member for the Father’s Day/ Mother’s Day Committee, which addresses issues affecting mothers, fathers and children. He graduated from Queens College with a bachelor’s degree in economics.
What advice would you offer to someone just starting out in the industry?
The world has changed significantly in many ways since the global pandemic hit. But what hasn’t changed in this business, and many others, is the need to build strong relationships within the industry and with the clients. That’s how you really get to know a business and how it works. And most especially, you really have to know your clients. There’s just no substitute for that, in good times or bad.
What are some of the most memorable moments of your career?
The recent merger of CIT with First Citizens Bank is certainly up there on the list of most memorable moments, even in my very long career. And of course, the ongoing global pandemic is clearly unforgettable for many reasons. Imagine locking down New York City and dozens of other metropolises across the world! But that’s exactly what happened and we’re still seeing the repercussions more than 2 1/2 year later. And then we can’t forget the financial crisis. It may seem far away now, but it’s fair to say that the nation’s entire financial system was hanging in the balance there for a while.
What professional achievement are you most proud of?
The relationships that I’ve made and maintained through the years with clients and industry associates are some of the biggest achievements I’ve had. And it’s something I never take for granted. I’ve had clients that stayed with me and CIT through the bankruptcy during the financial crisis. That we survived is truly a miracle and a testament to the relationships we’d established across the company. Through my long career, the industry has gone through massive consolidations. Having been on the selling side most of the times, I was blessed by being a key player to the acquirer, enabling me to protect my team and the clients. As for my associates, I’ve been privileged in my career to learn from some of the best in the industry and that has made me a better leader. I’m also proud to say that many of the people who worked beside me and for me have enjoyed very long successful careers.
How did you get your start in the industry?
In June 1970, I was wearing my only suit – Navy blue wool – and walking around Manhattan in search of a job. It was really hot and I was scheduled to meet my father at the end of the day, so we could go home together. Shortly before that, I stepped into an office building in the fashion district to wash up. When I came out, someone asked me if I was here for a job, either in sales or credit. I was looking for a job, so, I said, “Sure!” but felt credit was a better fit. I didn’t even know what the company did, but I’ve always been a hard worker and felt comfortable tying fashion, relationships with credit analysis and 52 years later, I know I made the right decision.