CED Interviews CIT's Keller - Industry Beat
Construction Equipment Distribution magazine is published by the Associated Equipment Distributors, a nonprofit trade association founded in 1919, whose membership is primarily comprised of the leading equipment dealerships and rental companies in the U.S. and Canada. AED membership also includes equipment manufacturers and industry-service firms. CED magazine has been published continuously since 1920. Associated Equipment Distributors
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CED Interviews CIT's Keller

CED Magazine November 2005

Article Date: 11-01-2005
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

Roy W. Keller, president of CIT Construction, retires.

CED: Looking back, what were some of CIT's biggest accomplishments in the construction financing business during your 27 years with the company?

Keller: CIT has held a leadership position in construction financing for more than 50 years. During the 27 years I've been with the company, we've built an experienced and talented organization of people dedicated to serving the needs of construction industry manufacturers, dealers and end users.

While CIT has had a number of significant accomplishments over the years, they can all be summed up in the simple fact that we have had some of our clients for more than 50 years. It speaks volumes about CIT's ability to maintain and grow relationships, as well as meet the changing needs of our customers, especially since we are now working with many second- and third-generation owners.

These relationships have been keys to CIT's success through the years.

CED: In your nearly three decades in the industry, has it changed?

Keller: The answer to this question is both yes and no. The industry has changed as it relates to the speed and method of communication and doing business. What used to be measured in days is now measured in hours, if not minutes.

Technology has improved the speed and availability of information, and has made location and distance less important. On the other hand, trust, commitment, service, and personal relationships are still critical components of doing business. You don't develop and maintain repetitive business with customers over decades without those qualities, and those qualities are people-driven.

CED: How do today's advances in technology as a means of communication impact the construction financing industry?

Keller: Advances in technology are helpful to the construction financing industry. Since information and speed are critical to financial decision-making, technology helps us gather and evaluate data, as well as communicate more quickly and accurately than ever before. Transactions can now be submitted, approved, documented and funded in minutes.

CED: Major corporations are often criticized today for losing their personal touch with clients. Is the construction financing industry guilty of this?

Keller: I think there is a challenge in balancing the need for a personal touch and satisfying today's need for instantaneous responses. The fact is there is no substitute for a personal relationship with someone who cares and has knowledge of your business.

However, when you want an immediate answer to something that can be provided automatically or electronically, you don't want to wait for a call back. The trick is balance. I think this will always be a work in process.

CED: CIT recently underwent reorganization and created a construction-focused division. What is the reasoning behind this and who will be its leader now that you are retiring?

Keller: CIT has always had a strong focus on equipment financing for the construction industry, as it has always been a core business. With CIT's recent reorganization from a product-based to an industry-based company, we are now able to offer all of CIT's products and services to our construction clients. In addition to equipment financing, clients have access to other products and services, including asset-based lending, access to capital markets, and merger and acquisition services.

Now that I am retiring, Ron Riecks, a 27-year veteran of CIT with extensive construction industry experience, will lead the new CIT Construction. He has been a key player in the ongoing success of CIT's construction industry financing division and has held a number of key leadership positions including his most recent position as executive vice president, CIT Equipment Finance. There is no one better suited to take over the reins of CIT Construction.

CED: Do you have any special last words as you leave CIT?

Keller: I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you in the construction industry for the rich experiences and wonderful relationships I have enjoyed during the past 27 years.

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