Arthur O. Dietz

Inducted 1983

Distinguished Service Citation Award 1954

Launched a personal crusade to offer motor vehicles to retail buyers on the installment plan

Served as President of C.I.T. Financial Corporation from 1937 through 1960, advancing to Chairman in 1960

Arthur Dietz believed in giving automobile buyers credit where credit was due. When Dietz joined C.I.T. Financial Corporation as a sales representative, the only way a prospective customer could purchase a car or truck was with cash. Recognizing an opportunity to place a new vehicle within financial reach of most people, Dietz led the crusade to permit consumers to purchase motor vehicles on credit. While economic experts argued against creating debt and industry leaders opposed the idea of selling on credit, Dietz campaigned on behalf of the consumer. Throughout the Great Depression, Dietz’s faith in consumer honesty was repeatedly justified. Although some financial institutions failed, C.I. T. remained solvent and 98 percent of the company’s consumer auto loans were paid in full. Many banks and auto manufacturers took notice, and began changing their minds and their policies about consumer financing. Believing that credit purchasing was a valuable service to society, Dietz said: “The better life which more Americans are enjoying creates an atmosphere in which tensions disappear.”

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