(REUTERS) -- CIT Group Inc., the business lender led by former Merrill Lynch Chief Executive John Thain, said its quarterly profit fell 59 percent on lower interest income.

Fourth-quarter net income was $33.9 million, or 17 cents a share compared with $83.2 million, or 41 cents a share, a year ago.

The small and mid-market lender, which emerged from one of the largest bankruptcies in U.S. history in December 2009, posted a total interest income of $492.4 million, a fall of 35 percent from the previous year.

Shares of the New York-based company closed at $38 on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Tanya Agrawal in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)