Evan Cohen has got some pieces of the DVB band back together, even if they are not necessarily playing in the same room during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cohen is one of four ex-DVB staffers in CIT’s 12-person maritime finance unit.

They include director Christiane Lombardi, hired in November 2019 as DVB was shuttering its New York office, and managing director Martijn van Tuyl, who came aboard last December after exiting the same office.

“It was great to add Martijn’s experience — we’ve worked together on both the origination and restructuring side of the business. It’s always nice to work with friends,” Cohen said.

The fourth is asset manager Tarun Gulati, a former mariner who spent 12 years with DVB.

But Cohen is equally enthusiastic about the non-DVB complement, saying the staff includes members who have worked for shipowners, as well as holdovers from CIT’s legacy maritime practice, such as underwriting manager Sal Vitale.

However, they have not all been able to physically work together in the face of coronavirus restrictions.

“From the standpoint of working at home, it’s been a positive surprise. We’ve all been working remotely. Avoiding the commute has been a pleasant positive out of all of this,” Cohen said.

And as shown by a steady drumbeat of deals the bank has announced, the Covid period has not been a major damper on business. “If you have a client base, you can go 12 months without seeing your client,” Cohen said.

He estimated that the maritime unit is doing $350m to $400m a year in business. This includes replacing $200m to $250m in existing loans coming off the books each year, plus about $150m in new business.

CIT pursues clients in the Americas, Greece and north-western Europe: “We typically won’t go east of Istanbul.”

This used to involve seeing clients face to face, and may soon again. “I have a vision of being in Athens at the end of this summer doing exactly that,” Cohen said.