Tuesday, December 30, 2008

GMAC Gets $6 Billion From Treasury to Revive Lending

Dec. 30 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Treasury committed $6 billion to support GMAC LLC, the financing arm of General Motors Corp., widening the government’s effort to keep the largest U.S. automaker out of bankruptcy.

The Treasury will purchase a $5 billion stake in GMAC and lend $1 billion to GM so the automaker can contribute to the lender’s reorganization as a bank holding company, according to a statement issued yesterday. The loan is in addition to $13.4 billion the Treasury agreed earlier this month to lend to GM and Chrysler LLC.

The fresh capital will enable GMAC to expand lending to car buyers and help save GM. The automaker’s U.S. sales plunged 22 percent this year through November after GMAC ran short on cash and limited loans to people with only the best credit. The Treasury stepped in after Congress failed to pass an auto- industry bailout earlier this month.

“The relationship with GM is probably a key reason it’s being bailed out,” said Thomas Atteberry, who helps manage $3.5 billion in fixed-income assets at First Pacific Advisors in Los Angeles. “Philosophically, I’m not very happy about the fact that the government has to save an auto-finance company because management ran it into the ground.”

In a statement, GMAC said it “intends to act quickly to resume automotive lending to a broader spectrum of customers to support the availability of credit to consumers and businesses for the purchase of automobiles.” The lender financed about 35 percent of GM’s retail customers last year.

New Rescue Program

“This is part of our strategy to position GMAC for long-term stability,” Toni Simonetti, a spokeswoman for GMAC, said about yesterday’s Treasury announcement. “The reason we’re doing this is so we can provide credit to consumers; we’ll put these funds to use right away.” More...

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