When it comes to government bailout case studies, the past four years have plenty. One among them is the financial company jovially called Ally - a name which well-paid nomenclature consultants were convinced would inspire confidence and trust. And to an extent they were right - after all we are talking about a firm which several years ago had a far more unpleasant name: GMAC, short for General Motors Acceptance Corporation. It was GMAC which, as one of the various entities on the receiving end of involuntary taxpayer generosity in 2008/2009, received a $17.2 billion bailout. The reason for GMAC's Ally's collapse is that the firm was loaded up to the gills on various subprime and other NINJA auto-financing loans used to purchase cars made by that other spectacular collapse: General Motors, maker of such external combustion vehicles as the Chevy Volt. Over the past several months the Ally CEO, Michael Carpenter, decided to little by little start paying taxpayers back, having sold a Canadian unit to RBC in October for $4.1 billion, and its Mexican Insurance business to Ace Ltd for $865 million. Moments ago the firm just announced it would be selling its international auto-finance businesses, including its operations in Europe, LatAm and a 40% stake in its Chinese JV (a business it previously said it would not seek to divest), for a total of $4.2 billion. The buyer? Another previously bailed out company, and one which still counts the government as its biggest shareholder: General Motors. And so the vendor financing circle is now complete, with GM finally reuniting with its old captive finance units, or at least the international part of them, which were fully owned until GM sold 51% of it to Cerberus in 2006, after which everything went to hell.
Acquiring some of Ally’s assets would help GM offer competitive loans in South America, where about 50 percent of car sales are financed, Jaime Ardila, president of that region for GM, said last month in an interview in Sao Paulo.
There... and every other place where GM is desperate to not only sell the car, but to provide the vendor financing as the locals just can't afford to buy that little piece of America they can't wait to call their own, if only until such time as the payments on said piece stop in 2 or 3 months.
Another circle which is complete: that of peak credit stupidity, because while not having your own source of loans under the same roof at least provided for some operational prudence, now that GM can once again hand out loans like a drunken sailor to any Chinese or Latino American buyer that wishes to take a Chevy for a ride, and book the revenues immediately, even if the loan will be in default in several months, all bets are now off.
Sadly, as is now the norm, the US taxpayer is about to get reamed even more. Because while the $4.2 billion in receivables will be promptly repaid, what won't be, will be the tens of billions in soon to be delinquent and discharged loans that GMAC 2.0's balance sheet will be riddled with following more horrible decisions by management dead set on pushing sales regardless of the future hit to the balance sheet, and as a result, will soon lead to yet another bailout of Government Motors.
Finally, at least we now know what that $11 billion new revolver which the firm reported closing on just two weeks ago, and which provided for an extra $6 billion in dry powder, will be used for: GM will borrow at LIBOR + basis points, and use the proceeds to fund what will soon be a new international loan book in the tens of billions, which will be used with reckless abandon.