As the Dow approaches a 15-month high, the economy begins to look better than it has in a long while. Unfortunately, lenders like GMAC continue to lose money. The emerging 2009 figures will be the largest loss ever for GMAC. A $5 billion fourth quarter loss is the record-holder leading the expected $10 billion loss for 2009. These losses come despite further TARP infusions.
GMAC continues to waiver between profits and losses, posting $2.1 billion in profits for 2006 and $1.8 billion in 2008, while losing $2.3 billion in 2007.
GM shed its then-profitable financing subsidiary in 2006 for $7.4 billion. Cerberus and CitiGroup led the buyout. Cerberus’ investment practices do not inspire confidence, since they paid the same price for Chrysler about a year later. Moreover, neither company remains under Cerberus control and both received major government bailouts.
Although taxpayers will blame the government for supporting GMAC, they will not be able to blame them for the loss: the government assumed control in the last week of 2009. Unfortunately, Uncle Sam cannot rebadge subprime loans as Fiats – pointing to a grim 2010. What’s more, the real estate market has not bottomed out and mortgage subsidies are expected to end this year.
Bankruptcy and other options have been considered for Residential Capital LLC, GMAC’s unit with the highest loss. GMAC has high hopes to sell some of Residential Capital’s mortgage assets.