Following in the footsteps of Spanish bank Santander, GM Financial announced that it would enter the prime lending market in 2014.
Once upon a time, GM’s North American operations spewed red ink across the firm’s balance sheet, with the whole mess kept afloat by relatively strong overseas operations. Now GM makes most of its money at home while its international divisions limp along. No, really: in its just-released Q1 financial report, GM reveals that some $1.7b of its $2.2b global EBIT came from its once-troubled home markets. What a difference a bailout makes!
What, you want more context from a headline? It’s not like we’ve lied to you or anything. Technically, every word of it is true. OK, OK, here’s the fine print: CGI Holding, owners of “Old Chrysler” and Chrysler Financial paid $1.9b of a $4b pre-bankruptcy TARP loan, according to Automotive News [sub]. Though far less than face value, that payback “is significantly more” than what Treasury was expecting in return. In other words, this is great news if you thought the bailout would be a complete loss. Otherwise, it means that the various remains of Chrysler have repaid $3.9b of the $14.3 invested by taxpayers into the company pre-bankruptcy… and unless Chrysler’s IPO brings in about $100b, Treasury will still take a bath on the rescue.