May 16, 2009

GMAC to relaunch as Ally Bank

Auto financing firm GMAC says it will rename itself Ally Bank, reflecting its re-launch as a bank holding company in the wake of auto industry woes.

The new name marks the moving away from a GMAC brand that goes back to 1919 when it was established in Detroit as General Motors Acceptance Corp. to help post-World War I consumers purchase their first automobiles, The Wall Street Journal reported.

GMAC needed to convert to a bank holding company to access $5 billion in U.S. Treasury bailout funds, which its officials reportedly hoped would come as soon as this weekend after it took the responsibility of becoming the lender for cars sold by bankrupt Chrysler LLC.

Ally was chosen as the firm's new name because it gives the sense of a trusted partner, the attributes we are trying to convey Sanjay Gupta, GMAC's chief marketing officer, told the Journal.

GMAC will use the new image as a way to attract retail deposits, which will be a key funding source during the continuing credit squeeze as it tries to fill an $11.5 billion capital hole, as revealed by bank stress-test results, the newspaper said.