Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Chrysler News-U.S. Tries to Broker Sale Of Chrysler's Loan Arm

The Treasury Department is racing to engineer the sale of Chrysler's financing arm in a move the administration deems vital to saving the troubled automaker, but other federal agencies have not given their support, sources familiar with the matter said.

The Obama administration wants the nation's largest auto-financing company, GMAC, to buy Chrysler Financial, which is the primary source of lending for Chrysler dealerships and car buyers, industry officials said. But GMAC needs a new round of backing to buy its longtime rival, sources said.

Treasury officials have not yet obtained the agreement of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Federal Reserve, sources said. The FDIC, created to backstop the banking industry, is balking out of concern that its resources would be drained in support of an auto manufacturer. And the Fed, which regulates banks, would need to grant a waiver from a long-standing rule that separates banking and commerce.

The dilemma over Chrysler Financial highlights the debate over the how far the government should stretch its financial rescue programs to help failing automakers. Despite reservations, regulators already anointed GMAC a bank holding company in December so it could access the federal bailout for financial companies and help preserve General Motors. Now regulators are being asked to preserve another storied American automaker.

Even if a deal is reached for Chrysler Financial, the fate of the car manufacturer remains uncertain. The Obama administration's auto industry task force and Chrysler's lenders remained in a standoff yesterday. If an agreement with the lenders cannot be reached to forgive most of their $6.9 billion in loans to the company, Chrysler is set to file for bankruptcy by Thursday, sources said. The sources spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions....More

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