Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Congressional Oversight Panel criticizes handling of GMAC

by Bill McBride on 3/10/2010 11:59:00 PM

The Congressional Oversight Panel (COP) released a new report: The Unique Treatment of GMAC Under the TARP

[T]he Panel remains unconvinced that bankruptcy was not a viable option in 2008. In connection with the Chrysler and GM bankruptcies, Treasury might have been able to orchestrate a strategic bankruptcy for GMAC. This bankruptcy could have preserved GMAC’s automotive lending functions while winding down its other, less significant operations, dealing with the ongoing liabilities of the mortgage lending operations, and putting the company on sounder economic footing.
The federal government has so far spent $17.2 billion to bail out GMAC and now owns 56.3 percent of the company. Both GMAC and Treasury insist that the company is solvent and will not require any additional bailout funds, but taxpayers already bear significant exposure to the company, and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) currently estimates that $6.3 billion or more may never be repaid.

In light of the scale of these potential losses, the Panel is deeply concerned that Treasury has not required GMAC to lay out a clear path to viability or a strategy for fully repaying taxpayers. Moving forward, Treasury should clearly articulate its exit strategy from GMAC. More than a year has elapsed since the government first bailed out GMAC, and it is long past time for taxpayers to have a clear view of the road ahead.
And a few recommendations from COP:
• Treasury should insist that GMAC produce a viable business plan showing a path toward profitability and a resolution of the problems caused by ResCap.

• Treasury should formulate, and clearly articulate, a near-term exit strategy with respect to GMAC and articulate how that exit will or should be coordinated with exit from Treasury’s holdings in GM and Chrysler.

• To preserve market discipline and protect taxpayer interests, Treasury should go to greater lengths to explain its approach to the treatment of legacy shareholders, in conjunction with both initial and ongoing government assistance.
This fits with the earlier discussions on the stress tests since GMAC was on the "Stress Test 19". It probably would have cost the taxpayers far less to have GMAC file bankruptcy than the current situation.

"A viable business plan" and an "exit strategy"; Elizabeth Warren is so demanding!