DETROIT — On the same day it announced that it will exit the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), Ally Financial also disclosed in a regulatory filing that it received a subpoena from the Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting information related to subprime auto lending.
Ally is the latest finance source to disclose that it is the subject of the DOJ's investigation into subprime lending. Other sources include Santander Consumer USA, GM Financial and Credit Acceptance Corporation. Also this month, Toyota Motor Credit Corp. and American Honda Finance Corp. revealed in regulatory filings that they also face enforcement actions from the DOJ and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The captives said the two agencies allege that their auto lending practices — particularly policies that allow dealers to mark up consumer interest rates — resulted in discriminatory pricing of auto loans.
“… Ally recently received a subpoena from the DOJ requesting information in connection with its investigation related to subprime automotive finance and related securitization activities,” the filing read, in part. “Other financial institutions have disclosed receiving similar requests earlier this year.”
On the same day, Dec. 18, Ally announced that the U.S. Department of the Treasury has sold its remaining 54.9 million shares of Ally common stock at $23.25 per share, meaning the finance source will exit the TARP upon settlement of the sale. The U.S. Treasury received $19.6 billion in total on the $17.2 billion Ally investment, which is $2.4 billion more than originally invested.
“This marks another major milestone in Ally's journey," said Ally CEO Michael A. Carpenter. “… Today, Ally stands as a stronger and more focused financial services company that is dedicated to continued progress in the future.”
Ally entered TARP in December 2008 as part of an effort to stabilize and strengthen the U.S. auto industry. Since receiving the investment from the U.S. Treasury, Ally has financed 7.4 million U.S. vehicles purchases through its auto dealer network, which currently stands at approximately 16,000 dealers. This represents about one in every 12 new vehicles sold to U.S. consumers during that period. Additionally, Ally provided inventory financing for nearly 23 million vehicles purchased and more than 6,500 dealers since receiving the investment from the U.S. Treasury.
A year ago, Ally reached a $98 million settlement with the DOJ and CFPB related to its auto lending practices, which the regulators said had resulted in discrimination against minority car buyers.