GMAC LLC, an auto and home lender owned by Cerberus Capital Management LP and General Motors Corp., said Utah state regulators are examining the health of its bank unit.
The Utah Department of Financial Institutions is conducting "two full-scope safety and soundness examinations" of GMAC Bank, the company said Friday in a regulatory filing by its Residential Capital subsidiary. Utah's inquiry was disclosed by company filings last November.
GMAC has posted four straight quarterly losses as subprime home loans soured and demand for auto financing faltered along with GM's sales. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. last month ordered GMAC to bolster the bank unit's capital and provide $3 billion in credit.
"The bank needs to bring up that ratio either through a capital contribution from the
parent company or through higher earnings," said Ralph "Chip" MacDonald, an attorney with Jones Day in Atlanta. Detroit-based GMAC relies heavily on the unit for funding.
Utah has required GMAC Bank to maintain total capital equal to at least 9.25 percent of total assets since Aug. 2, 2007, the filing said. The bank had so-called Tier 1 Capital of $3.65 billion as of June 30 this year, or about 10.8 percent of average assets under a formula set by the FDIC. GMAC Bank must have a Tier 1 ratio of 11 percent, according to a July 21 agreement with the FDIC cited in Friday's filing.
The bank, which has no branches and mainly operates as an Internet bank, is a key funding source for the lender as credit has become more difficult to obtain, Chief Financial Officer Robert Hull said on a July 31 earnings call. Deposits rose 64 percent to $15.4 billion in the year ended March 31, according to the FDIC. GMAC Bank is based in Utah as an industrial loan commission instead of a bank holding company charter.
"Making autos and selling them isn't permitted under the Bank Holding Company Act, so they formed an industrial loan company," said MacDonald. "Utah is a very bank-friendly state."
GMAC expects to be able to fund its businesses during the next 12 months, while noting the risk remains that it won't "meet its debt service obligations and be in a negative liquidity position in 2008," according to Friday's filing.
GMAC spokeswoman Gina Proia said the company has moved to stabilize its finances by exchanging and refinancing its debt, restructuring operations and changing its business model.
"We currently believe plans are sufficient for the near term," she said.
Edward Leary, Utah's commissioner of financial institutions, was not available for comment Friday, according to a telephone message at his office.
GMAC signed the agreement last month with U.S. regulators that places new curbs on the bank's operations. The accord followed the FDIC's decision to grant a 10-year waiver that permits GMAC Bank to remain under current ownership.
Cerberus led a group that bought 51 percent of GMAC about two years ago. The agreement included an FDIC ruling that Cerberus would sell the GMAC Bank by November, relinquish FDIC insurance, register as a bank holding company or gain a waiver.