GMAC Inc.'s Ally Bank is expanding into Canada with its online savings products, such as guaranteed investment certificates, the company said Thursday.

This move allows the lender, which has been reliant on capital infusions from the government since December, access to a fresh source of funding. In addition, it will enable GMAC, which makes auto loans in Canada, to tap these new funds.

GMAC, as a financier of General Motors Co., and now Chrysler Group LLC, vehicles, is vital to federal efforts to resuscitate the ailing automakers because it provides crucial funding to their dealers and consumers. GMAC makes loans to auto dealers who use the funds to stockpile their inventory of new vehicles. GMAC also lends to consumers buying these vehicles.

Earlier this week GMAC, through Ally Bank, tapped the asset-backed securities market for the first time, taking advantage of a federal program aimed at bolstering credit to consumers.

The $941 million debt offering marked a milestone for the lender that was bailed out by the government late last year and has been propped up ever since by federal funds.

GMAC, after running into serious liquidity problems in late 2008, has been propped up by government funds. As of June 30, GMAC had received $12.5 billion of federal funds, including $5 billion in December under the Treasury's Troubled Asset Relief Program, and $7.5 billion in the second quarter. In addition, in the second quarter, GMAC sold $4.5 billion in government-backed bonds under a federal program aimed at allowing companies to cheaply refinance debt coming due.

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