GMAC Inc.'s Ally Bank is tapping the asset-backed securities market for the first time, taking advantage of a federal program aimed at bolstering credit to consumers, according to a person familiar with the matter.

If the debt offering is successful, it would be a milestone for a lender that has been wholly reliant on capital infusions from the government since December.

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

The size of the securities offering, backed by pools of auto loans on new vehicles, is not known. It is a private deal, marketed only to institutional investors such as mutual funds, pension funds and hedge funds.

"Access to the market will provide another important funding source for the bank," said Gina Proia, a GMAC spokeswoman.

GMAC, after running into serious liquidity problems in late 2008, has been propped up by government funds. As of June 30 it had received $12.5 billion of federal funds: $5 billion in December under the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program and $7.5 billion in the second quarter.

In the second quarter the company sold $4.5 billion in government-backed bonds under a federal program designed to let companies cheaply refinance debt coming due.

Ally Bank's offering of asset-backeds will be eligible for the Federal Reserve's Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.

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