Way back on December 24, 2008, GMAC Financial Services announced that the Federal Reserve had signed off on its application to become a bank holding company. Five days later, the new bank had $5 billion in TARP money. Two weeks ago, GMAC’s stress test results called for a boost of $11.5 billion to the common shareholder equity component of its Tier 1 capital ($9.1 billion of that has to be new Tier capital). And last week GMAC Bank became Ally Bank.
“Looking at the financial services industry, when you talked to customers they could not trust banks to be anything but self-interested,” says GMAC chief marketing officer Sanjay Gupta. “Ally Bank is open and honest. It got rid of the fine print.” The Internet bank is offering “truly no-penalty CDs—you can take your money out at any point in time” among other things. “A lot of bank websites hide their phone numbers, but we make it easier if a customer is calling,” says Gupta. Ally has live customer support 24/7, “and we tell customers the real call wait time on the website.”
The CMO minimized any customer wariness related to the stress tests results: “It was actually a positive thing, showing that banks can withstand almost anything.” Gupta did not reveal a target for new deposits or depositors; the institution’s retail deposits grew to $11 billion as of March 31 from $7.2 billion on December 31, 2008.