GMAC, say hello to your COP.
The COP is the Congressional Oversight Panel headed by Elizabeth Warren, and GMAC LLC will face off with Warren and her fellow delegates on Thursday. Here’s the lineup of witnesses:
- GMAC Chief Executive Officer Michael Carpenter;
- GMAC Chief Financial Officer Robert Hull;
- Chris Whalen of Institutional Risk Analytics;
- Ron Bloom, Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury, Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry; and
- Jim Millstein, chief restructuring officer for the Department of the Treasury.
So what questions will COP ask? Here are a (forecasted) selection:
- Where’s my money? Carpenter and Hull are going to be asked about the likelihood that GMAC will ever reimburse the government the $16.29 billion it has received under the Automotive Industry Financing Program, which part of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).
- What is the deal over there? The government folks will be asked about the 56.3% of GMAC that Treasury owns, and what changes the government has put in place at the captive. The mortgage business at GMAC remains a black eye on the company, and the government guys (as well as the GMAC executives), will be expected to discuss their plans for ResCap.
- Did we really need to fork over $16.29 billion? The presumption underlying the GMAC TARP allocation was that GMAC is critical to the US automotive industry. Bloom will be pressed on this presumption, and Warren is going to make him prove it.
I’d add another line of questioning, and that is regarding the balance GMAC LLC must strike between supporting GMAC and Chrysler car sales and making GMAC LLC a more viable, standalone entity. Here’s where it gets tricky. If we the taxpayers put money into GMAC to maintain the company’s support of GM and Chrysler vehicles, do we really want GMAC ranging farther than that mission? Or is GMAC better off as a more diversified financier, because it lets the company more effectively support GM and Chrysler? Or is there even any way of knowing which is better?
This should be an interesting hearing, if only because it will be the first extended public airing of Carpenter’s views and plans.