Feds report $9.7B loss on GM shares

David Shepardson

(Detroit News) Washington— The U.S. Treasury has booked a $9.7 billion loss on its $49.5 billion bailout of General Motors Co. on the sale of nearly all of its shares it received as part of its $49.5 billion bailout.

In a quarterly report to Congress Tuesday, the Special Inspector General overseeing the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program bailout fund disclosed that the Treasury had realized a significant loss on its sale of most of its 60.8 percent stake in GM. Through Sept. 30, Treasury sold 811 million shares of the 912 million shares it received in the automaker as part of its 2009 bankruptcy restructuring.

The taxpayers’ ownership stake in the Detroit-based automaker — swapped for more than $40 billion in loans, was initially 60.8 percent, but is now down to about 7 percent, the Treasury said. “Because the common stock sales have all taken place below Treasury’s break even price, Treasury has so far booked a loss of $9.7 billion on the sales,” the report said.

Treasury would need to get $147.95 on its remaining shares to break even. That’s not going to happen: GM’s stock closed Wednesday at $35.80, up $0.21, or 1 percent. At current trading prices, the government’s remaining stake is worth about $3.6 billion. At current stock prices, taxpayers would lose about $10 billion on the bailout when all the stock is unloaded.

Earlier this month, Treasury reported it sold $570.1 million in General Motors Co. stock in September, as it looks to complete its exit from the Detroit automaker in the coming six months. The Treasury says it has recouped $36 billion of its $49.5 billion bailout in the Detroit automaker. The government began selling off its remaining 101.3 million shares in GM on Sept. 26, as part of its third written trading plan. The government didn’t disclose precisely how many shares it sold in the final days of September, but at recent trading levels could exit as early as January.

The report also says that SIG TARP has worked to uncover fraud in the bailout program. To date, 154 people have been charged and 65 individuals have been sentenced to prison for their crimes investigated by SIGTARP and its law enforcement partners. Nearly all have involved bailouts to banks. None have involved the auto bailouts.

“The financial crisis laid bare the pervasiveness of toxic corporate cultures that all-too-often encouraged greed, rampant risk-taking and unchecked power, and in some cases resulted in criminal corruption,” said Christy Romero, special inspector general for TARP. “Vigorous law enforcement is a critical part of the recovery from the crisis, and that is SIGTARP’s overriding purpose and mission. SIGTARP will continue to arrest and hold responsible those who cultivated a culture of reckless arrogance, believing they were untouchable even as they broke the law. We will change culture and bring personal accountability the way we do it best, by removing those who corrupt culture, through arrests, convictions, and jail time.”

The report also found that 19 states in the “Hardest Hit Fund” have spend just 22 percent, or $1.7 billion, of the $7.6 billion in TARP funds that Treasury allocated for the program to provide assistance to homeowners struggling to pay mortgages — three and a half years after the program began.

Michigan is one of eight states in the program that have spent less than 22 percent of the funds allotted to them for assisting homeowners. The state has spent 17 percent of the $498.6 million allocated as of June 30 — and has reduced the number of homeowners it predicts it will aid — to up to 11,477, down from an initial estimate in 2010 of as many as 49,442, the report said. With Treasury approval, Michigan is using some of the funds to tear down blighted buildings.

A second program, the Home Affordable Modification Program, designed to encourage loan services and investors to reduce monthly payments to homeowners at risk of imminent default, has spend $5.4 billion of $22.7 billion allocated.

In Michigan, 36,801 permanent loan modifications have been made under the “HAMP” program — and 25,802 are paying on time. Of the total, 28 percent, or 10,151, have re-defaulted on their mortgages

Read more at: The Detroit News: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20131029/AUTO0103/310290032#ixzz2j87nPCLe

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