Canada's TD Takes Control of Chrysler's Financial Arm

Toronto-Dominion purchased Chrysler Financial from private equity group and former Chrysler owner Cerberus for $6.3 billion in December.

Toronto-Dominion Bank's foray into U.S. automotive financing market picked up momentum on June 10 as Chrysler Financial officially became TD Auto Finance.

Toronto-Dominion purchased Chrysler Financial from private equity group and former Chrysler owner Cerberus for $6.3 billion in December and the deal was closed in April.

"The launch of the TD Auto Finance brand marks the beginning of an exciting chapter for TD," said Tim Hockey, chief executive officer of TD Canada Trust, the retail arm of Canada's largest bank. The group had been left out of the Obama administration's re-organization of the U.S. auto industry in the wake of the collapse of General Motors and Chrysler.

"We were kicked to the curb," said Tom Gilman, who spent 30 years with Chrysler and is now president and chief executive of TD Auto Finance.

The taskforce basically turned over all of Chrysler Financial financing business to GMAC, which now operates under the name Ally Bank, and its loan origination dropped from $18 billion in 2008 to only $30 million in 2009.

But Chrysler Financial persevered by servicing existing loans, while maintaining its expertise.

"Our engine might have been idling but it was in place," Gilman said, adding that the auto financing offers TD a way to put deposits collected by its U.S. branches to work as revenue-producing loans.

As the economy improved last year, banks interested in getting into the automotive finance business began knocking on Chrysler Financial's door and TD ultimately made the best offer, Gilman said.

TD Auto Finance has also hired hundreds of new employees, mostly in Michigan.

Gilman has signed thousands of new dealers across the United States and in Canada, where TD Auto took over responsibility for Toronto Dominion's previous automotive finance business.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011

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