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GM plans to seek bank charters to grow auto loan businesses

General Motors Co. looking to get back into the banking business.

The carmaker’s lending arm is preparing plans to apply for a bank charter, a move that will allow it to accept deposits and expand its auto finance business, according to people familiar with the matter.

General Motors Financial Company Inc. has been talking for several months with federal and state bank regulators about forming an industrial lending company and being able to file applications to do so as early as December, the people said. It would be overseen by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Utah Department of Financial Institutions, which provide the majority of these charters.

A charter for industrial loans allows companies to own both commercial firms and banks, a setup prohibited by a traditional banking license.

This is well known area for GM. The automaker used this type of charter to power GMAC, its former lending arm that nearly failed under the weight of acidified subprime mortgages and was rescued by the government during the 2008 financial crisis.

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