Q&A: Opel's GMAC Bank aims to be leading multi-brand automotive bank

Russelsheim. The former Opel Bank GmbH, now called GMAC Bank GmbH, has set the goal of becoming a financial partner for all automobile brands. Automobilwoche spoke to Managing Director Gebhard Ratz about the company's goals.

Q: When will you follow your competitors BMW, DaimlerChrysler and VW's example and apply for a full bank license?

A: Contrary to other competitors we do not aim at broadening our market but want to continue to specialize in certain areas. We will definitely not become involved with current accounts or brokerage.

Q: Doesn't that mean that you are ignoring opportunities?

A: Not at all. We believe that there are still a lot of opportunities in the automotive sector, with both private clients and small and medium-sized automotive companies.

Q: For example?

A: By finding better solutions to questions of warranty and repairs. There are also a lot of opportunities to differentiate ourselves from competitors within the automobile insurance sector. We are working on a range of individual products which all have low financing rates and offer attractive services.

Q: And how are you hoping to convince car dealers that you offer a better service?

A: Through finance schemes for stock vehicles which fit in with the dealer's requirements and by offering them a fast and smooth process of completion.

Q: Is the step from Opel Bank to GMAC Bank a move towards market expansion?

A: Definitely. We are aiming for our bank products to enter different markets, in other words to grow from the Opel-world into the GM-world. Our next step will be to become a partner for non GM-brands.

Q: What is your aim?

A: To become Germany's leading automotive bank.

Q: Seriously?

A: Of course. We are currently involved in 57% of the Opel market, and the numbers are rising. We also finance 80% to 90% of stock vehicles. Our aim is to reach the same strong position with other brands.

Q: However, in contrast to VW Bank ...

A: You mustn't compare us to the competitors. I believe that we already have the biggest share of private clients and small to medium sized automobile businesses.

Q: On the way up you will meet an increasing number of competitors.

A: That does not worry us. I believe that the big banks will slowly withdraw from the automotive industry. Not least because of Basel II, which encourages specialization.

Q: Commercial banks are not the only competitors. The ADAC now also plans to enter your market.

A: We are following their plans with great interest.

Q: Could you imagine becoming the partner bank for ADAC?

A: To us any kind of cooperation is a possibility, specifically with the ADAC because its reputation is excellent.

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