Meanwhile, the new Ally Financial, formerly known as GMAC Financial Services, has shrunk. Besides selling off its International Operations, Ally also shed its giant mortgage subsidiary, Residential Capital, a once-thriving business that almost pulled GMAC down with it into bankruptcy.
In 2006, GM sold majority control of GMAC but retained a minority share. Falling auto sales, the credit crisis and the collapse of subprime mortgages leading up to the recession forced GMAC into needing a U.S. government bailout in late 2008.
Ally allowed its ResCap unit to file for bankruptcy protection in 2012, but the ResCap bankruptcy plan wasn't approved in U.S. Bankruptcy Court until December 2013. The court's ruling finally left Ally free of its legacy obligations to ResCap, the company said.
Also in December 2013, GM sold its last remaining 8.5 percent stake in Ally.
This year Ally Financial's top priority is to buy out its remaining U.S. Treasury ownership -- which was 37 percent as of Feb. 6 -- and go public. That would leave Ally without GM or government ownership for the first time.
"Free at last, free at last!" said Ally CEO Michael Carpenter, in an interview at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans in January.
"If you look back at 2013 it was an incredibly eventful year for us. It was a seminal year, especially in the fourth quarter," Carpenter said, "much of which was setting the stage for the future."
Carpenter said that as a smaller, independent company, Ally could continue to lower costs to match its size.
As of Dec. 31, 2013, Ally had 7,100 employees, down from 10,600 a year earlier. The figures include operations that had been put up for sale.
Ally plans to continue to pursue business with dealers and automakers, including former partners GM and Chrysler Group, only with less reliance on deals supported by carmaker incentives. Ally is also working to increase used-vehicle and subprime loans, plus leasing for all brands.
Ally also retains its insurance operations, which provides commercial insurance for dealers, plus F&I products, including extended-service contracts aimed at consumers via dealerships.