Ally Financial's first-quarter net income fell 51 percent from a year earlier as it collected less revenue from financing and set aside a higher amount to cover potential losses on loans, the Detroit bank said Wednesday. However, its $319 million in net income was an improvement over the fourth quarter of 2022.
Ally's auto lending business — the bank's primary source of income — also recorded a significant decline from a year earlier. Pretax auto finance income fell 39 percent to $442 million during the first quarter. Ally said its historically low net auto losses a year ago made for the steep year-over-year decline. Ally's pretax auto finance income rose 1.1 percent compared with the fourth quarter.
"Ally's operating results amid this dynamic macro environment highlight the continued strength of our franchises," Ally CEO Jeffrey Brown said in a statement. "Despite the heightened volatility in markets, the team remained focused on what we can control and delivered another quarter of compelling operational results."
Ally wrote $9.5 billion worth of auto loans and leases in the first quarter, down 18 percent from a year earlier but up from the prior quarter. It received 3.3 million applications for financing. During last year's first quarter, Ally said it had 3.2 million decisioned applications. And Ally also was choosier with approvals in this year's first quarter, approving 31 percent of customers compared with 34 percent in the first quarter of 2022.
"Consumer demand remains strong," Brown said Wednesday while discussing Ally's auto results on an earnings call.
Ally said its provision for loan losses more than doubled in the quarter, growing to $446 million in the quarter, as it said credit is normalizing from historical lows and factors in a "modest reserve build to reflect the evolving macro environment."
Ally worked with 22,730 dealers in some capacity in the first quarter, up 4.8 percent from a year earlier.
Results from the company's earnings report include:
Q1 net revenue: $2.1 billion, down 1.6 percent from a year earlier.
Q1 net income: $319 million, down 51 percent from a year earlier.
Q1 net income attributable to common shareholders: $291 million, down 54 percent from a year earlier.
Guidance: Ally lowered its 2023 forecast for retail auto finance originations slightly to the "lower end of [the] 'low $40 billion' range," citing plans to get tougher when evaluating applications.