Auto originations fell across the board in March, though generous automaker incentives allowed domestic captives to steal larger shares of the shrinking market.
Some captives are better prepared for the downturn, Moody's said.
Ford Credit and GM Financial both have provisions in their support agreements that promise the parent company will inject capital if the lender becomes overleveraged.
So far, both automakers have said that scenario is unlikely.
GM Financial's balance sheet was tested under "draconian" credit and residual value loss scenarios that GM considers more severe than the financial crisis, GM CFO Dhivya Suryadevara said May 6. Doubling the losses from those scenarios, "GM would still not be required to contribute capital," she said. GM Financial could lose $2 billion off its current balance sheet and not require capital, Suryadevara said.
Earnings for GM Financial decreased 36 percent to $230 million in the first quarter. The captive contributed a $400 million dividend to the automaker in the first quarter, and GM expects another $400 million this year.
Executives at Ford Motor Co. told analysts this month that its captive finance arm has been "indispensable" during this crisis. Ford Credit's earnings before taxes dropped 96 percent in the first quarter as the lender clocked $600 million in credit losses as it padded reserves for potential future losses stemming from the coronavirus outbreak.
Hannah Lutz contributed to this report.