GMAC puts squeeze on offices

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Scott Jagow: The lending business -- whatever kind of loan you can think of -- is tightening up. The latest example of this: GMAC says it'll close most of its auto-financing offices in North America this year. And its cutting close to a thousand jobs.

What does this mean for car buyers? Here's Jill Barshay.

Jill Barshay: The private equity firm that owns most of GMAC wants to cut costs. This doesn't mean you can't get a loan when you buy a General Motors car anymore.

Most people who take out a GMAC car loan never interact with the auto-finance offices. The dealer does that for you. Now, more of that back office work will be done by computers.

Terry Jackson tracks auto loan rates at Bankrate.com:

Terry Jackson: Because of reduction in staff, it may take a little longer to get a loan approved.

Jackson says it's already getting more difficult to get a loan from GMAC.

Jackson: They have tightened the credit standards for getting those 0 percent loans. You know, you see that phrase for well-qualified buyers. They have been moving the bar up on what qualifies as a well-qualified buyer.

People who've already got a GMAC loan shouldn't notice a big difference. For one thing, GMAC says there are no cuts planned in the department that collects your monthly payments.

I'm Jill Barshay for Marketplace.

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