Ally Financial raises its game
Ally Financial’s plan to lease 400,000 square feet in Charlotte’s newest office tower is the latest chapter in an amazing comeback story. Ally, which had been GMAC — General Motors’ auto-finance arm — since 1919, got $17 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, in 2008. Its entry into mortgage lending with a company called Residential Capital, meant to supplement its lucrative auto business, nearly sunk GMAC when the housing market collapsed in 2007. Former Bank of America executive Alvaro de Molina became Ally’s CEO in 2008 and, during his 19-month tenure, built a Charlotte office that now numbers 1,700. De Molina’s protégé, Jeff Brown, became CEO in 2015 and has led expansions in wealth management, credit cards and home loans. He lives and works in Charlotte, though the company’s official headquarters remains in Detroit.
Annual profit averaging $1.1 billion in the last three years hasn’t impressed investors: Ally stock has underperformed its peer group and the overall market since the company’s January 2014 initial public offering. Still, share prices increased almost 30% this year through early October as the federal government OK’d plans for a 50% increase in Ally’s dividend and a larger repurchase of company shares. Thirteen of 18 analysts who track Ally stock have buy ratings on the company and expect earnings per share to gain 17% in 2018. By consolidating offices across the city, Ally will be the main tenant in the new 26-story tower planned by Charlotte-based developer Crescent Communities. The building is expected to open in 2021.
Derided as a government bailout, TARP saved dozens of U.S. banks from collapse by swapping $350 billion of federal funds for preferred stock in 2008-09. (BofA got $45 billion, Wells Fargo, $25 billion, and Goldman Sachs, $10 billion.) The effort calmed fears, and the banks repurchased the shares as the economy rebounded. The new Ally offices will be located across Tryon Street from the 33-story Legacy Union tower that is slated to open in early 2019. Perhaps fittingly, it is owned by a group that includes Goldman Sachs and will be filled with Bank of America staffers.
CHARLOTTE — NN will move its headquarters from Johnson City, Tenn., investing $10 million and adding 200 jobs over five years. The publicly traded company makes components for the aerospace, automotive, defense, electrical and other industries at 33 manufacturing plants worldwide. NN had revenue of $834 million in 2016.
CHARLOTTE — LendingTree acquired Charleston, S.C.-based Snap Capital in a deal valued at up to $21 million. SnapCap is an online platform that connects business owners with lenders. LendingTree is an online marketplace started in 1996 that is valued at more than $3 billion.
CHARLOTTE — Anthony DeFurio was named chief financial officer of Carolinas HealthCare System. He was CFO of UCHealth, a hospital system affiliated with the University of Colorado in Denver. He succeeds Greg Gombar, who is retiring.
CONCORD — Haines will open a 500,000-square-foot distribution center, investing $6.4 million and creating 172 jobs. The Glen Burnie, Md.-based company says it is the largest U.S. distributor of floor coverings, including hardwood, laminate and others. The facility is expected to open in the first quarter of 2018.