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Ally Bank CEO Yastine to leave as Brown reshapes lender

Doni Bloomfield
Bloomberg News

Ally Financial Inc., the auto lender rescued by the U.S. government during the 2008 financial crisis, said Barbara Yastine is stepping down as chief executive officer of the banking unit.

The bank is seeking a successor, and Yastine, 55, will stay on the job until June to assist with the transition, according to a statement Thursday from the Detroit-based company.

Jeffrey Brown is seeking to turn around the parent company, Ally Financial, after taking over as CEO last month. He said Feb. 5 that he wants to increase loans to non-prime auto buyers and fund more of them from the bank subsidiary. Ally Financial had an initial public offering in April, and the government sold the last of its stake in the company in December.

“Barbara has played a number of key roles in restoring the company to financial and strategic health,” Brown said in the statement. “We wish her continued success in her future endeavors.”

Yastine joined Ally Financial as chief administrative officer in 2010, and her duties included being chairman of the bank, according to the statement. She added the CEO role for the unit in 2012.

Retail deposits at the bank increased 11 percent last year to $48 billion. The customer base climbed 16 percent to about 909,000 accounts in 2014, according to a Jan. 29 statement in which Ally Financial’s then-CEO Michael Carpenter called the bank “a great success story with a lot of potential yet to be harvested.”

“I am very proud of what we have accomplished at Ally and remain very optimistic about the company’s future,” Yastine said in Thursday’s statement.

Ally traces its roots to a business that opened almost a century ago as a financing arm of General Motors. The lender was bailed out by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2008 and 2009 as part of the effort to save the auto industry.

The consumer bank gained prominence by offering interest rates that were among the highest in the nation and airing advertisements that mocked rivals. One ad asked “even kids know it’s wrong to hide behind fine print — why don’t banks?”

Ally Financial climbed 0.5 percent to $21.26 at 2:07 p.m. in New York trading. That compares with the $25 price in the IPO.