GMAC Financial Services, GM’s finance arm,  has said it has applied to become a bank holding company, making it eligible for aid under the US government’s emergency bank rescue plan.

It said it is submitting an application to the US Treasury to participate in the Capital Purchase Program created under the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, conditional upon becoming a bank holding company.

GMAC also said that as a bank holding company it would obtain increased flexibility and stability to ‘fulfill its core mission of providing automotive and mortgage financing to consumers and businesses’.

GMAC is majority owned by New York-based private equity firm Cerberus Capital Management LP, which also owns most of Chrysler . GM owns a 49% stake in GMAC and the unit provides financing for GM vehicles along with home mortgage loans.