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Ally pays back $2.9 billion in FDIC-backed debt

(Reuters) - Ally Financial Inc, the U.S. auto lender 74 percent owned by the U.S. government, on Wednesday said it has repaid $2.9 billion in debt issued under a financial-crisis-era program designed to bolster confidence in the banking system.

The former auto lending arm of General Motors Co paid back $2.9 billion in debt guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp's Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program.

The debt, issued on Oct 30, 2009, came due on Tuesday. The lender plans to repay the remaining $4.5 billion in debt it issued under the program in December.

Other financial institutions such as Bank of America Corp have been repaying debt issued under the program.

"The TLGP enabled Ally to access another source of liquidity during a time when there were limited options for financial institutions," said Jeff Brown, Ally's executive vice president of finance and corporate planning.

Ally is trying to refocus its business on U.S. auto lending and banking. Its Residential Capital mortgage unit filed for bankruptcy in May, and it has been selling international operations in a bid to speed up payment to U.S. taxpayers.

Ally, once known as GMAC, received $17 billion in bailouts from the U.S. government during the financial crisis. Including dividend payments, it has paid back $5.8 billion. (Reporting By Rick Rothacker; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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