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AmeriCredit Investor Could Lighten Stake

The Fairholme spokesman declined comment on whether the firm was planning to sell shares of AmeriCredit, and made no further statements.

Am AmeriCredit spokeswoman, referring to comments made in the company's press release, said Berkowitz did not leave on bad terms, nor was the resignation a result of any disagreement on strategy or with management.

AmeriCredit is one of the few public companies that specifically target the subprime automobile loan market -- a niche that came under great pressure during the housing downturn and freezing credit markets. The company says it generally charges higher interest rates in order to serve this lower credit market. AmeriCredit acknowledges it experiences a higher level of credit losses than other auto financing companies as a result of its concentration on subprime customers, and relies on securitizing auto loans to obtain funding.

AmeriCredit made a profit of $26 million, or 19 cents a share, in the three months ending September 30, its fiscal first quarter, vs. a loss in the year-earlier quarter. CEO Dan Berce said during the company's first-quarter conference call last month that AmeriCredit was seeing "a moderation in the rate of deterioration in our credit performance."

"With ample liquidity, sufficient warehouse capacity and an improving capital markets environment, we are well-positioned to rebuild loan origination levels," Berce added.

As the credit markets thaw with the government initiating a host of federal programs to get credit flowing again, AmeriCredit's outlook is positive, Gokhale says.
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