Wells Fargo to sell student loan book to Apollo, Blackstone

Wells Fargo to sell student loan book to Apollo, Blackstone

The sale is part of CEO Charlie Scharf's effort to focus the bank on key businesses

Wells Fargo & Co. agreed to sell its $10 billion private student loan book to a group including Apollo Global Management Inc. and Blackstone Group Inc., according to people familiar with the matter.

Wells Fargo said in a statement late Friday that it had agreed to the sale, without identifying the investors or disclosing terms. Apollo and Blackstone were the purchasers, the people said, asking not to be identified discussing a private matter.

Representatives for Apollo and Blackstone declined to comment. A representative for Wells Fargo declined to comment beyond the statement.

The portfolio will be serviced by Nelnet Inc., according to the statement. The loans have an average FICO score of 768 and rank as high quality, a person with knowledge of the portfolio said earlier this month.

Wells Fargo has been in talks to pare back certain businesses as Chief Executive Charlie Scharf, who took over late last year, prepares to lay out his vision for the beleaguered lender. In his time atop the firm, Scharf has been conducting business reviews and promised a simpler structure focusing on key units. He told analysts in October that Wells Fargo will “continue to exit some things which aren’t core to the U.S. banking franchise.”

Wells Fargo has also been exploring selling its $607 billion asset manager, as well as its corporate trust and private-label credit cards businesses, Bloomberg has reported. The lender was expected to receive second-round bids for its asset management arm on Friday, Dow Jones reported.

[More: Ameriprise, CI eyeing Wells Fargo asset management unit]

Wells Fargo notified customers in September that it would exit the private student loan business. It will accept new applications from existing private student loan borrowers until late January, according to the statement. The principal balance of the student loan portfolio was $10 billion at the end of September, it said.

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