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Fitch: Ongoing Student Loan Servicer Consolidation Should Not Impact ABS Ratings

Wireless News June 10, 2010

Wireless News 06-10-2010 Fitch: Ongoing Student Loan Servicer Consolidation Should Not Impact ABS Ratings Type: News web site chase student loans

Fitch Ratings reported it does not believe recent and expected student loan servicer consolidation will have a material effect on the performance of Student Loan Asset Backed Securities (SLABS) or existing ratings.

Recent servicer consolidation was expected because of the recently passed health care legislation that included provisions for the discontinuation of the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) in favor of the new federal government Direct Loan Program (DLP).

On March 30, President Obama signed into law HR 4872, the Healthcare and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010. Included in the Act is the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009 (SAFRA) that ends the FFEL Program. As a result, effective July 1, all federal student loans will be provided directly by the federal government through the DLP.

Although the FFELP loan origination business of private lenders has essentially disappeared, the legislation provides an opportunity for these lenders, including not for profit state agencies, to maintain a role in the business through loan servicing. Participants need to meet certain qualifications and have to bid for the servicing contract; however, eligible not-for-profit servicers and state agencies with a history of outstanding servicing performance would receive special consideration.

The new legislation has led some issuers to reconsider business plans and sell their servicing platform. Student loan servicer consolidation noted in recent years includes

ACS Education Services’ acquisition of:

–Panhandle Plains’ student loan servicing operations; this web site chase student loans

–Student Loan Finance’s student loan servicing operations;

–Chase Student Loan Servicing

Fitch also noted recent investor interest in backup servicers and/ or administrators named to new transactions of certain issuers. A backup servicer is a good transaction mitigant for smaller issuers who could be forced to discontinue operations because of market and regulatory changes even as they attempt to modify their business models.

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