KeyCorp to buy digital platform from Conn. community bank

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KeyCorp in Cleveland has agreed to buy the digital lending business of Laurel Road Bank in Darien, Conn.

The $138.8 billion-asset Key did not disclose the price it will pay for the platform, which allows users to refinance student loans and originate mortgages. As part of the deal, 140 employees from Laurel Road will join Key.

The deal does not include Laurel Road's three branches. Laurel Road is to keep its name and brand.

“Key is focused on building targeted scale against discrete client segments through distinctive platforms,” Chris Gorman, the company's vice chairman and president of banking, said in Wednesday's press release.

“Laurel Road's model of focusing on advanced degree professionals is not only consistent with Key's approach but also complements our focus on specific sectors more broadly," Gorman added. "We have invested significant resources in building our own strategic partnerships with fintech companies and we have yet to encounter a firm that so clearly matches our business and cultural approach to serving clients."

Laurel Road, formerly Darien Rowayton Bank, started a student loan refinancing program in 2013 and has since refinanced more than $4 billion in loans. In 2017, the bank rebranded and began to focus primarily on offering student loan refinancing to groups such as health care professionals, lawyers and graduate students.

Using the same technology, Laurel Road started originating mortgages last year. It also offers consumer and commercial banking products.

Key has made similar deals for fintech firms before, including its 2017 acquisition of the personal financial management company HelloWallet.

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