WASHINGTON - Student Loan Marketing Association President Lawrence Hough is closing in on his goal of shedding the federal charter that confines his company to the business of buying and servicing student loans originated by banks.

A bill introduced recently by Rep. Howard McKeon, R-Calif., would free Sallie Mae to form a state-chartered holding company and diversify. A House panel had been scheduled to vote on the measure Wednesday, but postponed action until after Memorial Day.

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