Sallie Mae would originate student loans in only a few markets under a plan released Wednesday by a group of dissident shareholders.
"The portrayal that we're going to take on the banking industry head on totally mischaracterizes our business plan," said Ronald O. Mueller, a partner with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher law firm who represents the dissident shareholders. "Our main objective is to lower the cost of loan acquisitions."
Whether the government-sponsored enterprise will begin originating student loans has been the primary issue dividing management and the dissidents, known as the Committee to Restore Value. The existing managers of the Student Loan Marketing Association have said the company will not enter the loan-origination business.
The committee's plan, submitted to the Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday, did not detail how far or in exactly which markets Sallie Mae would lend.
Under the plan, Sallie Mae would continue servicing and securitizing student loans made by banks. In "a limited number of markets," however, Sallie Mae would originate loans, Mr. Mueller said.
Although Sallie Mae officials had not seen the committee's plan at press time, spokeswoman Gisela Vallandigham said that any level of origination will "give shareholders cause for concern."
"The CRV still wants us to compete with our customers," she said.
Naming 13 of the 15 members it would place on the Sallie Mae board, the dissidents said former Sallie Mae president Edward A. Fox would be its chairman. The committee's slate includes none of the current Sallie Mae directors.
Sallie Mae's management offered five board seats to the committee in its June 13 proxy. David J. Vitale, vice chairman of First Chicago NBD Corp, was nominated as chairman.
Management and the dissidents agreed in May to two shareholder votes in July on whether Sallie Mae should be privatized and who will run the company.
A 1996 law requires the government to liquidate the $40 billion-asset student loan concern by 2012 unless half the shareholders approve a privatization plan by March 1998.