Trivent becomes majority shareholder of College Ave student lender

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Wilmington-based College Ave Student Loans, a private fintech student lender announced an agreement under which Thrivent is the new majority shareholder.

The investment emphasizes College Ave as a major player in private student loans, according to a statement. It also allows College Ave to explore faster growth and new expansion opportunities while maintaining its promise to provide best-in-class products to students and families, according to a statement.

In less than 10 years, the fintech startup has become the third-largest player in school loans, and now generates and manages more than $1 billion in student loans a year.

“This is an ideal opportunity for College Ave as we will benefit from a strategic partnership with Thrivent and access capital to continue to invest and grow our business,” said Joe DePaulo, co-founder and CEO of College Ave Student Loans. “We are committed to helping students and their families make informed decisions about financing their education through responsible and competitive loans. This partnership helps us pursue our mission.

“At Thrivent, we are always looking for ways to leverage our financial strength and deliver value to our members,” said Stephen Friend, Vice President of Mergers & Acquisitions and Corporate Development at Thrivent. “This formalized relationship with College Ave Student Loans is a great way for us to invest in an important asset class and partner with an organization with a strong management team, an attractive growth trajectory and… ‘a mission that aligns with our goal of helping people make the most of everything they’ve been given.

As part of the transaction completed on July 21, 2022, no change in management, strategy or brand is expected. College Ave has approximately 75 employees.

Thrivent, a nonprofit fraternal corporation and Fortune 500 company, is the product of a merger of two Lutheran financial organizations based in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

The denomination has formed fraternal societies as a means of providing insurance and financial services to members. In the past, Lutherans were prohibited from joining other fraternal societies. Founder Martin Luther also preached against the use of insurance.

Membership was later opened to non-Lutherans.

Thrivent has financial connections to Lutheran colleges in the county, adding a possible marketing channel for College Ave

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