Wells Fargo buys large loan portfolio from German bank

The package from WestLB AG includes short-term loans to private equity funds and real estate investment trusts.

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Photo: Reed Saxon, Associated Press - Ap

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Wells Fargo & Co. is paying an undisclosed sum for a $6 billion loan portfolio from German lender WestLB AG, a state-controlled lender that was bailed out during the financial crisis and agreed to be broken up.

The transaction is expected to close later this week, San Francisco-based Wells Fargo said on Monday.

The subscription finance portfolio includes short-term loans to private equity funds and real estate investment trusts, or REITs, mostly in the United States, and has about $3 billion in commitments outstanding.

WestLB has been slashing its organization after the European Commission ordered the breakup of the troubled Dusseldorf bank last year.

Wells Fargo, which has a major presence in the Twin Cities, said in its statement that the WestLB portfolio gives Wells Fargo a way to expand its subscription finance business, which it has been growing organically for years.

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman described the loans in the WestLB portfolio as "high quality performing loans" and said the portfolio has never suffered a loss.

Separate from the transaction, Wells Fargo hired Dee Dee Sklar, former head of WestLB's subscription finance group, to run Wells Fargo's subscription finance business.

Sklar will lead a unit of 14 people, including 8 former WestLB employees, in Wells Fargo's New York office.

Jennifer Bjorhus • 612-673-4683

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