WASHINGTON (12/5/08)--Credit Union Student Choice has formed a strategic partnership with ReliaMax Surety, which provides education loan default insurance. “Within our program credit unions have an option of purchasing default insurance for their private student loan portfolio,” said Jon Jeffreys, president of Credit Union Student Choice. “Because most credit unions do not have extensive experience in student lending, we understand they may feel more comfortable adding an extra layer of security as they enter this market,” said Jeffreys. ReliaMax Surety guarantees repayment on 100% of the private student loans made by lenders to undergraduate and post-secondary education students. In 2006, it purchased HEMAR Insurance Corporation of American (HEMAR) from Sallie Mae after the company decided to close the insurance subsidiary and integrate its functions within the Sallie Mae organization. With the purchase, ReliaMax Surety gained a substantial loan portfolio, proprietary systems, and actuarial data related to loan performance. HEMAR began insuring private student loans in 1986 and was the largest guarantor of private student loans before being acquired by Sallie Mae in 1994. At its peak, it insured more than $12 billion for two million borrowers. “The continued fallout from the collapse of the secondary market has created a vacuum in private student lending, and credit unions have a great chance to fill that void by leveraging their lending expertise to help members,” said Jon Wollman, vice president at ReliaMax Surety. Credit Union Student Choice is a credit union service organization (CUSO) that provides a turnkey private student lending solution to 19 credit unions funding nearly $20 million in private student loans in 15 states.