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The state-owned Bank of North Dakota is getting out of the federal student loan business.

Bank President Eric Hardmeyer says the move will enable the bank to focus on its own student loan program, and possibly update software to improve customer service.

The bank had been making federally guaranteed student loans for nearly half a century when the U.S. Department of Education took over the program in 2010. After that, the bank continued to service the federal loans it already had made.

The bank's federal portfolio has since shrunk to less than a third of its former size. The bank is selling it to the nonprofit North Texas Higher Education Authority.

The sale will be complete early next year. It won't affect borrowers' interest rates, payment amounts or due dates.

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