DETROIT — Ally Bank, the direct banking subsidiary of Ally Financial Inc., today announced that it has launched a process to explore strategic alternatives for its agency mortgage servicing rights (MSR) portfolio and its business lending operations.

“Ally Bank has been recognized as a leading direct banking franchise and going forward our goal is to focus on our customer-centric deposit activities, as well as supporting Ally's auto finance operation,” said Ally Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Barbara Yastine. “After careful consideration, the decision was made to explore alternatives for the agency MSR portfolio and the business lending operation as they are no longer strategic activities for the bank. We are focused on exploring the best option for these activities going forward.”

The agency MSR portfolio had an unpaid principal balance of approximately $122 billion of mortgage loans in the third quarter 2012.

The business lending unit purchases higher quality mortgages from correspondent lenders and wholesale brokers. In November 2011, Ally Bank began to reduce its volume of correspondent originations to focus on a smaller group of strategic clients. In July, the bank announced it would exit the warehouse lending business, which is expected to be completed by year end.

Ally Bank will continue to originate a modest level of high-quality residential jumbo mortgages for its own portfolio through correspondents and wholesale brokers.