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Sallie Mae Records Third-Quarter Profit as Originations Jump 25%

SLM Corp., the student lender known as Sallie Mae, reported a third-quarter profit of $188 million amid a surge in originations.

Net income rose to 39 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $47 million, or 10 cents, in the year-earlier period, the Newark, Delaware-based company said today in a statement distributed by Business Wire. Excluding items such as the market gains and losses of derivatives contracts, SLM’s core earnings were $277 million, or 58 cents a share, the company said. That compared to an average estimate of 54 cents by nine analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

SLM is boosting private loan originations after legislation passed in 2010 cut companies out of the market for government-guaranteed lending. Sallie Mae made $1.3 billion in education loans in the third quarter, a 25 percent increase from the year-ago period, according to the statement. The lender is forecasting $3.2 billion of originations in 2012.

The charge-off rate, or the percentage of loans that have been written off, fell to 3.23 percent, down from 3.74 percent, the company said. The proportion of payments more than 90 days late rose to 5.3 percent from 5 percent a year ago.

Originations are rising as education debt balloons. Rising higher-education costs have swelled the outstanding amount of U.S. student loans to $1 trillion. The default rate, for the first three years that students are required to make payments, was 13.4 percent, with for-profit colleges reporting the worst results, the U.S. Education Department said in a Sept. 28 report.

Educational loans rose to a record 35 percent of non-mortgage consumer credit in the second quarter, compared with 21 percent in the three months ended in December 2007, according to Wells Fargo & Co.

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