SLM Corp., the government-chartered entity commonly known as Sallie Mae, said annual profits more than doubled last year as the company expanded its student loan origination business to $11.9 billion-half of the private sector market-just three years after starting to originate loans.
The company, originally chartered to facilitate a secondary market for student loans made by credit unions and other lenders, said net income rose 15% in its fourth quarter to $306 million, or $1.93 a share, from $266 million, or $1.69 a share, for the fourth quarter in 2001. As a result, net income for the year soared by 106% to $792 million, or $4.93 a share, from $384 million, or $2.28 a share, for 2001.
The company's earnings were impaired by a fourth quarter charge of $51 million, or 32 cents a share, to write-off losses on its portfolio of commercial aircraft leases. Fourth quarter results also include $262 million in profits on the company's student loan securitizations, and a $51 million gain on its hedging portfolio. Sallie Mae claimed a student loan portfolio of more than $78 billion at year-end.