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Why Is Sallie Mae (SLM) Up 2.9% Since Last Earnings Report?

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It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Sallie Mae (SLM - Free Report) . Shares have added about 2.9% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Sallie Mae due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.

Sallie Mae Q1 Earnings Lag Estimates, Expenses Rise

Sallie Mae reported first-quarter 2020 core earnings of 79 cents per share, lagging the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 88 cents. However, the figure compared favorably with 34 cents reported in the prior-year quarter.

Results were affected by lower net interest income and elevated expenses. Also, declines in deposits and loan balance were headwinds. However, the negatives were partially offset by higher non-interest income and lower provisions.

The company’s GAAP net income attributable to common stock was $359 million compared with $154 million a year ago.

Net Interest Income Falls, Expenses Rise

Net interest income for the first quarter was $400 million, down slightly year over year. The decline was attributable to lower interest income. Net interest margin contracted to 5.08% in the quarter from 6.28% reported in the year-ago quarter.

The company incurred non-interest income of $292 million compared with $16 million in the prior-year quarter. The upside mainly stemmed from gains on derivatives and hedging activities, and on sales of loans.

The company’s non-interest expenses climbed 5.1% year over year to $147.3 million. The rise mainly resulted from higher compensation and benefits expenses, and FDIC assessment fees.

Credit Quality: A Mixed Bag

Provision for loan losses was $61 million, down 4.7% from $64 million witnessed in the prior-year quarter.

Delinquencies as a percentage of private education loans in repayment were 3.2%, up 7 bps from the year-ago quarter.

Loans Decline, Deposits Improve

As of Mar 31, 2020, deposits of Sallie Mae were $24.4 billion, up from $24.3 billion as of Dec 31, 2019. Increase in retail and other along with brokered deposits contributed to the upside.

Private education loan portfolio was $20.2 billion, down 11.9% on a sequential basis. During the quarter, the company witnessed private education loan originations of $2.3 billion. As of Mar 31, 2020, personal loans stood at $747 million, down 24.1% sequentially.

Capital Position Strong & Capital Deployment Update

As of Mar 31, 2020, Sallie Mae’s common equity Tier 1 capital was 12.4%, exceeding the “well capitalized” industry benchmark in regulatory requirements.

The company repurchased $461 million of common stock under the share repurchase program.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

In the past month, investors have witnessed a downward trend in fresh estimates. The consensus estimate has shifted -58.68% due to these changes.

VGM Scores

At this time, Sallie Mae has a great Growth Score of A, though it is lagging a lot on the Momentum Score front with an F. However, the stock was allocated a grade of A on the value side, putting it in the top 20% for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of A. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.


Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. It's no surprise Sallie Mae has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). We expect a below average return from the stock in the next few months.

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