Sallie Mae (NASDAQ: SLM), formally SLM Corporation, today released third-quarter 2012 financial results that included increased private education loan originations and lower operating expenses compared with the year-ago quarter. “The quarter further confirms the rebound of our private credit business,” said Albert L. Lord, vice chairman and CEO. “While our balance sheet and earnings quality grow, so do our future prospects.” For the third-quarter 2012, GAAP net income was $188 million ($.39 diluted earnings per share), compared with net loss of $47 million ($.10 diluted loss per share) for the year-ago quarter. Core earnings for the quarter were $277 million ($.58 diluted earnings per share), compared with $188 million ($.36 diluted earnings per share) in the year-ago quarter. Earnings improvement was primarily due to a $139 million lower loan loss provision largely attributable to the adoption of new accounting guidance for troubled debt restructurings (TDRs) in the year-ago quarter. Also, debt repurchase gains were $44 million higher and operating expenses were $41 million lower. Net interest income was $40 million lower primarily due to higher funding costs which were partly due to refinancing debt into longer-term liabilities and lower federally guaranteed student loan balances. Sallie Mae provides results on a core earnings basis because management utilizes this information in making management decisions. The changes in GAAP net income are driven by the same core earnings items discussed above as well as changes in mark-to-market unrealized gains and losses on derivative contracts and amortization and impairment of goodwill and intangible assets that are recognized in GAAP, but not in core earnings, results. Third-quarter 2012 and 2011 GAAP results included losses of $140 million and $371 million, respectively, resulting from derivative accounting treatment which is excluded from core earnings results. Consumer Lending In the consumer lending segment, Sallie Mae originates, finances and services private education loans.