Why SLM Corp is Selling-Off on Friday

NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- SLM Corp  (SLM), commonly referred to as Sallie Mae, is selling off on Friday after reporting lower-than-expected earnings a day earlier.

By late morning, shares had dived 9% to $24.71.

Excluding items such as gains and losses from derivative contracts, the education-focused financial services company reported net income for the fourth quarter of 61 cents a share. Earnings missed estimates of 73 cents a share according to analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Net profit for the full-year of $1.29 billion came in 21.7% higher than fiscal 2012. Primarily, the increase was the result of lower provision for loan losses, gains on asset sales, and increases in servicing and contingency revenue.

"In 2013, we demonstrated the value of our FFELP [Federal Family Education Loan Program] cash flows, continued to return excess capital to our shareholders and ended the year with strong capital and reserve positions," said CEO John F. Remondi in a statement.

"Portfolio performance continues to improve: a higher percentage of our customers experienced payment success due to our sound underwriting and emphasis on establishing early repayment habits. In 2014, our top priority remains to provide the quality service and innovative tools our customers need to successfully manage their loans and avoid the devastating consequences of default," he continued.

TheStreet Ratings team rates SLM CORP as a Buy with a ratings score of B-. The team has this to say about their recommendation:

"We rate SLM CORP (SLM) a BUY. This is driven by a few notable strengths, which we believe should have a greater impact than any weaknesses, and should give investors a better performance opportunity than most stocks we cover. The company's strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its solid stock price performance, impressive record of earnings per share growth, compelling growth in net income, notable return on equity and attractive valuation levels. We feel these strengths outweigh the fact that the company has had generally high debt management risk by most measures that we evaluated."

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