Sallie Mae, the nation's saving, planning and paying for college company, today announced that it has moved all customer service for its $9.7 billion private education loan portfolio to the United States. The decision represents a significant piece of the company's $5 million investment to enhance the overall customer experience this year.

"As a consumer banking business, we are focused on the success of our customers and that means providing a first-rate customer experience," said Raymond J. Quinlan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Sallie Mae. "Customers want - and are entitled to - simple, straightforward and accurate information and counseling. Our goal is to provide that on each and every call. This decision is an important and necessary step to take our customer service to the next level."

In addition to its own customer service operation at company headquarters, Sallie Mae contracts with Telepeformance, the global leader in multichannel customer experience management, for servicing support. Sallie Mae's decision to locate its private education loan customer service in the United States will add roughly 250 jobs at Teleperformance facilities in Abilene, Texas and Hobart, Ind.

"Teleperformance is proud we have been selected to provide high-quality customer service in both Texas and Indiana for Sallie Mae. This client places the utmost importance on a great experience for their customers," said Paulo César Salles Vasques, CEO, Teleperformance Group. "Based on Sallie Mae's mission, we are also really excited in helping students fulfill their education and reach their full individual potential."

Training of new Sallie Mae customer service agents in both Abilene and Hobart began in February. As of today, all customer service calls or inquiries related to Sallie Mae private education loans are answered by representatives in the United States.

"I am pleased to welcome Sallie Mae, Teleperformance and the new, quality jobs coming to Abilene, Texas," said United States Representative Randy Neugebauer. "In Abilene, they will find many hardworking individuals, families, and good neighbors."

In addition to the decision to bring all customer service of its private education loans to the United States, Sallie Mae will also launch several additional servicing enhancements. Later this year, the company will unveil upgrades and improvements to the online customer service experience and the addition of mobile responsive technology. The company already rolled out a new online resource— Managing Your Loans— to help customers effectively manage their private education loans.

Sallie Mae offers responsible private education loans, saving products and insurance options to students and families to facilitate their investment in higher education. Its Smart Option Student Loan rewards customers for minimizing loan costs and includes consumer safeguards such as cosigner participation, disciplined underwriting, school certification, in-school payments and proactive customer contact. In addition, the company offers free saving and planning for college tools and resources, including Upromise by Sallie Mae, the College Planning Calculator, Sallie Mae Scholarship Search and the College Ahead Mobile App.

Sallie Mae is committed to and values diversity, not only internally within the company but also extending to those with whom we do business. The company currently has approximately 1,400 employees at its Newark, Del. headquarters along with locations in Indianapolis, Ind., Reston, Va, Newton, Mass. and Salt Lake City, Utah.

For more information, visit www.SallieMae.com.

Sallie Mae (NASDAQ: SLM) is the nation's saving, planning, and paying for college company. Whether college is a long way off or just around the corner, Sallie Mae offers products that promote responsible personal finance including private education loans, Upromise rewards, scholarship search, college financial planning tools, insurance, and online retail banking. Learn more at SallieMae.com. Commonly known as Sallie Mae, SLM Corporation and its subsidiaries are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

Copyright Business Wire 2010