The largest student lender in the US, Sallie Mae, is going to hire 2,000 people over the next 18 months. However, these are not new jobs being created but rather a shifting of jobs from overseas to domestic centres. These positions are for call-centre, information-technology and operations-support responsibilities.
Albert Lord, chairman and CEO of SLM Corp, commonly known as Sallie Mae, spoke this morning on the CNBC cable TV network, making the announcement.
"For 37 years, we have been dedicated to helping America's students enhance their lives through an investment in higher education,'' Lord said. ''We also contribute economically to the many communities where we operate our business. The current economic environment has caused our communities to struggle with job losses. They need jobs, and we will put 2,000 of them into U.S. facilities as soon as we possibly can.''
The Reston, Virginia-based company runs facilities in 20 US locations including Lynn Haven, Florida, Fishers, Indiana, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, Killeen, Texas and Newark, Delaware. It employs around 8,000 people in the country.
Sallie, which makes private and federal student loans, gets nearly one-third of its income from the federal student loans it makes for the government. It had $34 billion in private loans at the end of the fourth quarter and $146 billion in federal student loans.
Sallie Mae said last month it was replacing its private loan with a shorter-term one that requires borrowers to make monthly interest payments while they are in school. The new loan, which is already available, will help borrowers reduce the total amount of interest they pay, although the additional requirements could make it even harder for some borrowers to get a loan.
The interest-only requirement is likely to push private loans - which often come with higher interest rates than federal loans - out of reach for more borrowers. But the new structure could make it easier for Sallie Mae to sell bundles of the loans as securities to investors, which could, in turn, make more loans available for borrowers.