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The department of education has selected college student lender Sallie Maeand three other companies to business the $550 billion in impressive federal college student loans and future loans owned by the government.

Reston, Va.-based Sallie Mae is the country's greatest student lender. It stock surged 39 cents, or 5.1 percent, to $8.08 in afternoon commerce Thursday.

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The brand-new contract announced Wednesday may assist Sallie Mae counter the loss of income if the government, as President Barack Obama wants, stop subsidizing the government-guaranteed loans that consist of the bulk of Sallie Mae's portfolio.

FBR capital Markets analyst Matthew Snowling said the contract compensation is a "big win" for Sallie Mae. It allows Sallie Mae to transform its business model native a lender come a servicer if Obama's plan becomes reality. If the president's budget plan is adopted, Sallie Mae would no longer be a large provider of student loans.

"Winning one of these 4 spots was definitely a make-or-break decision," Snowling said.

The contract is for the controlling of commonwealth student loans owned by the department of Education and does not include loan origination. The five-year contract is intended to begin in August, according to Sallie Mae. The federal government may renew it because that one five-year term.

Servicing a loan requires the administrative aspect of lending—sending monthly statements, collecting payments and also managing delinquencies.

The government said the minimum contract award for "compliant and also performing" lenders is valued in ~ $5 million, through maximum assignments of approximately 50 million college student borrowers every lender end the five-year contract.

Investors have end up being concerned around Sallie Mae's liquidity and funding instance as the loan losses mounted and the Obama management in its fiscal 2010 budget plan spelled the end plans to shift the method students get loans. Fairly than subsidizing private lenders, the government would originate every college loan itself.

Under that plan, Sallie Mae's portfolio would be much more reliant on exclusive loans no guaranteed against default through the government.

In its first quarter, Sallie Mae originated a record $6.6 billion of government-backed loans. Private loan originations, i beg your pardon carry higher interest rates, to be $1.5 billion.

Sallie Mae has been hurt by climbing loan losses. CEO Albert Lord earlier this month that loan charge-offs, which are loans written off as no being repaid, will top this year and stay high following year.

"As a loan handling company, SLM may generate less net income than together a lender," created William Blair & Co. Analyst David long in a research study note previously this month. If the agency converted its entire government-guaranteed loan portfolio into a servicing-only relationship, however, and losses from exclusive loans stabilized, the firm could quiet earn an ext than $1 every share a year, the said.

There's still a most uncertainty, Snowling said. Congress needs to go over the legislation, and also it is unknown exactly how many brand-new loans would also be marketed to the government from private lenders.

Still, Sallie Mae currently has about a $150 billion portfolio that subsidized government loans. Winding that down over the following decade would free up a lot of capital, Snowling said, generating cash flow to reinvest in various other businesses.

Sallie Mae has taken measures to fortify that is liquidity position. It stated in might that it to trust priced $2.6 exchange rate in personal loan securities through the term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility, or TALF in May. TALF is the Fed's regime meant to spark lending to consumer and little businesses.

Also named under the contract to be Lincoln, Neb.-based student lender NelNet, who shares climbed $1.94, or 23.8 percent, come $10.08; AES/PHEAA the Harrisburg, Pa.; and also Madison, Wis.-based Great Lakes education and learning Loan Services.

For Nelnet, a lot smaller company, to win the contract "moves the needle a lot," Snowling said. Having accessibility to 25 percent of the government's portfolio would be extremely necessary for the company.