NEWARK, Del.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Sallie Mae (NASDAQ: SLM) today celebrated 40 years of serving students and families in their pursuit of higher education.
When Sallie Mae opened on May 13, 1973 at 1750 K Street in Washington, D.C., the company was a government-sponsored start-up with just seven employees. Today, Sallie Mae is the nation’s No. 1 financial services company specializing in education, employing more than 7,000 people nationwide.
Delaware employees celebrated the company’s 40th anniversary in Newark at a ceremony today at the corporate headquarters. They were joined by Delaware Governor Jack Markell and other leaders in government, business and education.
“For 40 years, Sallie Mae has helped students make an investment in their future,” Gov. Markell said. “We’re happy the company continues to invest in our state’s economic future as well. Its commitment to helping students obtain access to higher education is critical to preparing our workforce for the jobs of tomorrow.”
Sallie Mae has undergone significant transformations since its creation. The company went public in 1983. It began privatization in 1997 and completed the process in 2004. The company acquired multiple loan origination franchises and receivables management companies to enhance and diversify its lines of business.
In 2009, Sallie Mae began to service federal loans on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education. After the federal government ended the Federal Family Education Loan Program in 2010, Sallie Mae refocused its business to emphasize its consumer lending and business services segments. In the transition, its private loan originations have increased, and its emphasis on credit quality and responsible lending remain at the core of its lending philosophy.
Introduced in March 2009, Sallie Mae’s Smart Option Student Loan was the first national private education loan product to require interest-only payments during school to reduce consumers’ total borrowing costs. Later it introduced additional payment and fixed-interest-rate options, adding even more choice and flexibility to its private education loan products.
Through the years, Sallie Mae has also become a leader in helping families save for college. In 2006, Sallie Mae acquired Upromise and Upromise Investments. To date, Americans have earned nearly $750 million in Upromise rewards to boost their college savings accounts. And, in 2011, Sallie Mae expanded its college savings initiatives with retail banking products: high-yield savings accounts and CDs through Sallie Mae Bank.
“At the time of our creation, the media heralded Sallie Mae as an investment in America’s future that would open the way for thousands of qualified students to achieve what would otherwise have been an impossible dream,” said Albert L. Lord, vice chairman & CEO. “A lot has changed since 1973, but one thing has remained very much the same – a higher education generates undeniable value for those who complete it. My colleagues and I are quite proud of the difference we have made by helping more than 31 million students invest in themselves. As we look ahead, we remain committed to our mission of helping students and families save, plan and pay responsibly for college.”
Sara Patterson is the longest-tenured employee at Sallie Mae with 34 years of experience. She works at the Sallie Mae center in Fishers, Ind.
“Sallie Mae has experienced significant change in all those years, but it has adapted to new opportunities and continued to make a difference to millions of students,” Patterson said. “That’s a true testament to the leadership of the company, but also to all the people who work at Sallie Mae. They’re just good people who want to do a good job every day.”
Since 2001, The Sallie Mae Fund, the charitable organization sponsored by Sallie Mae, has contributed more than $125 million to increase access to higher education and support local communities.
To mark 40 years and to commit to helping the next generation of students dream, invest and succeed, company executives presented a $40,000 check to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware. The program will support college awareness education statewide.
“Our partnership with Sallie Mae is enabling our youth to aspire beyond high school to prepare for success in college and throughout life,” said George Krupanski, president of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Delaware. “The grant builds upon a $250,000 commitment made by Sallie Mae in August 2012 to our organization and demonstrates first hand Sallie Mae's commitment to the youth of our state.”
Sallie Mae (NASDAQ: SLM) is the nation’s No. 1 financial services company specializing in education. Celebrating 40 years of making a difference, Sallie Mae continues to turn education dreams into reality for American families, today serving 25 million customers. With products and services that include 529 college savings plans, Upromise rewards, scholarship search and planning tools, education loans, insurance, and online banking, Sallie Mae offers solutions that help families save, plan, and pay for college. Sallie Mae also provides financial services to hundreds of college campuses as well as to federal and state governments. 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.