Sallie Mae to add 2,000 jobs in US
NEW YORK - Sallie Mae gave some hope to the unemployed yesterday, saying it will bring 2,000 jobs to the United States within the next 18 months as it shifts call center and other operations from overseas.
The move marks somewhat of a turnaround for the nation's largest private student lender, which two years ago was faced with the need to slash costs amid collapsing capital markets.
"We were at the point where we couldn't make a student loan at a profit," chief executive Albert L. Lord said during a conference call.
Sallie Mae, also known as SLM Corp., quickly scuttled jobs overseas as part of a plan to save about $300 million over a 12-month period.
Once the cost cuts were made, Sallie Mae started to look into returning those positions to the United States.
The impending influx of jobs is welcome news to the country's unemployed, whose numbers have climbed past 13 million. The jobless rate - which hit 8.5 percent last month - is expected to reach 10 percent by year's end.
Sallie Mae plans to return its 2,000 jobs to the United States by October 2010, with 600 of those positions on tap for its Wilkes-Barre, Pa. facility.
"This is great news for northeastern Pennsylvania," said Senator Bob Casey, Pennsylvania Democrat, at a news conference at the company's facility in Wilkes-Barre with Lord and Representative Paul Kanjorski, Democrat from Pennsylvania.
Sallie Mae also runs facilities in Lynn Haven, Fla.; Fishers, Ind.; Killeen, Texas; and Newark, Del.