SLM Corp., the parent company of student loan lender Sallie Mae, said Monday that it had fired the subsidiary's chief financial officer and disciplined several other executives after finishing an internal accounting investigation.
In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Sallie Mae said that it discovered three incidents in 2003 where managers at a debt collection subsidiary had shifted revenue to earlier months in order to meet performance goals and receive bonuses. The lender said that the irregularities amounted to less than $75,000, and that a senior manager who had been involved was being demoted, while other managers were also being reprimanded.
Sallie Mae, which took in $1.4 billion in revenue in 2003, said that the accounting irregularities were immaterial to its revenue that year, and that the SEC would not take further action.
In January 2004, Sallie Mae began its own investigation, shortly after the SEC told the company it would be investigating accounting at the unnamed debt collection subsidiary. Sallie Mae owns or manages student loans for 8 million borrowers, and employs 10,000 people. Congress created the company in 1972 as a government-sponsored enterprise before SLM began privatizing its operations in 1997, a process that was completed at the end of 2004.
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