Navient Corp. reported fourth-quarter 2016 GAAP net income attributable to the company of $145 million, or 48 cents per share, versus $283 million, or 78 cents per share, in the year-ago period.
Core earnings attributable to the company came in at $129 million, or 43 cents per share, versus $169 million, or 47 cents per share, a year earlier.
The year-over-year decline in core earnings was mostly due to a $72 million reduction in net interest income, primarily due to the amortization of the portfolio, and an $11 million increase in operating expenses. Those factors were partially offset by an $18 million reduction in provisions for loan losses and fewer outstanding shares due to buybacks. Core earnings figures also included a reserve for legal contingencies of $17 million, or 4 cents per share.
The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for the final quarter of 2016 was 44 cents.
Navient acquired $709 million of Federal Family Education Loan Program loans in the fourth quarter of 2016, bringing its total for that year to $3.5 billion. As of Dec. 31, 2016, the company held $87.7 billion of FFELP loans. It also bought $130 million of private education loans in the final quarter of 2016. Navient had $23.3 billion of private education loans at year-end 2016.
The total delinquency rate in Navient's FFELP segment was 12.2% at Dec. 31, 2016, up from 11.3% at the end of the third quarter of 2016 but down from 15.2% as of Dec. 31, 2015. The private loan segment's total delinquency rate was 7.4% as of Dec. 31, 2016, up from 6.9% at Sept. 30, 2016, and 7.2% at year-end 2015.
The company bought back 12.5 million common shares in the fourth quarter of 2016 for a total of $180 million.
For full year 2016, Navient posted GAAP net income attributable to the company of $681 million, or $2.12 per share, compared with $984 million, or $2.58 per share, in 2015.
Core earnings attributable to the company for 2016 were $587 million, or $1.82 per share, versus $681 million, or $1.79 per share, in the previous year.
The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for full year 2016 was $1.84.