Sallie Mae rallies over jobs in Fishers

August 21, 2009

Sallie Mae CEO Al Lord visited the company's Fishers office this morning in his latest effort to get the word out that his business and his employees' jobs are threatened by a government proposal.

The Virginia-based private student lender, which employs 1,600 in Fishers and 700 in Muncie, fears massive job cuts from President Barack Obama's plan to bring student lending under government control.

Sallie Mae and other lenders that create and manage student loans would no longer receive government subsidies and would be relegated to just servicing the loans. The Obama administration says the plan would save the government $47 million during the next 10 years.

If the plan is approved by federal lawmakers, Sallie Mae said it could cut about one-third of its 8,500 employees nationwide and close some offices.

Jon Kroehler, a Sallie Mae vice president and the company's top executive in Indiana, is uncertain how many jobs could be affected in Indiana, however.

"It would force the company to take a fresh look and go through a complete restructuring," Kroehler said. "Indiana is definitely the state in which the largest number of employees lives today."

Sallie Mae and other private lenders counter that the government could save as much money by allowing them to continue originating loans but no longer receive federal subsidies.

The rally at the Fishers office follows another the company conducted yesterday with employees at its Muncie location. The events weren't open to the public, but some public officials were invited to talk to employees.

"They understand that there is a critical decision being made by Congress right now that impacts their jobs and the way student loans are delivered in this country," Kroehler said.

Lawmakers could vote on the proposal in November during budget proceedings.


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