Navient Corp. reported a less-than-stellar fourth quarter, with core earnings per share down from the previous year, coming in at 53 cents per share—missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by one penny. Navient’s net income for the fourth quarter of 2016 was $129 million, down from $169 million in the last quarter of 2015. Net income for the entire year was $587 million, a decrease from the $681 million reported in 2015 by Navient. The fourth quarter earnings reflect a decrease in net interest income and higher expenses. Yet experts point out that investors should take note that certain circumstances—such as the impact of Navient breaking off from Sallie in 2014 and the subsequent restructuring expenses—were not taken into consideration when reporting the quarter four 2016 earnings. In addition, Navient did record a growth in non-interest income, as well as lower provision for credit losses in the quarter. The report also put the company’s GAAP net income at $145 million (48 cents per share). For all of 2016, core EPS was $1.82, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by one penny. Yet it was an improvement from the prior year, which ended at $1.79. Navient’s Federally Guaranteed Student Loans (FFELP) core earnings decreased by 4.2 percent, while its private student loans were down over 26 percent. The total rate for students failing to make payments on their loans was 7.4 percent. Despite weaker Q4 earnings—and the additional impact of the federal and state lawsuits filed against Navient in the last week, which accuse the company of misleading borrowers into higher payments and other charges—experts still expect the company to be a leader in the student-lending industry. Navient currently services more than $300 billion in student loans. On that note, the value of various different private companies involved in student loans, including student loan servicers, private banks, and private consolidation lenders, are also likely to change. In fact, they are expected to rise in value with the new policies implemented by the Trump Administration. With that in mind, it will be interesting to see how Navient reacts compared to the rest of the field in the next year.   image copyright Ken Teegardin