Fresh off securing $31 billion in financing from a syndicate led by Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase, SLM Corp. walked into a tough week. On a corporate level, the company's counterparty credit rating was downgraded, and it remained on watch with negative implications. It was also hit with a class-action suit.
Standard & Poor's reduced the student lender's rating to BBB-'and A-3' from BBB+' and A-2', according to the rating agency. The downgrade reflected a high degree of financial risk, reduced profitability and the possibility that a weakened economy would impact the quality of the lender's assets. Further, the rating agency decided to leave Sallie Mae on CreditWatch Negative because the potential $31 billion in 364-day financing from the bank group is still subject to certain conditions, S&P wrote.