A bank's profitability has an effect on its long-term survivability. A bank can retain its earnings, giving a boost to its capital cushion, or put them to work addressing problematic loans, potentially making the bank more resilient in times of trouble. However, banks that are losing money are less able to do those things.
On Bankrate's earnings test, Sallie Mae Bank scored 22 out of a possible 30, above the national average of 15.12.
One widely used way to measure a bank's earnings is return on equity, or net income (profit, essentially) divided by total equity. Sallie Mae Bank's most recent annualized quarterly return on equity was 14.50 percent, above the national average of 8.10 percent.
The bank earned net income of $317.3 million on total equity of $2.35 billion for the twelve months ended December 31, 2017. The bank had an annualized return on average assets, or ROA, of 1.60 percent, above the 1 percent deemed satisfactory in accordance with industry standards, and above the average for U.S. banks of 1.00 percent.