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6 Reasons to Add Navient Stock to Your Portfolio Now

Navient Corporation NAVI started operating independently as a loan management, servicing and asset recovery company, following the split of SLM Corporation into two distinct publicly traded entities in Apr 2014. Navient continues to be the biggest portfolio holder of both education loans insured or guaranteed under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) as well as Private Education Loans.

The company faces revenue pressure as following the 2010 reform law all federal student loans are originated through the Direct Student Loan Program of the U.S. Department of Education. Owing to this legislation, Navient’s interest income on its FFELP loan portfolio and fee-based revenue from it are expected to gradually decrease as existing FFELP loans are paid down, refinanced or repaid following default by guarantors.

Further, the U.S. student loan industry is currently under heightened regulatory scrutiny over alleged anti-consumer practices. Navient, which services over $300 billion in student loans for more than 12 million customers, is currently is struggling with several litigation issues.

Nevertheless, keeping headwinds in the sidelines, the stock has plenty of upside. 

Why Navient Is Attractive

High Dividend Yield: Given its decent cash generating capacities, Navient remains committed to increasing shareholders’ wealth by raising dividend payments and share buybacks. Notably, in Jan 2015, the company declared a 7% hike in its quarterly dividend to 16 cents per share. Considering last day’s closing price of $12.49 per share, the dividend yield currently stands at 5%.

Focused on Loan Acquisition: With growing demand, the student loan market has turned into one of the biggest consumer debt markets of the nation. Though conditions in the financial markets have been challenging lately, Navient’s continued efforts to acquire student loan portfolios, both FFELP and Private Education Loans, supports its growth prospects. Notably during the first-quarter 2016, the company purchased over $1.5 billion of FFELP Loans. As of Mar 31, 2016, the company’s FFELP loans stood at $95.0 billion and the private education loans totaled $25.5 billion.

Boosting Asset Recovery Business: Navient seems on track with initiatives to lay the foundation for independent growth. Strengthening its asset recovery and business process outsourcing capabilities into the lucrative health care payments sector, Navient acquired Hendersonville, TN-based Xtend Healthcare in Oct 2015. It had previously acquired Gila LLC, an asset recovery and business process outsourcing firm, in Feb 2015.

Improving Asset Quality: During the first quarter 2016, provision for credit losses decreased 11.2% year over year to $111 million. Also, total delinquencies in private education loan portfolio came in at 6.2% of loans in repayment, down 70 bps. Charge-off rate of 2.4% of average loans decreased from 2.9% in the prior-year quarter.

Estimate Revisions: The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Navient rose 2.7% to $1.88 per share for 2016 and 2% to $2.01 per share for 2017, over the past 30 days. The positive earnings estimate revisions indicate analysts’ confidence and substantiate the stocks’ Zacks Rank #2(Buy).
Valuation Looks Reasonable: Navient has a Value Style Score of ‘B’. The Value Style Score condenses all valuation metrics into one actionable score that helps investors steer clear of ‘value traps’ and identify stocks that are truly trading at a discount. Our research shows that stocks with Style Scores of ‘A’ or ‘B’ when combined with Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or #2 offer the best upside potential.

Considering the above positive traits, we believe investing in Navient should not disappoint you.

Other Stocks to Consider

Some other top-ranked stocks in the finance space include Affiliated Managers Group Inc. AMG, Raymond James Financial, Inc. (RJF) and Cohen & Steers Inc. CNS. All three stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1.

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report >>

Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report
NAVIENT CORP (NAVI): Free Stock Analysis Report
AFFIL MANAGERS (AMG): Free Stock Analysis Report
COHEN&STRS INC (CNS): Free Stock Analysis Report
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