Student-loan provider SLM Corp., known as Sallie Mae, said second-quarter profit rose by almost two-thirds from the same quarter a year ago due to a sharp jump in loan originations.

Reston-based Sallie Mae earned $615 million ($1.36 a share), up from $373 million (80 cents).

Its core cash earnings, which it says are a better way of tracking the business, rose to $237 million (52 cents) from $210 million (44 cents). That matched the average forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

During the quarter, Sallie Mae said, loans originated by its owned or affiliated brands rose 24 percent, to $2.3 billion.

Sallie Mae's managed loan portfolio was $94.9 billion at the end of the quarter, a 14 percent increase from June 2003 levels.

For the first six months of the year, the company reported profit of $906 million ($2) up from $789 million ($1.68) for the first six months of 2003.

Sallie Mae shares rose 78 cents, or 2 percent, to close at $38.74 yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange.

* Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc., the Olney-based parent of Sandy Spring Bank, said profit fell to $6.4 million (43 cents a share) in the second quarter from $8.7 million (60 cents) in the same quarter a year earlier. For the six months ended June 30, profit fell to $13.7 million (93 cents) from $17.1 million ($1.16) in the same period of 2003.

* Columbia Bancorp, parent of Columbia Bank, said profit for the second quarter rose to $3.1 million (42 cents a share) from $2.8 million (39 cents) in the same quarter a year earlier. For the first half of the year, the Columbia company said, it earned $6.1 million (82 cents a share), up from $5.3 million (73 cents a share) in the same period of 2003.

* Fauquier Bankshares Inc. said second-quarter profit rose to $1.1 million (31 cents a share) from $946,000 (27 cents) in the year-ago quarter. The Warrenton parent of Fauquier Bank said that for the six months ended June 30, earnings rose to $2.2 million (61 cents) from $2 million (59 cents) in the same period a year ago.

Compiled from reports by Washington Post staff writers and the Associated Press.