Beware of Shady Loan Servicing Companies
Student loans are often a necessity for those looking to go to college. They can also be a life-altering commitment that you may have to deal with for decades to come. As with most things, not all student loans are created equal.
Federal loans are usually going to be easier on the debtor than private loans. However, depending on your financial situation, federal loans alone may not cover the full costs and private loans will be an unavoidable option. Even within private lenders, there are those who will become more burden than boon.
Regardless of which loans you go with, you’re going to have to deal with loan servicing companies. These companies are who you have to go through to work out your repayment. Unfortunately, a lot of these companies are not designed with the best interest of borrowers in mind.
Unsurprisingly, these companies get their fair share of complaints. Granted, when you’re in the business of telling people how much money they owe, you’re unlikely to make many friends. However, these complaints go beyond people simply not wanting to pay. Some of these services are fundamentally broken and costing debtors thousands of dollars.
We’d like to let you know of a few student loan services you should probably steer clear from if at all possible.
Navient Solutions is at the top of this list because they are at the bottom of so many others. In fact, they had the highest complaint rate in 2018. That probably has something to do with the fact that they are the biggest loan servicing agency in the country, servicing around seven million people.
Of all the loan servicing complaints recorded in 2018, Navient’s make up 45.9% of them. They were even sued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, citing failure to provide basic functionality every level of the repayment process.
Navient Solutions is pretty much everywhere. However, if you can avoid it, you should.
The trouble with loan servicing companies is that the borrower typically doesn’t have any choice in the matter after accepting the particular loan. That’s why it’s important to get this information before you sign the agreement.
Nelnet is another go-to servicing company for both federal and private loans. You may think that because you only had federal loans, your loan repayment would be between you and the government. That is sadly not the case. Nelnet is a publically traded company. The government may have your interests in mind, but Nelnet does not.
Of all their complaints, you might expect ‘difficulty paying’ to be the number one. You’d be wrong. 63% of their complaints were over servicing issues. That means they either didn’t provide enough information, they didn’t make resources easy enough to find, or they made repayment more difficult in any number of other ways.
Another company that handles repayment services for federal loans, Ameritech Financial is so shady that the Federal Trade Commission filed suit against them and the government had to temporarily shut them down to conduct a full review of their practices.
It’s amazing what companies like this can get away with before they are finally stopped. Their victims often come away with more debt and worse credit even if they are.