This week, the CFPB Student Loan Ombudsman issued his Annual Report. CBA, the banking industry’s voice on private student lending, would like to highlight several key points about the items covered in the CFPB’s report.
- One complaint is one too many. CBA members take each and every private loan complaint seriously and we will continue to help consumers and address their concerns. While CBA members focus on all customers, they are especially committed to making sure servicing practices meet the unique needs of service members.
- Context matters - - and tells a different story: The ratio of complaints to private loan borrowers is 0.0008% or 1/12th of 1%. Yes! That is Zero Point Zero, Zero, Zero Eight Percent. We believe the CFPB should highlight and applaud how few complaints were received given the number of private loan borrowers.
- According to the CFPB, 3.48 million people borrowed private loans from 2005 to 20111, and they have received 2,857 complaints.
- Where were the federal complaints? The Report does a disservice to consumers by ignoring complaints on federal student loans - 85% of outstanding loan amounts.
- The federal government is responsible for over 85% of all existing student loan debt, but the Bureau decided these complaints were not worth highlighting in its annual report despite the CFPB’s acknowledgement it received a “large number” of complaints on federal loans.
- Shouldn’t the government be transparent on the complaints it receives? Especially when they are garnishing tax refunds, benefits, and social security checks.
- The CFPB Report fails to discuss the regulatory obstacles which make it difficult for lenders to provide private loan borrowers more repayment flexibility. CBA has spoken with the Bureau on this issue and will continue to work on this area. This is something the CFPB should acknowledge, instead of painting the industry in a negative light.
1 CFPB Private Student Loan report page 7: (www.consumerfinance.gov/reports/private-student-loans-report/)
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CBA's Education Funding Committee is the public policy voice for private-market capital to fund loans supporting America’s students. The special challenges facing American higher education necessitate that voice more than ever, particularly as Congress reauthorizes the Higher Education Act.
The Committee worked successfully with student and school groups as well as with the Bush Administration and our community colleagues to secure legislation providing a viable interest rate on Federal student loans made on or after July 1, 2003. Enactment of this legislation in January, 2002, provides a sound foundation for the student loan programs as Congress turns to the task of reauthorizing the student aid programs.
The principal activity of the Committee is currently the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act. The Committee has established a Reauthorization Task Force to assess the needs of America’s students and to develop proposals based on this assessment. CBA is working with community colleagues, especially student and school groups, on proposals reflecting the shared goal of keeping college affordable for all Americans.
Other issues the Committee is working on include a review of the Federal Consolidation Loan program, which has strayed from its historical role as a means of addressing the problems of students with multiple holders of their loans or facing difficult repayment burdens. CBA anticipates working with higher education community colleagues to assure that relief is available for borrowers facing repayment challenges, but that the primary focus of the federal student loan programs remains helping students go to college.
The Committee is supported by task forces on reauthorization, privacy and legislation. The CBA staff is assisted in supporting the Committee by special counsel Dean Blakey Washington Partners.