Student-loan processor Navient is set to cancel $ 1.7 billion in debt

The former division of student-loan company Sally May has said it will cancel $ 1.7 billion in private student loans to about 66,000 borrowers.

Navind Corp.

Navi 0.37%

, A student-loan servant who split from Sally May in 2014, agreed the amount in a settlement with the 40 State Attorney General. The loans are private loans, so the losses will be offset by Navient’s investors rather than the federal government.

Almost all canceled loans became the second highest form of home loan after mortgage, from Sally May to 2002, when student debt increased. Sally May was at the forefront of that boom, the largest initiator of private loans and the largest lender under a federal program to guarantee student loans.

Loans went primarily to borrowers with bad credit, and those who attended schools with shaky records, including many nonprofit schools, According to a website The solution is run by the administrator. All debts forgiven in the contract have failed.

New York Attorney General Letidia James said: “For a long time, Navient contributed to the national student debt crisis by trapping thousands of students in debt.

As part of the deal, Navyant continued to deny claims or the company harmed borrowers. “The company’s decision to resolve these issues based on unfounded claims allows it to avoid the additional burden, expense, time and distraction that would exist in court,” said Mark Helene, Navient’s Chief Legal Officer.

In recent years, Navient has faced numerous lawsuits alleging that the company engaged in unreasonable and fraudulent behavior against borrowers, including directing schemes to allow federal borrowers to stop their payments, but instead of schemes in which interest has continued to rise. Monthly payments are linked to the debtor’s income.

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Last March, a Seattle area judge ruled that the company had violated consumer protection laws in a case brought by Washington’s attorney general.

“Navient again and again deliberately highlighted profits more than its borrowers – it engaged in fraudulent and misleading practices, targeted students struggling to repay debt and placed an unreasonable burden on people trying to improve their lives through education,” said Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro.

WSJ Higher Education Correspondent Melissa Korn has broken down select groups of borrowers who are currently eligible for student debt relief and what borrowers can expect next year. Photo: Getty Images

Lindsay Clark believes this solution applies to her.

Ms. 32, who works in Washington, D.C. Clark says he received a bachelor’s degree from Yale University and a master’s degree from Columbia University where he studied international affairs and received about $ 100,000 in student loans. As she repayed her loan with patience, her debt soared to $ 206,000, which limited her monthly payments when interest was added.

He said he was credible with his student loan but blamed Navient for guiding him toward the tolerance program without fully informing him of its consequences.

She was initially pleased when she heard about the solution.

“I thought well, they are finally being brought to justice,” he said.

The company said the deals settle all pending state lawsuits against Navient. As part of the settlement, the company will pay the states about $ 145 million in one installment.

In addition to loan cancellations and some repayments to borrowers through private loans, Navient paid about $ 350 million to $ 350,000 in federal borrowers — or $ 260 each — they were included in some form of tolerance program. Income-based repayment plans, states said.

States will repay borrowers within their jurisdiction. For example, Massachusetts will receive more than $ 6 million, of which $ 2.2 million will be repaid to more than 8,300 federal borrowers, said State Attorney General Maura Healy.

Federal borrowers eligible for repayment will be notified by mail this spring, according to the Settlement Administrator’s website. Private borrowers who are eligible to be discharged will be notified by July.

Private loans without federal support account for less than 10% of the total $ 1.7 trillion student-debt sector. About 43 million people owe $ 1.6 trillion in federal student debt, according to Department of Education data. About 5.2 million of those federal borrowers are defaulting. Those borrowers, unless they have private student loans, will not be affected by the Thursday settlement.

Navient recently announced its exit from the federal student-loan process. It was one of the primary federal contractors, serving approximately six million borrowers. Its accounts were transferred to the new contractor, Maximus, whose share was approved by the Department of Education.

The Department of Education has taken steps to forgive billions of dollars in debt held by disabled borrowers and companies that claim to follow fraudulent recruitment procedures by federal regulators. Such as ITT Technology Company. The fragmented moves led to the cancellation of $ 11.5 billion in loans to about 600,000 borrowers in the first year of President Biden’s inauguration. Student loan payments during epidemics have been suspended by the government, with the latest extension now expiring on May 1st.

Biden Management is in the process of restructuring its student-debt processing system. In November, it announced it was ending its relationship with private collection companies that had been involved in collecting money from the federal agency. Student-borrowers by default Improve collections and provide additional support to borrowers.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Navind is being prosecuted Since 2017, it has prompted borrowers to defer payments instead of entering low-cost, income-based repayment plans. The CFPB has said the practice will cost borrowers $ 4 billion in interest costs. Navient has denied the government’s claims.

Write to Gabriel D. at [email protected]. Rubin and Douglas Belkin at [email protected]

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