The nation’s largest student loan servicer was hit with a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lawsuit over allegations that it has “systematically and illegally” failed borrowers.
Navient, formerly part of Sallie Mae, created repayment obstacles for tens of thousands of student borrowers by providing incorrect payment information, processing payments incorrectly and failing to act when borrowers complained, according to the federal lawsuit filed.
The company also cheated borrowers out of their rights to lower repayments, according to the CFPB lawsuit, which seeks financial relief for student borrowers who were harmed. Call 844-236-3332 for more information.
“For years, Navient failed consumers who counted on the company to pay back their student loans,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “At every stage of repayment, Navient chose to shortcut and deceive consumers to save on operating costs.”
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Navient services the loans of more than 12 million borrowers, including more than six million accounts under a contract with the U.S. Department of Education. In all, the company services more than $300 billion in federal and private student loans. Navient lays off managers in Delaware, may face lawsuit. The CFPB civil action also targets Navient Solutions, a company division responsible for loan servicing, and Pioneer Credit Recovery, a subsidiary that specializes in collections on student loans that fall into default.
“Navient welcomes clear and well-designed guidelines that all parties can follow, and we had hoped our extensive engagement with the regulators would achieve this objective,” the Delaware-based company said. “Instead, the suit improperly seeks to impose penalties on Navient based on new servicing standards applied retroactively and applied only against one servicer. The regulator-asserted standards are inconsistent with Department of Education regulations, and will harm student loan borrowers, including through higher defaults.”
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According to the CFPB, student loans comprise the second-largest U.S. consumer debt market, with consumers collectively owing roughly $1.4 trillion on more than 44 million federal and private loans.
According to the CFPB lawsuit, Navient or the subsidiaries allegedly:
- Repeatedly misapplied or misallocated students’ loan repayments, often making the same error multiple times over a period of months.
- Steered troubled borrowers into forbearance, an option that lets them take a short break from making payments. Interest payments on the loans continued to grow during this time.
- Failed to adequately inform borrowers enrolled in income-driven repayment programs about critical deadlines and rules for required annual recertification of their earnings and family size.
- Deceived private student loan borrowers about requirements to release a co-signer, such as a parent or other relative, from the loans.
- Harmed the credit of disabled borrowers, including injured military veterans, who have the right to seek loan forgiveness of their loans. The company inaccurately notified credit reporting agencies that some of these borrowers had defaulted, the CFPB charged.
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