Student loan company blasted for its practices
46 states, including Oklahoma, allege in complaint that Navient Corp. pushes students into highcost, deceptive repayment plans
An analysis of student loan-related complaints submitted to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau last year shows one loan servicing company was the most complained about in 46 states, including Oklahoma.
Navient Corp. triggered the most complaints for its handling of federal student loans, private student loans and debt collection, according to an analysis by LendEDU of nearly 10,000 complaints submitted to the federal consumer protection agency between Jan. 1 and Dec. 19, 2018.
Navient is a U.S. corporation based in Wilmington, Delaware, that services $300 billion in student loans.
Navient may have driven tens of thousands of borrowers struggling with debt into higher-cost repayment plans, The Associated Press reported in November.
The AP report was based on a U.S. Department of Education audit of practices at Navient, the nation's thirdlargest student loan servicing company. Federal and state lawsuits have been filed accusing Navient of boosting its profits by steering some borrowers into the high-cost plans without discussing less costly options, according to the report.
AP reported five states are suing Navient — Illinois, Pennsylvania, Washington, California and Mississippi — based on state consumer protection laws. In its own lawsuit, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau claims the company's practices are unfair, deceptive and abusive, and break federal consumer protection laws.
Navient disputed the Department of Education's audit conclusions and has denied the allegations in the lawsuits.
One Oklahoma student reported, “I have had a good experience with them. They told me about how I could lower my monthly payments and deferment options when I first started paying.”
Other Oklahomans described their experience as, “Horrible. They're so bad. To talk to someone it's going to take you at least an hour, sometimes two,” and reported Navient “won't work with you at all.”
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau database breaks student loanrelated complaints into two categories — complaints directly related to either private or federal student loans and complaints related to debt collection.
In the student loan-specific category, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received 8,340 complaints between Jan. 1 and Dec. 19, 2018. Of those, 64 percent pertained to federal student loans, while 36 percent dealt with private student loans.
“Not surprisingly, Navient once again led the way this year when it came to the most complained about federal student loan companies,” said Mike Brown, author of the LendEDU report.
The report shows 42 percent of the 5,362 federal student loan complaints were lodged against Navient. AES/ PHEAA was next with 26 percent of all federal student loan complaints.
LendEDU ranked the four federal loan service companies that received the most complaints per million loan recipients and Navient topped the list with 336 complaints, more than twice as many as the next company.
Navient also was the company with the most private student loan complaints by volume, with 53 percent, and the one with the most debt collection complaints. In the latter category, borrower complaints against all companies were mostly about dealing with the lender or servicer, followed by struggles to repay loans.
LendEDU's breakdown of private and federal student loan complaints by state shows Oklahoma had 16 complaints per million residents, with 45 percent of the complaints against Navient.
Of the 62 complaints filed by Oklahoma borrowers, 68 percent related to federal loans and 32 percent to private loans.