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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

CFPB finds student loan servicer issues in new report

Federal Issues CFPB Student Loans Student Loan Servicer Loans CFPA

Federal Issues

On January 5, the CFPB released a report on how student loan borrowers may face customer support challenges as their student loan payments resume. Federal student loan repayments resumed for the first time in over three years, and the Consumer Financial Protection Act directs the CFPB to conduct studies and provide oversight over the servicing process. The CFPB highlights its coverage of servicers because borrowers do not get to pick their servicer and many servicers, especially during the payment pause, often made business decisions to cut costs leading to diminished customer service.

The report found that from August to October 2023, student loan borrowers faced longer hold times when contacting their servicer by phone, significant delays in processing applications for income-driven repayment (IDR) plans, and faulty and confusing billing statements. More specifically, wait times to speak to a live representative rose from 12 minutes to over 70 minutes; the number of pending IDR plan applications totaled more than 1.25 million, with more than 450,000 pending longer than thirty days with no resolution; and borrowers received faulty bills from their servicers, often causing confusion and putting even more strain on customer service resources as borrowers call customer service representatives. The director of the CFPB, Rohit Chopra, accompanied the report with a statement of his own.