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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Student loan servicer fined $1.8 million by Massachusetts Attorney General

State Issues Massachusetts Student Loan Servicer Settlement Student Loans State Attorney General Income-Driven Repayment Lending Enforcement

State Issues

On January 11, the Massachusetts Attorney General (AG) announced a $1.8 million settlement with a student loan servicer, to resolve allegations that the company did not properly communicate Income-Driven Repayment (IDR) plan renewals to borrowers. According to the settlement, IDR plans are a “helpful tool for managing unaffordable federal student loan debt and avoiding the consequences of default… [and respondent] is required to follow specific procedures intended to ensure that borrowers are able to successfully navigate the enrollment and annual recertification processes required for IDR.” The AG alleged that the respondent violated state law by sending written notices that did not meet regulatory requirements and failed to send required notices.

Under the terms of the settlement, respondent will (i) pay $1.8 million; (ii) include certain disclosures in renewal notice correspondence to borrowers; (iii) comply with requirements for FFELP loans owned by the DOE and enrolled in certain repayment plans; (iv) clearly disclosure to certain borrowers that failure to timely provide certain information about income or family size will result in increased monthly payments; and (v) retain copies of each written communication that it sends to borrowers regarding their IDR plans. The student loan servicer enters into this agreement for settlement purposes only (without admission).