Use your congressman to resolve student loan problems
byApr 14th 2008 5:00PM
Isn't it time you started reaping the benefits of your local congressman's clout? Not yet ready to ask for a letter of recommendation for West Point? Have no fear because if you are the bearer of student loans and your loan company is shafting you, your congressman may be the key to a happy ending.
Getting some satisfaction with the help of your congressman or woman is so easy anybody can do it. Granted, like all problems and lending issues, it helps if you are in the right and have been paying your lender what the terms state. But this strategy may work even if you are close to being handed off to a collection agency.
As a little background: My wife had all of her student loans through Sallie Mae, affectionately referred to around our house as the devil. Several of these private loans which Ms. Mae was holding on to were pulling in 13.25% interest! We had included some of these loans in an initial federal consolidation which never worked out. Apparently the incoming fax line at Sallie Mae was hooked right up to a paper shredder because they never received our requests to consolidate. We tried again to consolidate my wife's private loans with Wells Fargo, who, just like our federal consolidator, never received a response from Sallie Mae. Fed up with the problems we were having, I did what any rational person would, I called my local news stations call for action. This is where I found out I could contact my congressman to get some satisfaction.
The first thing I did was reacquaint myself with my local congressman, Jim Jordan and I found out that he had a local office in my town. You can find your representative online at house.gov, the results should include information for his or her Washington office and links to the local offices they maintain. I chose to contact my local office in order to maximize the chance that the staffer would feel the need to help me out, being local and all.
I called up the local office and was transferred to the "top" local staffer who listened to my whole story including many lies we were told by Sallie Mae about the consolidation process. After expressing his astonishment he took down my info and shipped me out some forms to allow Jim Jordan to act on my behalf and a questionnaire about our loans and experience. My wife and I promptly returned the packet to our case worker, who let us know that we should hear back soon.
This is where it gets fun and exciting, soon after we began the process, Sallie Mae assigned us a representative who provided a direct line for the consolidation information to be routed through. We quickly began working with Wells Fargo to get our loans consolidated and anytime we ran into trouble our Sallie Mae caseworker would work directly with Wells Fargo to figure it out. In the end we got all of the private loans away from Sallie Mae and saved close to $300 in monthly payments and countless more over the life of our loan.
If you are having trouble with a difficult student loan lender then just follow the easy steps below:
- Find your congressman/woman.
- Call their local office.
- Return the release paperwork and loan details
ProfitResolve your problem with executive customer service for your lender.
You may be surprised how much clout your local representative has with student loan lenders and the federal student aid ombudsman. Once you put these parties into play you'll likely find that the ball gets rolling much quicker with your current lender. This approach to resolution works best if you are in good standing with the involved lenders, stay tuned for more information on dealing with student loans.
Josh Smith is currently the holder of student loan debt which had been confused for a home mortgage by experienced bankers. He has been to hell and back with Sallie Mae and thus learned a significant deal about the student loan industry. If you have specific loan questions or requests for additional student loan topics please leave a comment below.