Hire an Experienced Negotiator and Certified Student Loan Counselor to Settle Your Private Student Loans.
As a professional negotiator with 5 years of experience, I am well equipped to negotiate a private student loan settlement if you have a for-profit lender. Nonprofit private lenders, such as credit unions, will rarely settle; but the majority of private loans are issued by for-profit lenders such as Navient, Sallie Mae, Wells Fargo, Discover, and National Collegiate Trust. I have negotiated settlements with the largest private student loan lenders, as well as many smaller for-profit private lenders.
Typically, I am negotiating with a third party debt collector or a debt collection attorney, but we may also negotiate with your original lender. Settlement negotiation is financial jiu-jitsu, and I am prepared for any type of scenario we may run into. My approach with clients is to make sure that you are fully informed before signing on with me. If settlement isn’t in your best interest, I won’t sign you up, and will instead recommend an alternative strategy such as refinance (if you’re current and don’t want to sacrifice your credit score).
When it come to the negotiations, some collection agents are more reasonable in their approach, and we can have an amicable exchange between two financial professionals. Other collection agents try to rely on scare tactics and pressure, which doesn’t work with me since I have seen just about everything a collection agent can come up with over the course of my career.
Once I tell a debt collector that I have settled many accounts with the lender they are collecting for, they realize that the typical approach of talking tough and empty threats will not work with me. In these adversarial negotiations, just like in real jiu-jitsu, we will maneuver into a good position and then execute a winning strategy from a position of strength. This may involve the use of extensive hardship or medical documentation, personal letters, and even regulatory complaints that I will help you file if the situation calls for it.
A History of Negotiating the Lowest Settlements Possible:
I will fight for you aggressively and do whatever is needed to secure victory. A debt negotiator since 2009, I utilize a systemic yet flexible approach to settlement negotiation as well as relying on my previous experience with different creditors’ collection cycles – I usually know what they will accept and when, despite what the collection agent tries to tell me.
Settlement is only available in most cases if the borrower is significantly behind on payments – they have very little incentive to settle when you are making payments on 100% of the balance, plus interest. When settlements do occur, they typically range from 40-60% if the lender is willing to settle. This is not guaranteed, and each account is taken on a case by case basis. Each lender has different guidelines and some lenders don’t settle at all. Sometimes, on accounts when there haven’t been payments for years, I’m able to get settlements that are significantly lower than the 40-60% average range.
Since most lenders will only begin to negotiate when the accounts are delinquent, borrowers who have current loans with a good credit profile may benefit from looking into refinance or trying to renegotiate their payment terms. However, refinance is difficult to get approved for and there are few alternative repayment plans offered through most private lenders. If you are current on payments and have no other options, intentionally going late in order to settle may be the quickest and least expensive way to pay off your private student loan. This is known as a strategic default. While I cannot directly advise borrowers to stop making payments, many of my clients have chosen to take this route independently so that I can settle for them. It’s a decision that only you can make after weighing the benefits of settlement with the negative credit impact. For those considering this strategy, you will essentially have to sacrifice your credit score temporarily in order to age the accounts to the point of settling (which is 6 months late or more).
Negotiating with a seasoned debt collector can be very difficult if you don’t have previous experience. For a detailed look at why it makes sense to hire a professional to negotiate your settlements for you, check out my blog article on that subject here. I only charge you a small percentage of the amount that I am able to save, and since I’m usually able to obtain a lower settlement than borrowers can negotiate for themselves, it’s worth it – not to mention the stress, effort, and time that’s involved when borrowers try to negotiate settlements on their own. There are a lot of horror stories on the internet from people who thought they settled; only to find out that a requirement hadn’t been met, their lender/collection agent deceived them, or they didn’t obtain the settlement letter in writing and made sure it contained the key statements that make a settlement valid.
Performance Based Settlement and How Negotiation Charges Are Calculated:
I operate as a no-upfront fee, Performance Based negotiator. If there is no agreeable settlement, you don’t pay. That’s the way debt negotiation should be, and is required to be by law. Companies that try to take out fees prior to settling your accounts are hedging their bets – they think they may not be good enough to negotiate a settlement for you, so they try to take out fees before settlement is reached. There is a loophole in the no-upfront fee laws that allows companies to charge you upfront if there is an “in person sales presentation”, so beware of companies who want to send a notary or sales agent to meet you in person. It might seem like a nice personal touch, but they are really just trying to nail you with upfront fees.
Despite the fact that upfront fees were outlawed in the TSR Amendments of 2010, many companies still try to collect fees before settlement in some way. Law firms in a state outside of yours that contact you via inter-state telemarketing (inbound or outbound) are also subject to the “no upfront fee rule”. Only an attorney who is licensed in your state is allowed to charge upfront in the form of a traditional retainer for legal services. But in most cases, you don’t need an attorney to settle for you unless you’ve actually been summoned to court by the lender. A lawsuit is a last resort by the lender and usually only happens if there are 1-3 years or more of nonpayment without any communication or negotiation attempts from the borrower. Debt collectors love to use the vague threat of legal action to try to pressure you into making a payment – even if a lawsuit isn’t coming. However, if you have previously been sued before contacting me and the lender obtained a judgment, I may still be able to negotiate a settlement on your judgment. The most recent judgment settlement I obtained was for less than 50% of the balance owed.
I’ve never had one of my clients get sued as long as I’ve been able to begin negotiations prior to a lawsuit being filed. If that were to happen though, I would simply refer you to a consumer defense attorney in your state. You would use the funds saved for my negotiation charge to hire them, since you wouldn’t have to pay me anything unless I settled the account. I have never had to do this, but regardless, I always want to make sure we are prepared for the worst case scenario and have covered all of our bases.
Here are my 2017 rates:
For total debt amounts from $10,000 to $25,000 = 20% of the amount saved
For total debt amounts from $25,000 – $75,000 = 15% of the amount saved
For total debt amounts from $75,000 to $125,000 = 12.5% of the amount saved
For total debt amounts over $125,000 = 10% of the amount saved
Prior to serious negotiations beginning, clients deposit an estimated negotiation charge into a third party Escrow.com account which they retain full control over. When the settlement is reached and executed, the negotiation charge is released from the clients’ Escrow.com account.
All negotiation charges are calculated based on the balance of your accounts at the time you become a client. Negotiation charges are adjusted at the time of settlement to reflect the exact amount saved (based on the balance at the time you become a client). If there is no agreeable settlement, then the full balance of the Escrow.com account is refunded to the client. I also pay all fees associated with Escrow.com except for the fees from your bank to transfer the funds into your Escrow.com account. I only accept a limited amount of clients each month who are a clear fit for my negotiation service. The minimum private student loan account balance I can accept for new clients is $10,000, and my negotiation services are not available in every state.
If you have private loans that you want to settle, I offer a free initial consultation. To request a consultation, check out my online private loan evaluation here, or call me directly at 937-503-4680.