AFR Statement: Navient attempts to evade responsibility for breaking the law


CONTACT: Alexis Goldstein, Americans for Financial Reform

Last week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and the Illinois, and Washington Attorneys General sued the nation’s largest student loan servicer, Navient, for steering struggling borrowers toward paying more than they had to on their loans. Today, Navient’s CEO Jack Remondi lashed out at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for daring to do its job to protect student loan borrowers from up to $4 billion in unnecessary interest charges caused by Navient’s illegal servicing practices.

Remondi’s complaints are a deceptive and self-interested attempt to evade responsibility for breaking the law. Navient should be working to identify and solve the longstanding and well-documented problems with their servicing, not attacking the Bureau as they stand up for student loan borrowers. These borrowers include students who became disabled through military service whose credit was damaged by Navient’s false reports to credit ratings agencies.

Remondi wants us to believe the problem lies with the CFPB, but the record is clear, and other law enforcement agencies actions’ confirm it: state attorneys general from Illinois and Washington have joined the agency with their own lawsuits. And these actions are far from the first time Navient has been caught abusing borrowers and breaking the law. In 2015, the FDIC and the Department of Justice found that Navient overcharged nearly 78,000 members of the military on their student loans, in violation of the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. In 2015,  the Department of Education ended a contract with Pioneer, Navient’s debt collector who is also named in the CFPB lawsuit, for providing inaccurate information to borrowers. And the Bureau has long identified problems with student loan servicing, including at Navient. The Bureau’s extensive 2015 student loan servicing report showed that Navient had more complaints than any other servicer.

These comments by Navient’s CEO are just the latest attack by financial actors who’re angry that they’re being held to account for illegal acts. When financial firms steal their clients money, the Consumer Bureau fights to get it back. That’s why these firms are driving attacks on the Consumer Bureau, and why it’s so important for the public interest that it remains on course – effective and independent.