Thank you to the CFPB and Elizabeth Warren

As I wrote last week’s post about the new ombudsman at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, I was submitting my complaint against Wells Fargo Education Financial Services. Yesterday, I received an email from a “research and remediation analyst” at Wells Fargo EFS thanking me for my complaint to the CFPB, and offering to work with me on a workable repayment plan.

After figuring out what payment I can afford to make to Wells Fargo EFS each month, they accepted my offer. That simple arrangement could have been made over a year ago, but they refused to work with me until the CFPB got involved.

I have to send a huge thank you to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the creation of the ombudsman for private student loans. I’ve tried everything I know to do for over a year now, and within a few days of the CFPB’s involvement, Wells Fargo is now willing to work with me.

After all the heartache, the job hunts, the packing, moving, and unpacking, contacting my congressmen, going on national radio, the letter writing, financial and legal consultations, etc., they’re finally being responsive. If they had simply done a year ago what they did today, this whole mess could have been avoided. Now I get to try and repair the damage that has been done to my credit since this situation began. Any tips on that are welcome.

Another big thank you goes to Elizabeth Warren for her efforts to create the CFPB. Without her leadership and persistence, the CFPB would not exist today, and I wouldn’t have been able to get Wells Fargo EFS to agree to any terms on my own. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

I know this isn’t over–far from it, I know–but for now, I’m able to breathe a sigh of relief.

Refresh. Recharge. Reboot.

Private Student Loan Ombudsman

I just saw the news a few days ago that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has officially launched its complaint system for private student loans. Prior to a few weeks ago, if you had problems with your private lenders, you had no place to go. Now you do! If you have private student loans and your lenders have been unreasonable or treating you unfairly, use this contact form!

Weekly Student Loan Recap

Just a quick update about what’s happened in the past week… I met with the banker last Thursday, and though we spent nearly two hours discussing what limited options I have and pouring over numbers, it appeared to him that there’s little I can do. I did learn a few helpful strategies for paying off my loans more quickly. I’ll post those here soon. Not the outcome I was hoping for, but it was positive nonetheless.

The next day, I did an interview with Tess Vigeland and Liz Watson on MarketPlace Money. It began quite awkwardly, since I ended up having to do the interview in front of all my coworkers, so I stumbled through the first part. Their confidence that they could help was high in the beginning and very low by the end of our 10+ minute conversation. With each detail they learned about the situation, the more grim the outlook became. I really hope parents of college-bound students listen to the show, so they can hear what not to do. I knew the interview was going downhill after the third time Tess said, “Oh brother” or “Oh boy”. But I’m glad to get the message out about student loans.

Since then, I’ve also written letters to Senators Tom Coburn and Jim Inhofe, Representative John Sullivan, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau asking for their assistance, and a very wise colleague suggested I write to the Oklahoma Attorney General and Oklahoma State Banking Department. I’ll be doing that this weekend.

Tonight, I learned some very good news about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the federal department created by Elizabeth Warren and President Obama. The CFPB is currently in the process of creating its own Ombudsman program for private student loans, which will act as a counterpart to the Department of Education’s Ombudsman program for federal loans. Both will essentially look at your particular case and negotiate a deal with lenders on your behalf, possibly avoiding situations like the one I’m in now. While that won’t help meĀ now, it will definitely help in the future, and I’m sure it will help thousands upon thousands of student borrowers across the country.