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November 30, 2023

VIDEO: Pressley Applauds CFPB’s Role in Protecting Student Loan Borrowers, Holding Servicers Accountable

Recent CFPB Report Shows Spike in Consumer Complaints re: Loan Servicers Even Before Payments Resumed Oct. 1

“We must provide relief for our borrowers wherever and however we can, and that includes holding student loan servicers accountable for their incompetence.”

Video (YouTube)

WASHINGTON — Today during a House Financial Services Committee Hearing, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (MA-07) emphasized the crucial role of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) in protecting student loan borrowers from incompetent and predatory student loan servicers.

Last month, CFPB published a report which revealed a sharp spike in consumer complaints regarding student loan servicers over the past year and indicating that some of the problems with student loan servicers started before student loan payments resumed on October 1.

A transcript of Rep. Pressley’s exchange with CFPB Director Rohit Chopra is available below and video is available here.

Transcript: Pressley Applauds CFPB’s Role in Protecting Student Loan Borrowers, Holding Servicers Accountable
House Financial Services Committee
November 29, 2023

REP. PRESSLEY: Director Chopra, I always smile when I see you because I actually know what it is that you do. I’m grateful for your service and certainly your resilience.

You know, despite the destructive efforts by Republicans to sabotage the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, I commend you on your work to support vulnerable consumers. From cracking down on junk fees and predatory lenders, to working to remove burdensome medical debt from credit reports and protecting seniors against fraud, the CFPB’s record speaks for itself.

Now I want to talk about the nearly 2 trillion-dollar crisis that is student debt.

You’ve heard the expression, like a dog with a bone. I’m no dog, but I am a Congresswoman with a cause. And some of my colleagues may be tired of me bringing up student debt but imagine how tired our constituents are of living with it.

For borrowers who live in my district, the Massachusetts 7th – whether it’s a father juggling part-time jobs or a third-grade teacher who spent a decade in the classroom making payments month-to-month – their financial institutions, or their situations rather, are as precarious now as they were three years ago when payments were first paused.

And student loan servicers are not making it any easier: high wait times when you call, false information when you get someone on the phone, and wrong billing amounts when they ask for money.

Just last month, MOHELA – the largest student loan servicer in the country – proved its incompetence. 78,000 borrowers received the wrong information for the SAVE income-driven repayment plan; 153,000 borrowers did not receive a bill until after it was due; and for the ones who did: 21,000 borrowers received bills that were very high and far from correct, including some who got a bill for $100,000.

Now imagine opening your mail and seeing a bill for a hundred thousand dollars. This is ridiculous. And it’s proof that the CFPB’s work is more critical than ever before. 

Director Chopra, could you describe what steps the Bureau is taking to protect student loan borrowers from the gross incompetence of student loan servicers?

DIRECTOR CHOPRA: Well, certainly. Those servicers, just like mortgage servicers, impact people’s lives so much. You know, we have seen over the course of the past 15 years illegal foreclosures and other harms in the mortgage market, but in the student loan market, a wrongful default, or a major error, it can hit people so hard early in their financial life and eliminate their ability to even get an auto loan or do anything else.

So we hold those companies – they may not be banks, but they have to follow the same laws. We are allocating real attention to this including the return to repayment because they’re what many of those servicers shrunk quite a bit during the payment pause scaling up and we will be releasing more information about some of our findings. We have taken enforcement actions, and it’s very, very important that people are not the victim of an unlawful practice.

REP. PRESSLEY: Thank you. And Director Chopra, what is your advice? Consider this a PSA to borrowers who are dealing with predatory student loan servicers, scams, scammers, and any malicious actors.

DIRECTOR CHOPRA: Well certainly be very, very cautious about talking to someone who isn’t the loan servicer. They may be using information about you in order to get you to pay something that you don’t owe them. We also say if you’re having trouble, please file a complaint. We’re often able to get those individuals across the country fixes and sometimes clear answers on what really needs to happen. This whole thing has to work or there’s going to be big problems.

REP. PRESSLEY: Thank you, Director Chopra. You know, like many Americans, I took out student loans to pursue higher education – not because I wanted to but because I had to. It was the only way. It took me over 20 years to pay them off – while I was a caregiver to my mother and often working multiple jobs, including as an aide in the House and in the Senate. But I want an easier road for the next person.

The people demand and deserve student debt cancellation.

In the meantime, we must provide relief for our borrowers wherever and however we can, and that includes holding student loan servicers accountable for their incompetence. Thank you again Director Chopra and your entire dedicated team, and I look forward to continuing working together.

  • On November 6, 2023, Rep. Pressley joined Attorney General Andrea Campbell, Mayor Michelle Wu, and Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) for a clinic to help federal student loan borrowers access a temporary opportunity to get closer to Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF). 
  • On September 25, 2023, Rep. Pressley hosted a policy discussion with borrowers and advocates at which they renewed their urgent call for student debt cancellation with loan payments set to resume on October 1, 2023.
  • On August 23, 2023, Rep. Pressley, Sen. Warren, and their colleagues led over 80 lawmakers in a letter to President Joe Biden, urging him to swiftly deliver on his promise to deliver student debt cancellation to working and middle class families by early 2024. 
  • On August 22, 2023 Rep. Pressley applauded Governor Maura Healey’s plan to provide student debt relief for health care workers in Massachusetts. 
  • On June 30, 2023, Rep. Pressley responded to the President’s alternative proposal to deliver relief under the Higher Education Act and called for swift and efficient implementation.
  • On June 30, 2023, Rep. Pressley issued a statement slamming the Supreme Court’s decision to block President Biden’s student debt cancellation plan and calling on the President to use other tools available to swiftly cancel student debt.
  • On May 30, 2023, Rep. Pressley filed an amendment to H.R. 3746, legislation to raise the debt ceiling, to protect student loan borrowers and preserve the Biden Administration’s pause on federal student loan payments.
  • On May 24, 2023, Rep. Pressley issued a statement slamming Republicans’ harmful effort to overturn President Biden’s student debt relief, including his debt cancellation plan, the pause on student loan payments, and the expanded Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.
  • On May 24, 2023, Rep. Pressley delivered a powerful speech in support of President Biden’s plan to cancel student debt, which would benefit millions of people across the country.
  • On April 5, 2023, Rep. Pressley and Senator Elizabeth Warren wrote to the CEO of SoFi Technologies and SoFi Lending Corp calling on the company to answer for its lawsuits attempting to end the student loan payment pause and force borrowers back into repayment.
  • On March 7, 2023, Rep. Pressley, along with Sens. Warren, Schumer, Sanders, Padilla and Reps. Clyburn, Omar and Wilson led a letter to the Biden Administration expressing continued support for President Biden’s student debt relief plan.
  • On February 28, 2023, Rep. Pressley rallied with borrowers and advocates outside the Supreme Court to call on the Supreme Court to affirm the legality of President Biden’s student debt cancellation plan.
  • On November 22, 2022, Rep. Pressley issued a statement applauding the extension of the student loan payment pause.
  • On October 25, 2022, Rep. Pressley and Senator Warren toured communities across Massachusetts to celebrate the Biden administration’s student debt cancellation plan and help residents sign up for student loan relief.
  • On October 12, 2022, Rep. Pressley joined parent borrowers and advocates for a discussion on the impacts of student debt cancellation on parents and families.
  • On September 29, 2022, Rep. Pressley, along with Senate Majority Leader Schumer and Reps. Omar, Jones and advocates, held a press conference to call for swift and equitable implementation of President Biden’s student debt cancellation plan.
  • On September 21, 2022, Rep. Pressley delivered a powerful speech on the House floor in which she heralded President Biden’s action to cancel student debt for millions of families in the Massachusetts 7th and across the nation. Watch the full video here.
  • On September 12, 2022, Rep. Pressley and Senator Warren wrote to the nine federal student loan servicers to inquire about how they are providing borrowers with accurate and timely information about student loan cancellation.
  • On August 24, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley issued a statement applauding President Biden’s action to cancel student debt.
  • On August 10, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley and Senator Warren Massachusetts joined Massachusetts union leaders in Dorchester for a roundtable discussion on student debt cancellation.
  • On July 18, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley delivered remarks at the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) national convention and renewed her calls for President Biden to cancel student debt by executive action.
  • On July 8, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley with The Debt Collective hosted a virtual roundtable with student debt holders from all walks of life to highlight the intersectional burden the nearly $2 trillion student debt crisis has had on individuals and families. 
  • On June 22, 2022, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, joined AFL-CIO and union leaders for a roundtable discussion on the importance of student debt cancellation for American workers.
  • On May 20, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley applauded the Congressional Black Caucus’ (CBC) statement calling on President Biden to cancel student loan debt.
  • On May 4, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley visited Bunker Hill Community College to celebrate the $1 million in federal community project funding she secured and continued her calls for President Biden to cancel student debt.
  • On March 17, 2022, Congresswoman Pressley and Arisha Hatch, vice president and chief of campaigns at Color of Change, published an op-ed in Grio calling on President Biden to use his executive order authority to cancel up to $50,000 in student loan debt per borrower.
  • On December 8, 2021, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Senator Elizabeth Warren, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer sent a bicameral letter to President Joe Biden releasing new data about the adverse impact of restarting student loan payments and calling on him to act to cancel up to $50,000 of student debt.
  • On December 2, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley delivered remarks on the House floor in which she reiterated her calls for President Biden to cancel $50,000 in federal student loan debt by executive action.
  • On October 8, 2021, Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar and their House colleagues sent a letter to President Biden and Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona urging him to release the memo to determine the extent of the administration’s authority to broadly cancel student debt through administrative action.
  • On July 29, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley issued a statement reaffirming President Biden’s authority – and the urgency – to cancel student loan debt.
  • On June 23, 2021, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, and Congressman Joe Courtney led their colleagues on a bicameral letter to President Biden calling on him to extend the pause on federal student loan payments.
  • On April 13, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley testified at a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Policy hearing to examine the student loan debt crisis in our country.
  • On April 1, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley, along with Senator Elizabeth Warren and Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey, held a press conference calling on President Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis.
  • On February 4, 2021, Congresswoman Pressley, along with several Democratic House and Senate leaders, led their colleagues in reintroducing a bicameral resolution outlining a bold plan for President Biden to tackle the student loan debt crisis. 
  • On December 17, 2020, Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Ilhan Omar, Maxine Waters, and Alma Adams introduced a resolution outlining a bold plan for President-elect Joe Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in Federal student loan debt for student loan borrowers.
  • On December 10, 2020, Congresswoman Pressley was in Yahoo Finance urging the Biden administration to cancel student debt, stressing the impact on Black borrowers.
  • On May 8, 2020, Representatives Ayanna Pressley, Alma Adams, and Ilhan Omar, led 28 of their colleagues and sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy calling for the universal, one-time, student debt cancellation of at least $30,000 per borrower in the next round of COVID-19 relief legislation.
  • On March 23, 2020, Representatives Ayanna Pressley and Ilhan Omar introduced the Student Debt Emergency Relief Act, legislation that provides immediate monthly payment relief for federal student loan borrowers.
  • On March 17, 2020, Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley and Senator Elizabeth Warren were on The Hill calling on congressional leadership to include student debt cancellation in the next coronavirus relief package.
  • On October 11, 2019, Congresswoman Pressley introduced legislation – the Ending Debt Collection Harassment Act – to protect consumers from abusive debt collection.
  • On July 17, 2019, Congresswomen Pressley introduced legislation – the Student Borrower Credit Improvement Act – to provide much needed support to private student loan borrowers with a pathway to financial stability by helping them improve their credit.