Joint Statement of Principles on Student Loan Servicing, 67389-67390 [2015-27775]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 211 / Monday, November 2, 2015 / Notices hydropower projects. Portland, OR. http://www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/ publications/recovery_planning/salmon_ steelhead/domains/interior_columbia/ snake/hydro_supplemental_recovery_ plan_module_063014.pdf. NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service). 2014b. Snake River Harvest Module. Portland, OR. http:// www.westcoast.fisheries.noaa.gov/ publications/recovery_planning/salmon_ steelhead/domains/interior_columbia/ snake/harvest_module_062514.pdf. Dated: October 27, 2015. Angela Somma, Chief, Endangered Species Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Chapter, and the stock assessments for BSAI and GOA groundfishes), and recommend final groundfish harvest specifications for 2016/17. PLEASE NOTE: Beginning October 10th, U.S. Driver’s licenses will be accepted for admittance to the NOAA facility only if they are Real ID compliant. Alternative identification, such as a passport, will be required if a license is non-compliant. For more information see http://www.dhs.gov/ real-id-public-faqs. The Agenda is subject to change, and the latest version will be posted at http://www.npfmc.org/fisherymanagement-plan-team/goa-bsaigroundfish-plan-team/. [FR Doc. 2015–27854 Filed 10–30–15; 8:45 am] Special Accommodations Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq. BILLING CODE 3510–22–P These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Shannon Gleason at (907) 271–2809 at least 7 working days prior to the meeting date. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XE277 North Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of public meeting. AGENCY: [FR Doc. 2015–27832 Filed 10–30–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION SUMMARY: The North Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) Groundfish Plan Team will meet in Seattle, WA. DATES: The meeting will be held on Monday, November 16, to Friday, November 20, 2015, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Joint Statement of Principles on Student Loan Servicing Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. ACTION: Policy Guidance. AGENCY: The meeting will be held at the Alaska Fishery Science Center, Traynor Room 2076 and NMML Room 2039, 7600 Sand Point Way NE., Building 4, Seattle, WA 98115. Council address: North Pacific Fishery Management Council, 605 W. 4th Ave., Suite 306, Anchorage, AK 99501–2252; telephone: (907) 271–2809. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Diana Stram, Council staff; telephone: (907) 271–2809. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: ADDRESSES: asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Dated: October 28, 2015. Jeffrey N. Lonergan, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. SUMMARY: On September 29, 2015, the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (Bureau) joined with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Education to release a Joint Statement of Principles on Student Loan Servicing as a framework for policymakers and market participants looking to improve student loan servicing practices, promote borrower success, and mitigate defaults. This Policy Guidance sets forth those joint principles. Agenda DATES: Monday, November 16, 2015 to Friday, November 20, 2015 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The Plan Teams will compile and review the annual Groundfish Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) reports, (including the Economic Report, the Ecosystems Consideration Michael Pierce, Program Manager, Office for Students and Young Americans, 1700 G Street NW., 20552, 202–435–7938. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:55 Oct 30, 2015 Jkt 238001 This Policy Guidance is applicable November 2, 2015. PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 67389 1. Policy Guidance Joint Statement of Principles on Student Loan Servicing The U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have developed a Joint Statement of Principles on Student Loan Servicing as a framework to improve student loan servicing practices, promote borrower success and minimize defaults.1 General Principles for Student Loan Servicing 2 Consistent with their respective authorities, responsibilities, and missions, the Departments and the Bureau are committed to working together so that all student loan borrowers have access to (1) the information they need to repay their loans responsibly and avoid default; (2) protections so that they will be treated fairly even if they are struggling to repay their loans; and (3) mechanisms so that errors are resolved expeditiously and assurances that student loan servicers, both in the marketplace and through federally-contracted companies, are held accountable for their conduct. The following principles have been developed to advance these goals. There are four main types of postsecondary education loans under which borrowers have outstanding balances. Direct Loans are federal loans made directly to borrowers by the U.S. Department of Education through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program. Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans were originated by private lenders and guaranteed by the federal government. Federal Perkins Loans, which are cofunded by institutions of higher education and the federal government, 1 On March 10, 2015, the President signed a Presidential Memorandum on a Student Aid Bill of Rights to Help Ensure Affordable Loan Repayment. The President directed the Secretary of Education, in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to issue a report by October 1, 2015 on, among other things, recommendations concerning private and federal student loan servicing standards, flexible repayment opportunities for all student loan borrowers, and changes to bankruptcy laws. This Joint Statement of Principles on Student Loan Servicing informed this required report. 2 On September 30, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released Student Loan Servicing: Analysis of Public Input and Recommendations for Reform, analyzing comments the Bureau solicited from stakeholders including student loan borrowers, federal student loan servicers, private student loan market participants, policy experts, and state law enforcement officials and regulators as part of the Departments’ and the Bureau’s joint efforts to identify initiatives to strengthen student loan servicing. E:\FR\FM\02NON1.SGM 02NON1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 67390 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 211 / Monday, November 2, 2015 / Notices are originated and administered by participating institutions. Direct Loans, Perkins Loans and FFELP loans are made pursuant to Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The SAFRA Act enacted in 2010 ended new loan originations under the FFELP program in 2010, but a significant number of loans remain outstanding. Private student loans are made by depository and non-depository financial institutions, states, institutions of higher education, and other entities. Private loans are not governed by the Higher Education Act, but are subject to other federal and state laws. All Federal Direct Loans and some FFELP loans are held by the Department of Education and serviced pursuant to contracts with loan servicers and collection contractors. Servicing for Perkins Loans, privately-held FFELP loans, and private student loans is provided at the direction of the current loan holder, and servicing activities for Perkins and FFELP loans are governed by rules and regulations laid out by law and through the U.S. Department of Education. The economic incentives to provide servicing that best serves borrowers’, loan holders’, and taxpayers’ needs vary across the different types of student loans. In addition, the respective loan types come with varying levels of consumer protections and special benefits. Direct Loans, in general, offer borrowers more protections than private or FFELP loans. Borrowers with FFELP loans continue to consolidate into the Direct Loan program to access certain protections and benefits including the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program, the nonaccrual of interest for servicemembers serving in areas of hostilities, and certain income-driven repayment plans. For federal loans, pursuant to provisions in the HEA, institutions of higher education are required to provide certain disclosures to borrowers that provide them with clear and helpful information about their loans and repayment options as part of schools’ statutorily required entrance and exit counseling duties. The Departments and the Bureau intend to work closely with one another, consistent with their respective authorities, to strengthen servicing protections for student loan borrowers, and will seek to ensure that student loan servicing is, where appropriate: • Consistent. Student loan borrowers and servicers alike would benefit from a clear set of expectations for what constitutes minimum requirements for services provided by student loan servicers and servicer communications with borrowers, including adequate and VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:55 Oct 30, 2015 Jkt 238001 timely customer service. Student loan borrowers should expect effective student loan servicing, including, but not limited to, conduct related to payment processing, servicing transfers, customer requests for information, error resolution, and disclosure of borrower repayment options and benefits. Such conduct should account for and recognize variations in loan features, terms, and borrower protections. • Accurate and Actionable. Student loan borrowers often depend on servicers to provide basic information about account features, borrower protections, and loan terms. It is critical that information provided to borrowers by student loan servicers be accurate and actionable. Information, including explanation and instructions regarding borrowers’ loans and repayment options, should be presented in a manner that best informs borrowers, helps them achieve positive outcomes, and mitigates the risk and costs of default. • Accountable. Student loan servicers, whether for-profit, not-forprofit or government agencies, should be accountable for serving borrowers fairly, efficiently and effectively. If servicers fall short and violate federal or state consumer financial laws, the HEA, contractual requirements, or federal regulations, borrowers, federal and state agencies and regulators, and law enforcement officials should have access to appropriate channels for recourse, as authorized under law. • Transparent. The public, including student loan borrowers, may benefit from information about the performance of private and federal student loans and the practices of individual student loan lenders and servicers, including information related to loan origination, loan terms and conditions, borrower characteristics, portfolio composition, delinquency and default, payment plan enrollment, utilization of forbearance and deferment, the administration of borrower benefits and protections, and the handling of borrower complaints. The federal government already makes much of this information available for federal student loans, and private-sector lenders and servicers should follow suit. Portfolio performance data, including data at the individual servicer level, should be available for all types of student loans. 2. Regulatory Requirements This Policy Guidance is a non-binding general statement of policy. It does not establish any binding legal requirements. It is therefore exempt from notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the Administrative PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Procedure Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b). Because no notice of proposed rulemaking is required, the Regulatory Flexibility Act does not require an initial or final regulatory flexibility analysis. 5 U.S.C. 603(a), 604(a). The Bureau has determined that this Policy Guidance does not impose any new or revise any existing recordkeeping, reporting, or disclosure requirements on covered entities or members of the public that would be collections of information requiring OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq. Dated: October 27, 2015. Christopher D’Angelo, Chief of Staff, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection. [FR Doc. 2015–27775 Filed 10–30–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4810–AM–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION [Docket No.: ED–2015–ICCD–0128] Agency Information Collection Activities; Comment Request; Perkins Discretionary Grant Performance Report Department of Education (ED), Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education (OCTAE). ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: SUMMARY: In accordance with the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 3501 et seq.), ED is proposing an extension of an existing information collection. DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before January 4, 2016. ADDRESSES: To access and review all the documents related to the information collection listed in this notice, please use http://www.regulations.gov by searching the Docket ID number ED– 2015–ICCD–0128. Comments submitted in response to this notice should be submitted electronically through the Federal eRulemaking Portal at http:// www.regulations.gov by selecting the Docket ID number or via postal mail, commercial delivery, or hand delivery. Please note that comments submitted by fax or email and those submitted after the comment period will not be accepted. Written requests for information or comments submitted by postal mail or delivery should be addressed to the Director of the Information Collection Clearance Division, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., LBJ, Room 2E115, Washington, DC 20202–4537. E:\FR\FM\02NON1.SGM 02NON1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 211 (Monday, November 2, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 67389-67390]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-27775]


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BUREAU OF CONSUMER FINANCIAL PROTECTION


Joint Statement of Principles on Student Loan Servicing

AGENCY: Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.

ACTION: Policy Guidance.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: On September 29, 2015, the Bureau of Consumer Financial 
Protection (Bureau) joined with the U.S. Department of the Treasury and 
the U.S. Department of Education to release a Joint Statement of 
Principles on Student Loan Servicing as a framework for policymakers 
and market participants looking to improve student loan servicing 
practices, promote borrower success, and mitigate defaults. This Policy 
Guidance sets forth those joint principles.

DATES: This Policy Guidance is applicable November 2, 2015.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michael Pierce, Program Manager, 
Office for Students and Young Americans, 1700 G Street NW., 20552, 202-
435-7938.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

1. Policy Guidance

Joint Statement of Principles on Student Loan Servicing

    The U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of the 
Treasury, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau have developed a 
Joint Statement of Principles on Student Loan Servicing as a framework 
to improve student loan servicing practices, promote borrower success 
and minimize defaults.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ On March 10, 2015, the President signed a Presidential 
Memorandum on a Student Aid Bill of Rights to Help Ensure Affordable 
Loan Repayment. The President directed the Secretary of Education, 
in consultation with the Secretary of the Treasury and the Director 
of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to issue a report by 
October 1, 2015 on, among other things, recommendations concerning 
private and federal student loan servicing standards, flexible 
repayment opportunities for all student loan borrowers, and changes 
to bankruptcy laws. This Joint Statement of Principles on Student 
Loan Servicing informed this required report.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

General Principles for Student Loan Servicing \2\

    Consistent with their respective authorities, responsibilities, and 
missions, the Departments and the Bureau are committed to working 
together so that all student loan borrowers have access to (1) the 
information they need to repay their loans responsibly and avoid 
default; (2) protections so that they will be treated fairly even if 
they are struggling to repay their loans; and (3) mechanisms so that 
errors are resolved expeditiously and assurances that student loan 
servicers, both in the marketplace and through federally-contracted 
companies, are held accountable for their conduct. The following 
principles have been developed to advance these goals.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \2\ On September 30, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection 
Bureau released Student Loan Servicing: Analysis of Public Input and 
Recommendations for Reform, analyzing comments the Bureau solicited 
from stakeholders including student loan borrowers, federal student 
loan servicers, private student loan market participants, policy 
experts, and state law enforcement officials and regulators as part 
of the Departments' and the Bureau's joint efforts to identify 
initiatives to strengthen student loan servicing.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    There are four main types of postsecondary education loans under 
which borrowers have outstanding balances. Direct Loans are federal 
loans made directly to borrowers by the U.S. Department of Education 
through the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan program. Federal Family 
Education Loan Program (FFELP) loans were originated by private lenders 
and guaranteed by the federal government. Federal Perkins Loans, which 
are co-funded by institutions of higher education and the federal 
government,

[[Page 67390]]

are originated and administered by participating institutions. Direct 
Loans, Perkins Loans and FFELP loans are made pursuant to Title IV of 
the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA). The SAFRA Act 
enacted in 2010 ended new loan originations under the FFELP program in 
2010, but a significant number of loans remain outstanding. Private 
student loans are made by depository and non-depository financial 
institutions, states, institutions of higher education, and other 
entities. Private loans are not governed by the Higher Education Act, 
but are subject to other federal and state laws. All Federal Direct 
Loans and some FFELP loans are held by the Department of Education and 
serviced pursuant to contracts with loan servicers and collection 
contractors. Servicing for Perkins Loans, privately-held FFELP loans, 
and private student loans is provided at the direction of the current 
loan holder, and servicing activities for Perkins and FFELP loans are 
governed by rules and regulations laid out by law and through the U.S. 
Department of Education. The economic incentives to provide servicing 
that best serves borrowers', loan holders', and taxpayers' needs vary 
across the different types of student loans.
    In addition, the respective loan types come with varying levels of 
consumer protections and special benefits. Direct Loans, in general, 
offer borrowers more protections than private or FFELP loans. Borrowers 
with FFELP loans continue to consolidate into the Direct Loan program 
to access certain protections and benefits including the Public Service 
Loan Forgiveness Program, the nonaccrual of interest for servicemembers 
serving in areas of hostilities, and certain income-driven repayment 
plans. For federal loans, pursuant to provisions in the HEA, 
institutions of higher education are required to provide certain 
disclosures to borrowers that provide them with clear and helpful 
information about their loans and repayment options as part of schools' 
statutorily required entrance and exit counseling duties.
    The Departments and the Bureau intend to work closely with one 
another, consistent with their respective authorities, to strengthen 
servicing protections for student loan borrowers, and will seek to 
ensure that student loan servicing is, where appropriate:
     Consistent. Student loan borrowers and servicers alike 
would benefit from a clear set of expectations for what constitutes 
minimum requirements for services provided by student loan servicers 
and servicer communications with borrowers, including adequate and 
timely customer service. Student loan borrowers should expect effective 
student loan servicing, including, but not limited to, conduct related 
to payment processing, servicing transfers, customer requests for 
information, error resolution, and disclosure of borrower repayment 
options and benefits. Such conduct should account for and recognize 
variations in loan features, terms, and borrower protections.
     Accurate and Actionable. Student loan borrowers often 
depend on servicers to provide basic information about account 
features, borrower protections, and loan terms. It is critical that 
information provided to borrowers by student loan servicers be accurate 
and actionable. Information, including explanation and instructions 
regarding borrowers' loans and repayment options, should be presented 
in a manner that best informs borrowers, helps them achieve positive 
outcomes, and mitigates the risk and costs of default.
     Accountable. Student loan servicers, whether for-profit, 
not-for-profit or government agencies, should be accountable for 
serving borrowers fairly, efficiently and effectively. If servicers 
fall short and violate federal or state consumer financial laws, the 
HEA, contractual requirements, or federal regulations, borrowers, 
federal and state agencies and regulators, and law enforcement 
officials should have access to appropriate channels for recourse, as 
authorized under law.
     Transparent. The public, including student loan borrowers, 
may benefit from information about the performance of private and 
federal student loans and the practices of individual student loan 
lenders and servicers, including information related to loan 
origination, loan terms and conditions, borrower characteristics, 
portfolio composition, delinquency and default, payment plan 
enrollment, utilization of forbearance and deferment, the 
administration of borrower benefits and protections, and the handling 
of borrower complaints. The federal government already makes much of 
this information available for federal student loans, and private-
sector lenders and servicers should follow suit. Portfolio performance 
data, including data at the individual servicer level, should be 
available for all types of student loans.

2. Regulatory Requirements

    This Policy Guidance is a non-binding general statement of policy. 
It does not establish any binding legal requirements. It is therefore 
exempt from notice and comment rulemaking requirements under the 
Administrative Procedure Act pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b). Because no 
notice of proposed rulemaking is required, the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act does not require an initial or final regulatory flexibility 
analysis. 5 U.S.C. 603(a), 604(a). The Bureau has determined that this 
Policy Guidance does not impose any new or revise any existing 
recordkeeping, reporting, or disclosure requirements on covered 
entities or members of the public that would be collections of 
information requiring OMB approval under the Paperwork Reduction Act, 
44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.

    Dated: October 27, 2015.
Christopher D'Angelo,
Chief of Staff, Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection.
[FR Doc. 2015-27775 Filed 10-30-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4810-AM-P