CBA cautious about federal student-loan debt proposal
Some applicants might be landing at your subprime auto finance company in part because of the amount of student loan debt detailed on their credit report.
Senate Democrats recently proposed eliminating up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per consumer, a strategy questioned by Consumer Bankers Association president and chief executive officer Richard Hunt.
Last week, Hunt shared his concern because, in his view, the wiping away of that debt comes without a “serious attempt” to bring about what he described as fundamental, long-lasting reforms aimed at lowering college tuition.
“Focusing on after-the-fact student loan debt alone is a temporary patch which ignores the underlying problem — the skyrocketing cost of college fueled by two decades of federal over-lending,” Hunt said in a statement released by CBA.
“Every dollar of federal lending has been shown to have a direct correlation to increases in tuition. Without reigning in runaway lending from the Department of Education, which holds and originates enough student loans to be the fifth-largest bank in the country, future borrowers will continue to accumulate mountains of debt,” Hunt continued.
According to CBA, over the last two decades, the price of college tuition has increased nearly 200% and the amount of student loan debt held by Americans has gone up with it. The association pegged it as soaring from a little more than $600 billion in 2008 to nearly $1.5 trillion today.
CBA also said about 92% of that debt is from the federal government.
So how do these holders of federal student loan debt sometimes land within the subprime segment when seeking auto financing?
“These federal loans have a double-digit delinquency and default rate and lack plain-language disclosures on the total costs of the loan,” CBA said.
Hunt cautions that not finding a wide-ranging remedy might result in some consumers continuing to struggle with student-loan debt — perhaps even spiling over into their other credit obligations such as a vehicle installment contract.
“The majority of Americans struggling to repay their student loans — about 90% from the federal government — did not graduate but have debt without the advanced earning potential of a degree,” Hunt said.
“Simply forgiving debt for graduates with the largest loans will likely help those earning the highest wages. Any serious proposal must go beyond debt forgiveness alone, which does nothing to solve the root cause of skyrocketing college tuitions,” he went on to say.