CBA Supports Bipartisan House Effort to Improve Student Lending

October 25, 2017
Nick Simpson

The Consumer Bankers Association today sent a letter to Representatives Luke Messer (R-Ind.) and Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-Mo.) supporting their bipartisan Student Loan Disclosure Modernization Act (H.R. 4119). The legislation requires the Department of Education to streamline the “plain language” disclosure form and more clearly explain the costs and terms of federal student loans. The current disclosure form is six pages long, runs more than 6,000 words and is written in legal jargon.

“Over-lending by the federal government has left an entire generation with mountains of debt and has contributed to increasing tuition costs,” CBA President and CEO Richard Hunt said. “Banks already offer their customers a very clear, know-before-you-owe disclosure form. It is responsible, empowers students and families to make sound financial decisions and helps prevent borrower repayment problems.

“It is time to right-size federal student lending. CBA members are committed to helping students finance their higher education goals without overburdening their futures.”

In 2010, a provision of the health care legislation passed by Congress gave the federal government a near monopoly of the student loan market. Today, private loans make up approximately 8 percent of the $1.4 trillion in student loan debt.

CBA’s Board of Directors last month set as a top association priority promoting policies to unleash the private marketplace’s ability to serve students’ higher education goals and ensure the federal government serves those most in need in a responsible manner.

A copy of CBA’s letter is below:

October 25, 2017

The Honorable Luke Messer

U.S. House of Representatives

1230 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

The Honorable Emanuel Cleaver, II

U.S. House of Representatives

2335 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

 

Dear Congressmen Messer and Cleaver:

On behalf of the Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), I write to express our strong support for H.R. 4119, The Student Loan Disclosure Modernization Act.  CBA is the voice of the retail banking industry whose products and services provide access to credit to millions of consumers and small businesses.  Our members operate in all 50 states, serve more than 150 million Americans and collectively hold two-thirds of the country’s total depository assets.  In addition, CBA membership includes private sector lenders who make the majority of private student loans to help families finance a college education. 

For many students and families, a college education will be one of the most important investments they ever make.  The bipartisan Student Loan Disclosure Modernization Act will help ensure borrowers have the information necessary to make informed decisions about financing higher education.  Today, the ironically named Plain Language Disclosure provides users of federal student loan products six pages of legal jargon in fine print to show only generic loan costs and repayment terms.  Your important legislation would streamline the disclosure and clearly explain the costs and terms of the federal student loan specific to the individual borrower.  Private student lenders already offer their customers a clear, know-before-you-owe disclosure form that is welcomed by the borrower.  CBA strongly believes better disclosure of federal loan costs and terms will promote informed decision-making and discourage the over borrowing that is fueling the high cost of college. 

Thank you for your leadership on this issue. CBA welcomes the opportunity to work with you in passing this important legislation to empower students and families with the information necessary to make sound financial decisions in their pursuit of their higher education goals.

Sincerely,

Richard Hunt

President and CEO

Consumer Bankers Association

About the Consumer Bankers Association:

The Consumer Bankers Association represents America’s retail banks above $10 billion in assets. We advance legislation and promote policies geared toward creating a stronger industry and economy. Established in 1919, CBA’s corporate member institutions account for 1.6 million jobs in America, extend roughly $3 trillion in consumer loans, and provide $270 billion in small business loans. Follow us on Twitter @consumerbankers.

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