Unpaid Student Loans May Impoverish Older Americans

Though a small percentage of older Americans carry student loans, those who do are incurring this debt faster, have a higher default rate and, as a result, can find themselves living in poverty in retirement, according to a new report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office. While older citizens are more burdened by mortgages, auto loans and credit-card debt, student loans among this age group are a growing concern. And unlike young borrowers who have many working years ahead of them to repay, older …

Payday Lender Ordered to Pay $10 Million Over Collection Practices

Ace Cash Express, one of the nation’s largest payday lenders, has agreed to pay a $10 million settlement over its collection practices. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said that Ace, based in Irving, Tex., must refund $5 million to customers who fell victim to such practices from March 2011 to September 2012; it must also pay a $5 million civil penalty. Payday loans are taken out by people who need quick cash between paychecks. Companies such as Ace Cash Express have been known …

President Makes It Easier to Repay Student Loans

Just as the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is raising concern about growing student loan debt and defaults, President Barack Obama is moving to expand a repayment program aimed at helping lower-income borrowers. The president today signed an executive order that the administration says will allow nearly 5 million more borrowers to qualify for a program that keeps monthly payments on federal loans to no more than 10 percent of discretionary income. This plan has been available only to more …

Is Medical Debt Highly Unhealthy for Your Credit Score?

Are consumers’ credit scores unfairly dinged by medical debt? The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau thinks so. The agency released a new report that says unpaid medical debt sent to collections – and appearing on credit reports – can overly penalize consumers. Credit scores, generated by information in credit reports, are three-digit numbers that try to predict a consumer’s likelihood of paying bills. The higher the number, the better. Businesses use scores to decide whether to extend credit and at what interest …

Some Student Borrowers Face Default if Cosigner Dies

Many parents and grandparents are aware of the hazards of cosigning an education loan, putting themselves on the hook to repay if the student doesn’t. Now another wrinkle has emerged that can end up hurting student borrowers: Under the terms offered by most private lenders, institutions can demand that borrowers immediately repay a loan in full if the cosigner dies or files for bankruptcy. These so-called auto-defaults can occur even if the borrower has been keeping up with payments. And …

Defaults Rise in Parent PLUS Loans

Parents who’ve taken out federal student loans to help pay for their children’s college education are increasingly finding themselves in serious financial trouble. Default rates on Parent PLUS loans have tripled in the last few years, according to federal data released this month. Some 5.1 percent of loans that originated in the 2010 fiscal year were in default three years later, according to U.S. Department of Education data released last week. Default rates were highest, at 13.3 percent, for Parent …