A long time ago — before the introduction of the Direct Loan Program — I consolidated my federal loans with Citibank. And what a ride it’s been for those Citi student loans: Since that time, my loans have gone from one servicer to another, to yet another.
In 2010, Citi sold off its student loan unit, and in 2017, the well-known bank finally stopped servicing the last of the private loans it had on the books. If you have student loans from Citi, you might not have an idea of who services them now or what to do next. Here’s what you need to know.
What happened to Citi student loans?
My student loans were part of the 2010 deal that sent $28 billion from Citi’s federal student loan portfolio to Sallie Mae*†. At that same time, Discover also took over $4 billion in Citi private student loans. As part of the dissolution of the student loan unit at Citi, the company itself also bought back $8.7 billion in student loans, both federal and private. The Department of Education similarly got in on the act, purchasing $4.7 billion of the federal loans.
What happens to loans after they are sold depends on what your new servicer does with them. My consolidated federal obligation ended up with Navient after it was spun off of Sallie Mae in 2014. It didn’t change any of terms of the loan — in fact, the transition was seamless, and I didn’t miss a payment or have to resubmit any of my information.
Private student loans sold to Discover could still be there — or passed off to yet another servicer.
Loans that were bought by the Department of Education were eventually sent out to servicers, since the government originates loans through the Direct program but doesn’t service them.
Finally, Citi serviced the loans it bought back until they were eventually sold off to other companies. The last batch of private Citi student loans ended up with FirstmarkServices.
How can you find your federal student loan servicer?
In most cases, your new Citi student loans servicer will contact you with information about where to send payments and how to manage your student loan account online. If this isn’t the case, you need to do a little hunting on your own.
Tracking your federal student loans is fairly straightforward. The National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS) is a database containing all of your information, including how to contact your servicer and how much you owe.
You need a Federal Student Aid ID (FSA ID) to log into the NSLDS. If you filled out a FAFSA after May 2015, you already have your ID. If you don’t have an ID, you can create one at the Federal Student Aid website.
Once you have your FSA ID, go to the NSLDS website and select “Financial Aid Review.” Everything you need will be listed. In order to get details about a specific loan, click on the blue number to the left of the loan type, indicated by the red arrow in the image below.
Once you do that, you can see information about the servicer, lender, and guaranty agency, though don’t forget that payments should be made to the servicer. You can also contact the servicer about making any changes to your repayment plan or other issues.
Finding your private student loan servicer
Things get a little trickier when you need the point of contact for private student loans. Those aren’t listed in the NSLDS. Instead, if payments are coming out of your bank account, you can check your statement for the name of the agency in charge of managing your loans. Once you know the agency, then you can visit the website for contact information and set up your payments.
If that doesn’t work, or if you’re having trouble figuring out where to send payments in the first place, check your credit report. You’re entitled to a free report from each of the three major bureaus every year by going to AnnualCreditReport.com.
Your credit report should contain a list of all of your debts and who’s servicing them. Get the phone number from the credit report and call to find out where to send payment.
Citi required to refund $3.75 million to some customers
Late in 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced an enforcement action against Citi with regard to its handling of student loans. If your Citi student loans are part of the action, you might be eligible for a share of $3.75 million that will be refunded as a result of practices that prevented some consumers from taking advantage of benefits they were entitled to.
Citi must contact you if you are eligible for the refund. If Citi is still servicing your loans, the bank is supposed to issue a statement credit in the appropriate amount. If your debt is being managed by a different company, Citi is required to issue you a check. Watch your mail for a redress letter detailing what to expect if you are affected.
Stay on top of your student loans
Whether you had Citi student loans, or even if your loans were with another entity, it’s important to know your servicer and stay on top of the situation.
When you find out you have a new servicer, double-check your bank account. Are payments are still being made? While some transitions are seamless, others fail. If you notice a lapse, contact your new servicer to set up a new plan immediately.
Regardless of whether or not the transition went off without a hitch, it’s a good idea to visit the website of your new servicer and set up an online account. Being able to manage your student loans over the internet can make a huge difference in making sure everything’s happening as it should.
Finally, if you want to reduce the hassle, learn how to pay off your student loans faster using our ultimate guide.
*Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
†The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2019!
|2 Important Disclosures for College Ave.
College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.
Information advertised valid as of 4/1/2019. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation.
* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.
3 = Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
4 Important Disclosures for Discover.
5 Important Disclosures for SunTrust.
Before applying for a private student loan, SunTrust recommends comparing all financial aid alternatives including grants, scholarships, and both federal and private student loans. To view and compare the available features of SunTrust private student loans, visit https://www.suntrust.com/loans/student-loans/private.
Certain restrictions and limitations may apply. SunTrust Bank reserves the right to change or discontinue this loan program without notice. Availability of all loan programs is subject to approval under the SunTrust credit policy and other criteria and may not be available in certain jurisdictions.
©2019 SunTrust Banks, Inc. SUNTRUST, the SunTrust logo and Custom Choice Loan are trademarks of SunTrust Banks, Inc. All rights reserved.
6 Important Disclosures for LendKey.
7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
A government loan is made according to rules set by the U.S. Department of Education. Government loans have fixed interest rates, meaning that the interest rate on a government loan will never go up or down.
Government loans also permit borrowers in financial trouble to use certain options, such as income-based repayment, which may help some borrowers. Depending on the type of loan that you have, the government may discharge your loan if you die or become permanently disabled.
Depending on what type of government loan that you have, you may be eligible for loan forgiveness in exchange for performing certain types of public service. If you are an active-duty service member and you obtained your government loan before you were called to active duty, you are entitled to interest rate and repayment benefits for your loan.
A private student loan is not a government loan and is not regulated by the Department of Education. A private student loan is instead regulated like other consumer loans under both state and federal law and by the terms of the promissory note with your lender.
If your private student loan has a fixed interest rate, then that rate will never go up or down. If your private student loan has a variable interest rate, then that rate will vary depending on an index rate disclosed in your application. If the interest rate on the new private student loan is less than the interest rate on your government loans, your payments will be less if you refinance.
If you don’t pay a private student loan as agreed, the lender can refer your loan to a collection agency or sue you for the unpaid amount.
Remember also that like government loans, most private loans cannot be discharged if you file bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate that repayment of the loan would cause you an undue hardship. In most bankruptcy courts, proving undue hardship is very difficult for most borrowers.
8 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
|4.07% – 11.32%2||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.50% – 11.35%*,3||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.84% – 13.49%4||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.25% – 11.30%5||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|4.50% – 9.47%6||Undergraduate and Graduate|
|3.74% – 9.72%7||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|
|4.45% – 12.32%8||Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents|