CornerStone is among the smaller federal scholar mortgage servicers contracted by the Division of Schooling. Boasting 35 years within the trade, CornerStone is the servicing arm of the Utah Increased Schooling Help Authority (UHEAA), a state authorities company and a part of the Utah System of Increased Schooling.
Their mission is to information households by means of the method of financing larger schooling. UHEAA’s Repay Centsibly program gives college students and faculties monetary assist literacy, help with mortgage compensation, and assist stopping default.
UHEAA, in addition to CornerStone, claims their imaginative and prescient is to “present the most effective scholar mortgage expertise wherever” and proudly lists their guiding rules on their About web page: integrity, diligence, buyer focus, collaboration, data, self-discipline, and resourcefulness.
CornerStone seems like an organization that cares for his or her debtors and actually needs them to succeed financially. They also have a number of video games to show monetary literacy.
On Fb, CornerStone claims to “take the guess work out of compensation.” However their debtors inform a distinct story.
ACS Switch Mishaps
ACS is a scholar mortgage servicer that misplaced their credibility a number of years in the past. After the Division of Schooling determined to switch all Direct Loans serviced by ACS to different servicers, many went to CornerStone. Sadly, too lots of these transferred accounts arrived incomplete, leading to debtors discovering that their income-driven compensation plans, deferment standing, auto-payments, and even rates of interest didn’t make it by means of the switch.
When your loans switch to a different servicer, the one factor that ought to change is your contact level for funds and communication. The mortgage phrases shouldn’t change, however that’s what this borrower, amongst many, skilled. After noticing the next rate of interest after the switch to CornerStone, this borrower began a private marketing campaign to repair it. Over a dozen telephone calls and 9 months later, their loans nonetheless had the upper rate of interest, even after chatting with a supervisor who assured her they’d resolved the error.
In one other occasion, a borrower obtained a letter saying that her loans have been being transferred to CornerStone however that nothing would change, together with her auto-payments. After one fee was smaller than the traditional quantity taken from her account, the auto-payments stopped fully. To resolve the problem, she mailed a request to begin auto-payments once more however didn’t hear again. She and her husband known as a number of occasions, faxed, and emailed however couldn’t attain anybody.
Lack Of Communication
Nothing is worse than needing assist with a time-sensitive downside and being unable to achieve those that ought to be capable to assist. Sadly, that’s precisely what many CornerStone debtors expertise when one thing doesn’t go fairly proper with their scholar loans.
Whereas the issues CornerStone debtors expertise are definitely price concern, the truth that they can not attain representatives is downright alarming. In too many situations, debtors’ incapability to contact a CornerStone consultant resulted in delinquency and adverse credit score reporting, regardless of how persistent their contact makes an attempt have been.
A lot of these debtors marvel how they’re supposed to maintain their account in good standing if the servicer is unwilling to even communicate with them about potential issues.
Take this borrower: After two failed makes an attempt to make a fee on-line, they tried a number of avenues of communication to resolve the problem to not miss their due date. All failed, and because of this, their credit score suffered. The one communication they obtained earlier than they resorted to submitting a grievance with Higher Enterprise Bureau (BBB) was a letter notifying them of the failed fee.
In an analogous case, one borrower’s funds constantly sat in pending standing earlier than being returned to them. Consequently, they stored getting late charges that they have been anticipated to repay with funds that by no means went by means of. After they known as in, they might by no means attain anybody. As they wrote that grievance, they’d been on maintain for near 40 minutes.
Some debtors describe the lengths they went to to be able to contact CornerStone Buyer Service. Every day makes an attempt for weeks to contact a human went unanswered. All this borrower wanted was to be put in forbearance earlier than their fee due date — an motion that’s routine for different servicers.
They waited on maintain for greater than 45 minutes daily. Deciding on the auto-callback function resulted in a dropped name each time. Emails and speak to kind submissions elicited no response. The one success they’d in communication was by means of BBB.
Points Regardless of Communication
When debtors are fortunate sufficient to speak to a consultant, they don’t go away the dialog feeling fortunate. As a substitute, they develop a deep mistrust of CornerStone when, in too many circumstances, their requests by no means get accomplished. Many debtors evaluate their expertise to different servicers, who haven’t any downside processing the identical request in a well timed method.
Revenue-based compensation plans require annual recertification or the account switches again to the Customary plan, which could be catastrophic for debtors who depend on the decrease IBR funds. One borrower despatched off an identical recertification paperwork to their two servicers on the identical time. Whereas one was immediate with processing, CornerStone was not.
As a substitute, they initiated a backwards and forwards to get the data they claimed was lacking from the unique packet the borrower despatched, altering their story about what data they’d at any given time. Data they’d halfway by means of the method was one way or the other lacking by the tip.
One other borrower had hassle submitting an utility for a hardship deferment. They faxed and emailed the shape to CornerStone 4 occasions, however they have been nonetheless unable to course of it. After they weren’t claiming they didn’t obtain the shape, CornerStone claimed they didn’t have all vital data to course of it, however they didn’t inform the borrower what was lacking.
After a number of makes an attempt to seek out out, the borrower was unable to find out what extra data they required. All this occurred after their account transferred from Nelnet, who had authorized the borrower’s deferment.
A recurring theme among the many numerous complaints of unattainable communication is a stunning sense of neighborhood. It’s unacceptable that an organization coping with time-sensitive monetary issues — issues which have the potential to make or break people’ futures — has such limitations to important communication.
Nevertheless, these people complaining are continually demanding that CornerStone’s communication, web site, and processes be improved so future debtors shouldn’t have to endure.
Contemplate this from a borrower whose in-school deferment was not utilized, regardless of CornerStone’s assurances that it could be utilized routinely and that communication from the borrower was not vital.
Usually, the varsity sends the servicer discover that the borrower is in class, however CornerStone claims to have by no means obtained that discover and continued to invoice the borrower, even threatening late charges if they didn’t pay — all whereas they have been presently enrolled in class.
They mentioned: “I’ve by no means skilled such poor service and communication from different mortgage corporations and wish to file a grievance to assist be certain that the general public is conscious of such practices and in order that different college students won’t should endure the identical difficulties I’m presently experiencing.”
That borrower shares that sentiment with numerous others. A pessimist would possibly discover that these pleas have gone unanswered, confirmed by the fixed inflow of comparable complaints. An optimist would possibly discover consolation within the sense of neighborhood and goodwill.
What everybody ought to take from these tales is motivation to be proactive. Delays and communication breakdowns don’t occur to everybody, however they’re at all times a chance, so it’s finest to come back to the desk ready. When you must cope with your servicer, accomplish that early, and doc every thing.
If you happen to need assistance getting details about choices if you happen to can’t afford your federal scholar mortgage funds, contact Ameritech Monetary by calling 1-866-863-3870. Their scholar mortgage professionals are specialists and can assist you determine the most effective compensation plan to pursue. They’ll even do all of the doc preparation so that you don’t have to fret about an incomplete utility.
Have you ever ever had any of those issues together with your scholar mortgage servicer?