We are often retained to defend people who are dealing with private student loan debt and lawsuits against them. Creditors such as Navient and National Collegiate Trust are two of the biggest private lenders in the country, and we often see these creditors suing consumers for defaulted private loans for amounts that can reach over a few hundred thousand dollars. These lawsuits usually come in the form of a securitized loans such as National Collegiate Student Loan Trust 2007-4 against the defendant. These loans are almost always transferred from whomever the original creditor was and eventually land with the guarantor or indemnity company whose job it is to try and recoup as much money on the defaulted loan as possible.
National Collegiate will usually send these loans into collection first using a wide array of collection agencies including common ones such as Weltman Weinberg and Reis as well as National Enterprise Systems or "NES." If their efforts to collect fail then National Collegiate will retain law firms in New York and New Jersey to collect the debt. Forster and Garbus as well as Rubin and Rothman are two of the most frequently retained debt collection law firms for National Collegiate matters. The goal of these law firms is to sue the consumer in order to obtain a default judgment against them. A default judgment is obtained when the consumer does not answer the summons and complaint within the time allowed to do so. Often the reason for not answering is because the consumer is not properly served.
A default judgment can result in a consumer's bank accounts being levied and their wages being garnished. In more serious situations, a lien can even be placed against their home. It is imperative to submit an answer with affirmative defenses to avoid these consequences. Submitting an answer leaves the burden on National Collegiate to prove their case and leaves the leverage on the side of the consumer. This leverage is especially important when attempting to negotiate a settlement with National Collegiate through Forster and Garbus or other law firms. By aggressively defending defendants through litigation, we have been able to reduce the loan amounts alleged to have been owed by up to 80% off. Importantly, National Collegiate will often agree to give consumers payment plans on settlements that we have seen reach up to 11 years with no interest. Although a lump sum payment can certainly help obtain a better settlement, a reasonable settlement with a long term interest free payment plan can still be obtained and is often more realistic.