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posted: 11/6/2017 2:00 AM

Military personnel need straight answers on loans

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The Illinois House of Representatives has an opportunity to support our veterans by ensuring that their financial security isn't jeopardized.

A bill pending an override in the Illinois House, Senate Bill 1351, would provide student loan borrowers with the right to receive accurate and complete information from the companies that process repayments of student loans -- a practical and common-sense measure.

Unfortunately, as documented by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in its 2015 report "Overseas & Underserved: Student Loan Servicing and The Cost to Our Men and Women in Uniform," the "inadequate student loan servicing causes substantial hardship for military families."

Among the most egregious problems caused by the poor handling by these servicers is denial of military deferments without explanations; verbal approvals that are never applied to the loans; denial of eligibility for the Service Members Civil Relief Act and the creation of obstacles to the discharge of loans due to a disability.

Even in cases where the service members make the ultimate sacrifice for their country and where federal law requires that federal student loans be discharged upon the death of a borrower, student loan servicers make it difficult for the next of kin to discharge these loans.

Student loan servicers have a history of providing inaccurate and conflicting information to borrowers, leading to student loans going into default and ruining service members' credit during their deployment. This is unacceptable.

The men and women serving their country and their families deserve better from student loan servicers.

I urge members of the Illinois House of Representative to override the governor's veto of SB 1351 and ensure that student loan servicers do their duty, just like our men and women in uniform do theirs.

Keith Wetherell, Executive Director

Amvets Department of Illinois

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