When you take out a Student Loan, your lender will probably partner up with a Loan Servicer such as Firstmark Services. Recently, Firstmark Services have made a bad impression on their customers and have received a bad rating of D from the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
The customer reviews have been worse with the average rating of 1 star out of 5 (1/5).
If you are one of the borrowers working with Firstmark Services to pay off your student loans, then this article will provide some relevant and important information for you. And if you aren't working with Firstmark, this article will inform you of a lender you might want to steer clear of.
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Table of Contents
Who is Firstmark and what do they do?
Some might mistake Firstmark Servicer for a lender but that is not who they are. Firstmark is a student loan servicer, rather than giving out loans like SoFi, Earnest, and LendKey, servicers act as middlemen for the student loan lenders and perform some essential tasks:
Handling and tracking payments
Providing Customer service
Maintaining Loan Records
Ensuring that the administration of loans is in compliance with federal law and other legal requirements
The student loan servicer is responsible for the disbursement of your funds, and you partner with them during the repayment for the life of your loan unless you refinance. Firstmark Services is a branch of a larger student loan servicer, Nelnet. Nelnet services federal student loans, while Firstmark Services are assigned to private student loans.
Recurring Complaints against Firstmark Services.
There are a ton of complaints against Firstmark Services. Borrowers can file complaints with the BBB and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). The three complaints that keep coming up are:
Mishandling of Student Loans.
When you make a payment on your student loan, you expect it to be handled the way it is supposed to be. Firstmark Services complaints recorded with the CFPB and BBB describe borrowers having trouble with how their student loans are handled.
One borrower having two loans under Firstmark Services reported that the payment toward one loan had been split between both the loans. This caused the loans to then appear delinquent. The borrower emailed and called Firstmark Services many times and finally Firstmark ended up making additional payments and paying $130 in interest for the mistake.
Many loanees have had their loans transferred to Firstmark Services. It has been reported that in many of the transferred accounts, previous payments weren’t accounted for, and customers had a difficult time retrieving the mishandled payments.
In one borrower’s case, it was reported that the loan’s interest rates were converted from fixed to variable during the transfer of the loan. When the borrower tried to get copies of the promissory notes, they were never sent. Firstmark Services refused to reinstate the fixed interest rate or refund the interest.
Having your loan terms changed is an outrageous example of mishandling.
Failure to close accounts and inability to work with borrowers
Paying off a student loan should give you a sigh of relief, at the least, but apparently not with Firstmark. Firstmark Services has complaints from borrowers who have difficulty getting their accounts closed.
A borrower, whose account was paid in full, filed a complaint with the BBB stating, “I have contacted Firstmark every 2-3 business days since the college paid off the balance and I am continually told they are working on closing the account. To date, this account is past due and incurring late fees even though it has been paid in full for almost 45 days.”
In a case originally reported on the BBB, a borrower repaid their student loan in full and it was recorded on their debit card bank statement. The borrower then tried to buy a home. They requested a “paid in full” letter from Firstmark, as requested by the underwriting department for their mortgage. Firstmark claimed it could not issue a formal letter sooner than 30 days from the last and final payment. It did offer an informal letter, but this was rejected by the mortgage company.
Pathetic Customer Service and terrible followthrough
The BBB and CFPB Firstmark Services complaints are dominated majorly with reports of poor customer service.
Bad customer service led to a drop in credit score and threats of being sent to a collection agency for one borrower.
Communication about payments has been a major gripe as well. One borrower reported about their payments being reversed four times with Firstmark Services only contacted them once when this occurred. The rest of the time, the borrower had to log in to check and would find their account was past due.
Gaps in communication make it challenging for any borrower to get set up for successful payments with their student loans.
So what can you do about it?
If Firstmark is your servicer and you are unhappy with them, then one of the ways to rid yourself of them is to pay off your student loans fast by making additional and advance payments each month.
If you cannot do that and want another solution, look towards refinancing your current loans with another lender.
This will enable you to pay off your loan while working with a lender that can help you keep your payments on track and avoid any unwanted gripe.
Interested in refinancing your student loans? Check out the Best Companies to Refinance Your Student Loans.