Monday, March 09, 2020

State House passes 'Bill of Rights' for student borrowers


'Student Borrower’s Bill of Rights' Passes House

OKLAHOMA CITY – Legislation to protect student lenders has passed off the floor of Oklahoma House of Representatives on Monday with a vote of 89 to 8.

House Bill 2922, authored by State Rep. Melissa Provenzano (D-Tulsa), creates the Oklahoma Student Borrower’s Bill of Rights Act and directs the Attorney General to prepare and publish a document written in layman terms on the rights of student loan borrowers.

“Navigating the financial industry attached to higher education is not easy for anyone, especially 18-year-olds fresh out of high school,” Provenzano said. “The focus of this legislation is to protect Oklahoma students by informing them of their rights in a clear, concise way.”

According to the Student Borrower’s Bill of Rights, no student loan lender shall:

  1. Directly or indirectly employ any scheme, device or artifice to defraud or mislead student loan borrowers.
  2. Engage in any unfair or deceptive practice toward any person or misrepresent or omit any material information in connection with the servicing of a student education loan, including, but not limited to, misrepresenting the amount, nature or terms of any fee or payment due or claimed to be due on a student education loan, the terms and conditions of the loan agreement of the borrower’s obligations under the loan.
  3. Obtain property by fraud or misrepresentation.
  4. Misapply student education loan payments to the outstanding balance of a student education loan.
  5. Provide inaccurate information to a credit bureau, thereby harming a student loan borrower’s creditworthiness.
  6. Fail to report both the favorable and unfavorable payment history of the student loan borrower to a nationally recognized consumer credit bureau at least annually if the student loan servicer regularly reports information to a credit bureau.
  7. Refuse to communicate with an authorized representative of the student loan borrower who provides a written authorization signed by the student loan borrower, provided the student loan servicer may adopt procedures reasonably related to verifying that the representative is in fact authorized to act on behalf of the student loan borrower.
  8. Make any false statement or make any omission of a material fact in connection with any information or reports filed with a governmental agency or in connection with any investigation conducted by the Oklahoma Banking Commissioner or another governmental agency.
  9. Fail to inform borrowers of the federal income repayment options before offering forbearance as an option. 

The legislation was passed without title, which means it must be voted on again, however, today’s passage keeps the bill alive past the House of Origin deadline this Thursday at midnight.

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