34 CFR Part 682, Appendix D to Part 682 - Policy for Waiving the Secretary's Right To Recover or Refuse To Pay Interest Benefits, Special Allowance,...to Due Diligence in Collection or Timely Filing of Claims [Bulletin 88-G-138]

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Appendix D to Part 682—Policy for Waiving the Secretary's Right To Recover or Refuse To Pay Interest Benefits, Special Allowance, and Reinsurance on Stafford, Plus, Supplemental Loans for Students, and Consolidation Program Loans Involving Lenders' Violations of Federal Regulations Pertaining to Due Diligence in Collection or Timely Filing of Claims [Bulletin 88-G-138]
Note:
The following is a reprint of Bulletin 88-G-138, issued on March 11, 1988, with modifications made to reflect changes in the program regulations. For a loan that has lost reinsurance prior to December 1, 1992, this policy applies only through November 30, 1995. For a loan that loses reinsurance on or after December 1, 1992, this policy applies until 3 years after the default claim filing deadline. For the purpose of determining the 3-year deadline, reinsurance is lost on the later of (a) 3 years from the last date the claim could have been filed for claim payment with the guaranty agency for a claim that was not filed; or (b) 3 years from the date the guaranty agency rejected the claim, for a claim that was filed. These deadlines are extended by periods during which collection activities are suspended due to the filing of a bankruptcy petition.
Introduction
(1) This letter sets forth the circumstances under which the Secretary, pursuant to sections 432(a)(5) and (6) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 and 34 CFR 682.406(b) and 682.413(f), will waive certain of the Secretary's rights and claims with respect to Stafford Loans, PLUS, Supplemental Loans for Students (SLS), and Consolidation Program loans made under a guaranty agency program that involve violations of Federal regulations pertaining to due diligence in collection or timely filing. (These programs are collectively referred to in this letter as the FFEL Program.) This policy applies to due diligence violations on loans for which the first day of delinquency occurred on or after March 10, 1987 (the effective date of the November 10, 1986 due diligence regulations) and to timely filing violations occurring on or after December 26, 1986, whether or not the affected loans have been submitted as claims to the guaranty agency.
(2) The Secretary has been implementing a variety of regulatory and administrative actions to minimize defaults in the FFEL Program. As a part of this effort, the Secretary published final regulations on November 10, 1986, requiring lenders and guaranty agencies to undertake specific due diligence activities to collect delinquent and defaulted loans, and establishing deadlines for the filing of claims by lenders with guaranty agencies. In recognition of the time required for agencies and lenders to modify their internal procedures, the Secretary delayed for four months the date by which lenders were required to comply with the new due diligence requirements. Thus, § 682.411 of the regulations, which established minimum due diligence procedures that a lender must follow in order for a guaranty agency to receive reinsurance on a loan, became effective for loans for which the first day of delinquency occurred on or after March 10, 1987. The regulations make clear that compliance with these minimum requirements, and with the new timely filing deadlines, is a condition for an agency's receiving or retaining reinsurance payments made by the Secretary on a loan. See34 CFR 682.406(a)(3), (a)(5), (a)(6), and 682.413(b). The regulations also specify that a lender must comply with § 682.411 and with the applicable filing deadline as a condition for its right to receive or retain interest benefits and special allowance on a loan for certain periods. See34 CFR 682.300(b)(2)(vii), 682.302(d)(1)(iv), 682.413(a)(1).
(3) The Department has received inquiries regarding the procedures by which a lender may cure a violation of § 682.411 regarding diligent loan collection, or of the 90-day deadline for the filing of default claims found in § 682.406(a)(3) and (a)(5), in order to reinstate the agency's right to reinsurance and the lender's right to interest benefits and special allowance. Preliminarily, please note that, absent an exercise of the Secretary's waiver authority, a guaranty agency may not receive or retain reinsurance payments on a loan on which the lender has violated the Federal due diligence or timely filing requirements, even if the lender has followed a cure procedure established by the agency. Under §§ 682.406(b) and 682.413(f), the Secretary—not the guaranty agency—decides whether to reinstate reinsurance coverage on a loan involving such a violation or any other violation of Federal regulations. A lender's violation of a guaranty agency's requirement that affects the agency's guarantee coverage also affects reinsurance coverage. See§§ 682.406(a)(7) and 682.413(b). As §§ 682.406(a)(7) and 682.413(b) make clear, a guaranty agency's cure procedures are relevant to reinsurance coverage only insofar as they allow for cure of violations of requirements established by the agency affecting the loan insurance it provides to lenders. In addition, all those requirements must be submitted to the Secretary for review and approval under 34 CFR 682.401(d).
(4) References throughout this letter to “due diligence and timely filing” rules, requirements, and violations should be understood to mean only the Federal rules cited above, unless the context clearly requires otherwise.
A. Scope
This letter outlines the Secretary's waiver policy regarding certain violations of Federal due diligence or timely filing requirements on a loan insured by a guaranty agency. Unless your agency receives notification to the contrary, or the lender's violation involves fraud or other intentional misconduct, you may treat as reinsured any otherwise reinsured loan involving such a violation that has been cured in accordance with this letter.
B. Duty of a Guaranty Agency To Enforce Its Standards
As noted above, a lender's violation of a guaranty agency's requirement that affects the agency's guarantee coverage also affects reinsurance coverage. Thus, as a general rule, an agency that fails to enforce such a requirement and pays a default claim involving a violation is not eligible to receive reinsurance on the underlying loan. However, in light of the waiver policy outlined below, which provides more stringent cure procedures for violations occurring on or after May 1, 1988 than for pre-May 1, 1988 violations, some guaranty agencies with more stringent policies than the policy outlined below for the pre-May 1 violations have indicated that they wish to relax their own policies for violations of agency rules during that period. While the Secretary does not encourage any agency to do so, the Secretary will permit an agency to take either of the following approaches to its enforcement of its own due diligence and timely filing rules for violations occurring before May 1, 1988.
(1) The agency may continue to enforce its rules, even if they result in the denial of guarantee coverage by the agency on otherwise reinsurable loans; or
(2) The agency may decline to enforce its rules as to any loan that would be reinsured under the retrospective waiver policy outlined below. In other words, for violations of a guaranty agency's due diligence and timely filing rules occurring before May 1, 1988, a guaranty agency is authorized, but not required, to retroactively revise its own due diligence and timely filing standards to treat as guaranteed any loan amount that is reinsured under the retrospective enforcement policy outlined in section I.C.1. However, for any violation of an agency's due diligence or timely filing rules occurring on or after May 1, 1988, the agency must resume enforcing those rules in accordance with their terms, in order to receive reinsurance payments on the underlying loan. For these post-April 30 violations, and for any other violation of an agency's rule affecting its guarantee coverage, the Secretary will treat as reinsured all loans on which the agency has engaged in, and documented, a case-by-case exercise of reasonable discretion allowing for guarantee coverage to be continued or reinstated notwithstanding the violation. But any agency that otherwise fails, or refuses, to enforce such a rule does so without the benefit of reinsurance coverage on the affected loans, and the lenders continue to be ineligible for interest benefits and special allowance thereon.
C. Due Diligence
Under 34 CFR 682.200, default on a FFEL Program loan occurs when a borrower fails to make a payment when due, provided this failure persists for 270 days for loans payable in monthly installments, or for 330 days for loans payable in less frequent installments. The 270/330-day default period applies regardless of whether payments were missed consecutively or intermittently. For example, if the borrower, on a loan payable in monthly installments, makes his January 1st payment on time, his February 1st payment two months late (April 1st), his March 1st payment 3 months late (June 1st), and makes no further payments, the delinquency period begins on February 2nd, with the first delinquency, and default occurs on December 27th, when the April payment becomes 270 days past due. The lender must treat the payment made on April 1st as the February 1st payment, since the February 1st payment had not been made prior to that time. Similarly, the lender must treat the payment made on June 1st as the March 1st payment, since the March payment had not been made prior to that time.
Note:
Lenders are strongly encouraged to exercise forbearance, prior to default, for the benefit of borrowers who have missed payments intermittently but have otherwise indicated willingness to repay their loans. See34 CFR 682.211. The forbearance process helps to reduce the incidence of default, and serves to emphasize for the borrower the importance of compliance with the repayment obligation.
D. Timely Filing
(1) The 90-day filing period applicable to FFEL Program default claims is described in 34 CFR 682.406(a)(5). The 90-day filing period begins at the end of the 270/330-day default period. The lender ordinarily must file a default claim on a loan in default by the end of the filing period. However, the lender may, but need not, file a claim on that loan before the 360th day of delinquency (270-day default period plus 90-day filing period) if the borrower brings the account less than 270 days delinquent before the 360th day. Thus, in the above example, if the borrower makes the April 1st payment on December 28th, that payment makes the loan 241 days delinquent, and the lender may, but need not, file a default claim on the loan at that time. If, however, the loan again becomes 270 days delinquent, the lender must file a default claim within 90 days thereafter (unless the loan is again brought to less than 270 days delinquent prior to the end of that 90-day period). In other words, the Secretary will permit a lender to treat payments made during the filing period as curing the default if those payments are sufficient to make the loan less than 270 days delinquent.
(2) Section I of this letter outlines the Secretary's waiver policy for due diligence and timely filing violations. As noted above, to the extent that it results in the imposition of a lesser sanction than that available to the Secretary by statute or regulation, this policy reflects the exercise of the Secretary's authority to waive the Secretary's rights and claims in this area. Section II discusses the issue of the due date of the first payment on a loan and the application of the waiver policy to that issue. Section III provides guidance on several issues related to due diligence and timely filing as to which clarification has been requested by some program participants.
I. Waiver Policy
A. Definitions
The following definitions apply to terms used throughout this letter:
Full payment means payment by the borrower, or another person (other than the lender) on the borrower's behalf, in an amount at least as great as the monthly payment amount required under the existing terms of the loan, exclusive of any forbearance agreement in force at the time of the default. (For example, if the original repayment schedule or agreement called for payments of $50 per month, but a forbearance agreement was in effect at the time of default that allowed the borrower to pay $25 per month for a specified time, and the borrower defaulted in making the reduced payments, a full payment would be $50, or two $25 payments in accordance with the original repayment schedule or agreement.) In the case of a payment made by cash, money order, or other means that do not identify the payor that is received by a lender after the date of this letter, that payment may constitute a full payment only if a senior officer of the lender or servicing agent certifies that the payment was not made by or on behalf of the lender or servicing agent.
Earliest unexcused violation means:
(a) In cases when reinsurance is lost due to a failure to timely establish a first payment due date, the earliest unexcused violation would be the 46th day after the date the first payment due date should have been established.
(b) In cases when reinsurance is lost due to a gap of 46 days, the earliest unexcused violation date would be the 46th day following the last collection activity.
(c) In cases when reinsurance is lost due to three or more due diligence violations of 6 days or more, the earliest unexcused violation would be the day after the date of default.
(d) In cases when reinsurance is lost due to a timely filing violation, the earliest unexcused violation would be the day after the filing deadline.
Reinstatement with respect to reinsurance coverage means the reinstatement of the guaranty agency's right to receive reinsurance payments on the loan after the date of reinstatement. Upon reinstatement of reinsurance, the borrower regains the right to receive forbearance or deferments, as appropriate. Reinstatement with respect to reinsurance on a loan also includes reinstatement of the lender's right to receive interest and special allowance payments on that loan.
Gap in collection activity on a loan means:
(a) The period between the initial delinquency and the first collection activity;
(b) The period between collection activities (a request for preclaims assistance is considered a collection activity);
(c) The period between the last collection activity and default; or
(d) The period between the date a lender discovers a borrower has “skipped” and the lender's first skip-tracing activity.
Note:
The concept of “gap” is used herein simply as one measure of collection activity. This definition applies to loans subject to the FFEL and PLUS programs regulations published on or after November 10, 1986. For those loans, not all gaps are violations of the due diligence rules.
Violation with respect to the due diligence requirements in § 682.411 means the failure to timely complete a required diligent phone contact effort, the failure to timely send a required letter (including a request for preclaims assistance), or the failure to timely engage in a required skip-tracing activity. If during the delinquency period a gap of more than 45 days occurs (more than 60 days for loans with a transfer), the lender must satisfy the requirement outlined in I.D.1. for reinsurance to be reinstated. The day after the 45-day gap (or 60 for loans with a transfer) will be considered the date that the violation occurred.
Transfer means any action, including, but not limited to, the sale of the loan, that results in a change in the system used to monitor or conduct collection activity on a loan from one system to another.
B. General
1. Resumption of Interest and Special Allowance Billing on Loans Involving Due Diligence or Timely Filing Violations. For any loan on which a cure is required under this letter in order for the agency to receive any reinsurance payment, the lender may resume billing for interest and special allowance on the loan only for periods following its completion of the required cure procedure.
2. Reservation of the Secretary's Right to Strict Enforcement. While this letter describes the Secretary's general waiver policy, the Secretary retains the option of refusing to permit or recognize cures, or of insisting on strict enforcement of the remedies established by statute or regulation, in cases where, in the Secretary's judgment, a lender has committed an excessive number of severe violations of due diligence or timely filing rules and in cases where the best interests of the United States otherwise require strict enforcement. More generally, this bulletin states the Secretary's general policy and is not intended to limit in any way the authority and discretion afforded the Secretary by statute or regulation.
3. Interest, Special Allowance, and Reinsurance Repayment Required as a Condition for Exercise of the Secretary's Waiver Authority. The Secretary's waiver of the right to recover or refuse to pay reinsurance, interest benefits, or special allowance payments, and recognition of cures for due diligence and timely filing violations, are conditioned on the following:
a. The guaranty agency and lender must ensure that the lender repays all interest benefits and special allowance received on loans involving violations occurring prior to May 1, 1988, for which the lender is ineligible under the waiver policy for the “retrospective period” described in section I.C.1., or under the waiver policy for timely filing violations described in section I.E.1., by an adjustment to one of the next three quarterly billings for interest benefits and special allowance submitted by the lender in a timely manner after May 1, 1988. The guaranty agency's responsibility in this regard is satisfied by receipt of a certification from the lender that this repayment has been made in full.
b. The guaranty agency, on or before October 1, 1988, must repay all reinsurance received on loans involving violations occurring prior to May 1, 1988, for which the agency is ineligible under the waiver policy for the “retrospective period” described in section I.C.1., or under the waiver policy for timely filing violations described in section I.E.1. Pending completion of the repayment described above, a lender or guaranty agency may submit billings to the Secretary on loans that are eligible for reinsurance under the waiver policy in this letter until it learns that repayment in full will not be made, or until the deadline for a repayment has passed without it being made, whichever is earlier. Of course, a lender or guaranty agency is prohibited from billing the Secretary for program payments on any loan amount that is not eligible for reinsurance under the waiver policy outlined in this letter. In addition to the repayments required above, any amounts received in the future in violation of this prohibition must immediately be repaid to the Secretary.
4. Applicability of the Waiver Policy to Particular Classes of Loans. The policy outlined in this letter applies only to a loan for which the first day of the 180/240-day or 270/330-day default period (as applicable) that ended with default by the borrower occurred on or after March 10, 1987, or, in the case of a timely filing violation, December 26, 1986, and that involves violations only of the due diligence or timely filing requirements or both. For a loan that has lost reinsurance prior to December 1, 1992, this policy applies only through November 30, 1995. For a loan that loses reinsurance on or after December 1, 1992, this policy applies until 3 years after the default claim filing deadline.
5. Excuse of Certain Due Diligence Violations. Except as noted in section II, if a loan has due diligence violations but was later cured and brought current, those violations will not be considered in determining whether a loan was serviced in accordance with 34 CFR 682.411. Guarantors must review the due diligence for the 180/240 or 270/330-day period (as applicable) prior to the default date ensuring the due date of the first payment not later made is the correct payment due date for the borrower.
6. Excuse of Timely Filing Violations Due to Performance of a Guaranty Agency's Cure Procedures. If, prior to May 1, 1988, and prior to the filing deadline, a lender commenced the performance of collection activities specifically required by the guaranty agency to cure a due diligence violation on a loan, the Secretary will excuse the lender's timely filing violation if the lender completes the additional activities within the time period permitted by the guaranty agency and files a default claim on the loan not more than 45 days after completing the additional activities.
7. Treatment of Accrued Interest on “Cured” Claims. For any loan involving any violation of the due diligence or timely filing rules for which a “cure” is required under section I.C. or I.E., for the agency to receive a reinsurance payment, the Secretary will not reimburse the guaranty agency for any unpaid interest accruing after the date of the earliest unexcused violation occurring after the last payment received before the cure is accomplished, and prior to the date of reinstatement of reinsurance coverage. The lender may capitalize unpaid interest accruing on the loan from the date of the earliest unexcused violation to the date of the reinstatement of reinsurance coverage. However, if the agency later files a claim for reinsurance on that loan, the agency must deduct this capitalized interest from the amount of the claim. Some cures will not reinstate coverage. For treatment of accrued interest in those cases, see section I.E.1.c.
C. Waiver Policy for Violations of the Federal Due Diligence in Collection Requirements (34 CFR 682.411)
A violation of the due diligence in collection rules occurs when a lender fails to meet the requirements found in 34 CFR 682.411. However, if a lender makes all required calls and sends all required letters during any of the delinquency periods described in that section, the lender is considered to be in compliance with that section for that period, even if the letters were sent before the calls were made. The special provisions for transfers apply whenever the violation(s) and, if applicable, the gap, were due to a transfer, as defined in section I.A.
1. Retrospective Period. For one or more due diligence violations occurring during the period March 10, 1987-April 30, 1988—
a. There will be no reduction or recovery by the Secretary of payments to the lender or guaranty agency if no gap of 46 days or more (61 days or more for a transfer) exists.
b. If a gap of 46-60 days (61-75 days for a transfer) exists, principal will be reinsured, but accrued interest, interest benefits, and special allowance otherwise payable by the Secretary for the delinquency period are limited to amounts accruing through the date of default.
c. If a gap of 61 days or more (76 days or more for a transfer) exists, the borrower must be located after the gap, either by the agency or the lender, in order for reinsurance on the loan to be reinstated. (See section I.E.1.d., for a description of acceptable evidence of location.) In addition, if the loan is held by the lender or after March 15, 1988, the lender must follow the steps described in section I.E.1., or receive a full payment or a new signed repayment agreement, in order for the loan to again be eligible for reinsurance. The lender must repay all interest benefits and special allowance received for the period beginning with its earliest unexcused violation, occurring after the last payment received before the cure is accomplished, and ending with the date, if any, that reinsurance on the loan is reinstated.
2. Prospective Period. For due diligence violations occurring on or after May 1, 1988 based on due dates prior to October 6, 1998—
a. There will be no reduction or recovery by the Secretary of payments to the lender or guaranty agency if there is no violation of Federal requirements of 6 days or more (21 days or more for a transfer.)
b. If there exist not more than two violations of 6 days or more each (21 days or more for a transfer), and no gap of 46 days or more (61 days or more for a transfer) exists, principal will be reinsured, but accrued interest, interest benefits, and special allowance otherwise payable by the Secretary for the delinquency period will be limited to amounts accruing through the date of default. However, the lender must complete all required activities before the claim filing deadline, except that a preclaims assistance request must be made before the 240th day of delinquency. If the lender fails to make this request by the 240th day, the Secretary will not pay any accrued interest, interest benefits, and special allowance for the most recent 180 days prior to default. If the lender fails to complete any other required activity before the claim filing deadline, accrued interest, interest benefits, and special allowance otherwise payable by the Secretary for the delinquency period will be limited to amounts accruing through the 90th day before default.
c. If there exist three violations of 6 days or more each (21 days or more for a transfer) and no gap of 46 days or more (61 days or more for a transfer), the lender must satisfy the requirements outlined in I.E.1., or receive a full payment or a new signed repayment agreement in order for reinsurance on the loan to be reinstated. The Secretary does not pay any interest benefits or special allowance for the period beginning with the lender's earliest unexcused violation occurring after the last payment received before the cure is accomplished, and ending with the date, if any, that reinsurance on the loan is reinstated.
d. If there exist more than three violations of 6 days or more each (21 days or more for a transfer) of any type, or a gap of 46 days (61 days for a transfer) or more and at least one violation, the lender must satisfy the requirement outlined in section I.D.1., for reinsurance on the loan to be reinstated. The Secretary does not pay any interest benefits or special allowance for the period beginning with the lender's earliest unexcused violation occurring after the last payment received before the cure is accomplished, and ending with the date, if any, that reinsurance on the loan is reinstated.
3. Post 1998 Amendments. For due diligence violations based on due dates on or after October 6, 1998—
a. There will be no reduction or recovery by the Secretary of payments to the lender or guaranty agency if there is no violation of Federal requirements of 6 days or more (21 days or more for a transfer).
b. If there exist not more than two violations of 6 days or more each (21 days or more for a transfer), and no gap of 46 days or more (61 days or more for a transfer) exists, principal will be reinsured, but accrued interest, interest benefits, and special allowance otherwise payable by the Secretary for the delinquency period will be limited to amounts accruing through the date of default. However, the lender must complete all required activities before the claim filing deadline, except that a default aversion assistance request must be made before the 330th day of delinquency. If the lender fails to make this request by the 330th day, the Secretary will not pay any accrued interest, interest benefits, and special allowance for the most recent 270 days prior to default. If the lender fails to complete any other required activity before the claim filing deadline, accrued interest, interest benefits, and special allowance otherwise payable by the Secretary for the delinquency period will be limited to amounts accruing through the 90th day before default.
c. If there exist three violations of 6 days or more each (21 days or more for a transfer) and no gap of 46 days or more (61 days or more for a transfer), the lender must satisfy the requirements outlined in I.E.1. or receive a full payment or a new signed repayment agreement in order for reinsurance on the loan to be reinstated. The Secretary does not pay any interest benefits or special allowance for the period beginning with the lender's earliest unexcused violation occurring after the last payment received before the cure is accomplished, and ending with the date, if any, that reinsurance on the loan is reinstated.
d. If there exist more than three violations of 6 days or more each (21 days or more for a transfer) of any type, or a gap of 46 days (61 days for a transfer) or more and at least one violation, the lender must satisfy the requirement outlined in section I.D.1. for reinsurance on the loan to be reinstated. The Secretary does not pay any interest benefits or special allowance for the period beginning with the lender's earliest unexcused violation occurring after the last payment received before the cure is accomplished and ending with the date, if any, that reinsurance on the loan is reinstated.
D. Reinstatement of Reinsurance Coverage for Certain Egregious Due Diligence Violations.
1. Cures. In the case of a loan involving violations described in section I.C.2.d. or I.C.3.d., the lender may utilize either of the two procedures described in section I.D.1.a or I.D.1.b. for obtaining reinstatement of reinsurance coverage on the loan.
a. After the violations occur, the lender obtains a new repayment agreement signed by the borrower. The repayment agreement must comply with the repayment period limitations set out in 34 CFR 682.209(a)(8) and 682.209(h)(2); or
b. After the violations occur, the lender obtains one full payment. If the borrower later defaults, the guaranty agency must obtain evidence of this payment (e.g., a copy of the check) from the lender.
2. Borrower Deemed Current as of Date of Cure. On the date the lender receives a new signed repayment agreement or the curing payment under section I.D.1., reinsurance coverage on the loan is reinstated, and the borrower must be deemed by the lender to be current in repaying the loan and entitled to all rights and benefits available to borrowers who are not in default. The lender must then follow the collection and timely filing requirements applicable to the loan.
E. Cures for Timely Filing Violations and Certain Due Diligence Violations
1. Default Claims.
a. Reinstatement of Insurance Coverage. Except as noted in section I.B.6., in order to obtain reinstatement of reinsurance coverage on a loan in the case of a timely filing violation, a due diligence violation described in section I.C.2.c. or I.C.3.c., or a due diligence violation described in section I.C.1.c. where the lender holds the loan on or after March 15, 1988, the lender must first locate the borrower after the gap, or after the date of the last violation, as applicable. (See section I.E.1.d. for description of acceptable evidence of location.) Within 15 days thereafter, the lender must send to the borrower, at the address at which the borrower was located, (i) a new repayment agreement, to be signed by the borrower, that complies with the ten-year repayment limitations in 34 CFR 682.209(a)(7), along with (ii) a collection letter indicating in strong terms the seriousness of the borrower's delinquency and its potential effect on his or her credit rating if repayment is not commenced or resumed. If, within 15 days after the lender sends these items, the borrower fails to make a full payment or to sign and return the new repayment agreement, the lender must, within 5 days thereafter, diligently attempt to contact the borrower by telephone. Within 5-10 days after completing these efforts, the lender must again diligently attempt to contact the borrower by telephone. Finally, within 5-10 days after completing these efforts, the lender must send a forceful collection letter indicating that the entire unpaid balance of the loan is due and payable, and that, unless the borrower immediately contacts the lender to arrange repayment, the lender will be filing a default claim with the guaranty agency.
b. Borrower Deemed Current Under Certain Circumstances. If, at any time on or before the 30th day after the lender completes the additional collection efforts described in section I.E.1.a., or the 270th day of delinquency, whichever is later, the lender receives a full payment or a new signed repayment agreement, reinsurance coverage on the loan is reinstated on the date the lender receives the full payment or new agreement. The borrower must be deemed by the lender to be current in repaying the loan and entitled to all rights and benefits available to borrowers who are not in default. In the case of a timely filing violation on a loan for which the borrower is deemed current under this paragraph, the lender is ineligible to receive interest benefits and special allowance accruing from the date of the violation to the date of reinstatement of reinsurance coverage on the loan.
c. Borrower Deemed in Default Under Certain Circumstances. If the borrower does not make a full payment, or sign and return the new repayment agreement, on or before the 30th day after the lender completes the additional collection efforts described in section I.E.1.a., or the 270th day of delinquency, whichever is later, the lender must deem the borrower to be in default. The lender must then file a default claim on the loan, accompanied by acceptable evidence of location (see section I.E.1.d.), within 30 days after the end of the 30-day period. Reinsurance coverage, and therefore the lender's right to receive interest benefits and special allowance, is not reinstated on a loan involving these circumstances. However, the Secretary will honor reinsurance claims submitted in accordance with this paragraph on the outstanding principal balance of those loans, on unpaid interest as provided in section I.B.7., and for reimbursement of eligible supplemental preclaims assistance costs. In the case of a timely filing violation on a loan for which the borrower is deemed in default under this paragraph, the lender is ineligible to receive interest benefits and special allowance accruing from the date of the violation.
d. Acceptable Evidence of Location. Only the following documentation is acceptable as evidence that the lender has located the borrower:
(1) A postal receipt signed by the borrower not more than 15 days prior to the date on which the lender sent the new repayment agreement, indicating acceptance of correspondence from the lender by the borrower at the address shown on the receipt; or
(2) Documentation submitted by the lender showing—
(i) The name, identification number, and address of the lender;
(ii) The name and Social Security number of the borrower; and
(iii) A signed certification by an employee or agent of the lender, that—
(A) On a specified date, he or she spoke with or received written communication (attached to the certification) from the borrower on the loan underlying the default claim, or a parent, spouse, sibling, roommate, or neighbor of the borrower;
(B) The address and, if available, telephone number of the borrower were provided to the lender in the telephone or written communication; and
(C) In the case of a borrower whose address or telephone number was provided to the lender by someone other than the borrower, the new repayment agreement and the letter sent by the lender pursuant to section I.E.1.a., had not been returned undelivered as of 20 days after the date those items were sent, for due diligence violations described in section I.C.1.c. where the lender holds the loan on the date of this letter, and as of the date the lender filed a default claim on the cured loan, for all other violations.
2. Death, Disability, and Bankruptcy Claims. The Secretary will honor a death or disability claim on an otherwise eligible loan notwithstanding the lender's failure to meet the 60-day timely filing requirement (See34 CFR 682.402(g)(2)(i)). However, the Secretary will not reimburse the guaranty agency if, before the date the lender determined that the borrower died or was totally and permanently disabled, the lender had violated the Federal due diligence or timely filing requirements applicable to that loan, except in accordance with the waiver policy described above. Interest that accrued on the loan after the expiration of the 60-day filing period remains ineligible for reimbursement by the Secretary, and the lender must repay all interest and special allowance received on the loan for periods after the expiration of the 60-day filing period. The Secretary has determined that, in the vast majority of cases, the failure of a lender to comply with the timely filing requirement applicable to bankruptcy claims (§ 682.402(g)(2)(iv)) causes irreparable harm to the guaranty agency's ability to contest the discharge of the loan by the court, or to otherwise collect from the borrower. Therefore, the Secretary has decided not to excuse violations of the timely filing requirement applicable to bankruptcy claims, except when the lender can demonstrate that the bankruptcy action has concluded and that the loan has not been discharged in bankruptcy or, if previously discharged, has been the subject of a reversal of the discharge. In that case, the lender must return the borrower to the appropriate status that existed prior to the filing of the bankruptcy claim unless the status has changed due solely to passage of time. In the latter case, the lender must place the borrower in the status that would exist had no bankruptcy claim been filed. If the borrower is delinquent after the loan is determined nondischargeable, the lender should grant administrative forbearance to bring the borrower's account current as provided in § 682.211(f)(4) and § 682.402(f)(5)(ii) and (f)(6). The Secretary will not reimburse the guaranty agency for interest for the period beginning on the filing deadline for the bankruptcy claim and ending on the date the loan becomes eligible again for reinsurance. Reinsurance is reinstated on the date the bankruptcy action concludes and the loan is not discharged or on the date a previous discharge is reversed.
II. Due Date of First Payment.Section 682.411(b)(1) refers to the “due date of the first missed payment not later made” as one way to determine the first day of delinquency on a loan. Section 682.209(a)(3) states that, generally, the repayment period on an FFEL Program loan begins some number of months after the month in which the borrower ceases at least half-time study. Where the borrower enters the repayment period with the lender's knowledge, the first payment due date may be set by the lender, provided it falls within a reasonable time after the first day of the month in which the repayment period begins. In this situation, the Secretary generally permits a lender to allow the borrower up to 45 days from the first day of repayment to make the first payment (unless the lender establishes the first day of repayment under § 682.209(a)(3)(ii)(E)).
1. In cases where the lender learns that the borrower has entered the repayment period after the fact, current § 682.411 treats the 30th day after the lender receives this information as the first day of delinquency. In the course of discussion with lenders, the Secretary has learned that many lenders have not been using the 30th day after receipt of notice that the repayment period has begun (“the notice”) as the first payment due date. In recognition of this apparently widespread practice, the Secretary has decided that, both retrospectively and prospectively, a lender should be allowed to establish a first payment due date within 60 days after receipt of the notice, to capitalize interest accruing up to the first payment due date, and to exercise forbearance with respect to the period during which the borrower was in the repayment period but made no payment. In effect, this means that, if the lender sends the borrower a coupon book, billing notice, or other correspondence establishing a new first payment due date, on or before the 60th day after receipt of the notice, the lender is deemed to have exercised forbearance up to the new first payment due date. The new first payment due date must fall no later than 75 days after receipt of the notice (unless the lender establishes the first day of repayment under § 682.209(a)(3)(ii)(E)). In keeping with the 5-day tolerance permitted under section I.C.2.a., for the “prospective period,” or section I.C.3.a., for the “post 1998 amendment period,” a lender that sends the above-described material on or before the 65th day after receipt of the notice will be held harmless. However, a lender that does so on the 66th day will have failed by more than 5 days to send both of the collection letters required by § 682.411(c) to be sent within the first 30 days of delinquency and will thus have committed two violations of more than five days of that rule.
2. If the lender fails to send the material establishing a new first payment due date on or before the 65th day after receipt of the notice, it may thereafter send material establishing a new first payment due date falling not more than 45 days after the materials are sent and will be deemed to have exercised forbearance up to the new first payment due date. However, all violations and gaps occurring prior to the date on which the material is sent are subject to the waiver policies described in section I for violations falling in either the retrospective or prospective periods. This is an exception to the general policy set forth in section I.B.5., that only violations occurring during the most recent 180 or 270 days (as applicable) of the delinquency period on a loan are relevant to the Secretary's examination of due diligence.
Please Note: References to the “65th day after receipt of the notice” and “66th day” in the preceding paragraphs should be amended to read “95th day” and “96th day” respectively for lenders subject to § 682.209(a)(3)(ii)(E).
III. Questions and Answers
The waiver policy outlined in this letter was developed after extensive discussion and consultation with participating lenders and guaranty agencies. In the course of these discussions, lenders and agencies raised a number of questions regarding the due diligence rules as applied to various circumstances. The Secretary's responses to these questions follow.
Note:
The answer to questions 1 and 4 are applicable only to loans subject to § 682.411 of the FFEL and PLUS program regulations published on or after November 10, 1986.
1. Q:Section 682.411 of the program regulations requires the lender to make “diligent efforts to contact the borrower by telephone” during each 30-day period of delinquency beginning after the 30th day of delinquency. What must a lender do to comply with this requirement?
A: Generally speaking, one actual telephone contact with the borrower, or two attempts to make such contact on different days and at different times, will satisfy the “diligent efforts” requirement for any of the 30-day delinquency periods described in the rule. However, the “diligent efforts” requirement is intended to be a flexible one, requiring the lender to act on information it receives in the course of attempting telephone contact regarding the borrower's actual telephone number, the best time to call to reach the borrower, etc. For instance, if the lender is told during its second telephone contact attempt that the borrower can be reached at another number or at a different time of day, the lender must then attempt to reach the borrower by telephone at that number or that time of day.
2. Q: What must a lender do when it receives conflicting information regarding the date a borrower ceased at least half-time study?
A: A lender must promptly attempt to reconcile conflicting information regarding a borrower's in-school status by making inquiries of appropriate parties, including the borrower's school. Pending reconciliation, the lender may rely on the most recent credible information it has.
3. Q: If a loan is transferred from one lender to another, is the transferee held responsible for information regarding the borrower's status that is received by the transferor but is not passed on to the transferee?
A: No. A lender is responsible only for information received by its agents and employees. However, if the transferee has reason to believe that the transferor has received additional information regarding the loan, the transferee must make a reasonable inquiry of the transferor as to the nature and substance of that information.
4. Q: What are a lender's due diligence responsibilities where a check received on a loan is dishonored by the bank on which it was drawn?
A: Upon receiving notice that a check has been dishonored, the lender must treat the payment as having never been made for purposes of determining the number of days that the borrower is delinquent at that time. The lender must then begin (or resume) attempting collection on the loan in accordance with § 682.411, commencing with the first 30-day delinquency period described in § 682.411 that begins after the 30-day delinquency period in which the notice of dishonor is received. The same result occurs when the lender successfully obtains a delinquent borrower's correct address through skip-tracing, or when a delinquent borrower leaves deferment or forbearance status.
[64 FR 58636, Oct. 29, 1999, as amended at 66 FR 34765, June 29, 2001]

Title 34 published on 2013-07-01

The following are only the Rules published in the Federal Register after the published date of Title 34.

For a complete list of all Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices view the Rulemaking tab.

  • 2013-11-01; vol. 78 # 212 - Friday, November 1, 2013
    1. 78 FR 65768 - Student Assistance General Provisions, Federal Perkins Loan Program, Federal Family Education Loan Program, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, Office of Postsecondary Education
      Final regulations.
      Effective date: These regulations are effective July 1, 2014. Implementation dates: For implementation dates, see the Implementation Date of These Regulations section of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.
      34 CFR Parts 668, 674, 682, and 685

Title 34 published on 2013-07-01

The following are ALL rules, proposed rules, and notices (chronologically) published in the Federal Register relating to 34 CFR 682 after this date.

  • 2013-11-01; vol. 78 # 212 - Friday, November 1, 2013
    1. 78 FR 65768 - Student Assistance General Provisions, Federal Perkins Loan Program, Federal Family Education Loan Program, and William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program
      GPO FDSys XML | Text
      DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION, Office of Postsecondary Education
      Final regulations.
      Effective date: These regulations are effective July 1, 2014. Implementation dates: For implementation dates, see the Implementation Date of These Regulations section of the SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section.
      34 CFR Parts 668, 674, 682, and 685