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Citibank Student Loans: What You Need to Know

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A long time ago — before the introduction of the Direct Loan Program — I consolidated my federal loans with Citibank. And what a ride it’s been for those Citibank student loans: Since that time, my loans have gone from one servicer to another, to yet another.

In 2010, Citibank sold off its student loan unit, and has since stopped servicing the last of the private loans it had on the books. If you have Citibank student loans, you might not have an idea of who services them now or what to do next. Here’s what you need to know.

What happened to Citibank student loans?

My student loans were part of the 2010 deal that sent $28 billion from Citi’s federal student loan portfolio to Sallie Mae. At that same time, Discover also took over more than $4 billion in Citibank private student loans. As part of the dissolution of the student loan unit at Citibank, the company itself also bought back $8.7 billion in student loans, both federal and private. The Department of Education similarly got in on the act, purchasing $4.7 billion of the federal loans.

What happens to loans after they are sold depends on what your new servicer does with them. My consolidated federal obligation ended up with Navient after it was spun off of Sallie Mae in 2014. It didn’t change any of the terms of the loan — in fact, the transition was seamless, and I didn’t miss a payment or have to resubmit any of my information.

Private student loans sold to Discover could still be there — or passed off to yet another servicer.

Loans that were bought by the Department of Education were eventually sent out to servicers, since the government originates loans through the Direct Loan program but doesn’t service them.

Finally, Citibank serviced the loans it bought back until they were eventually sold off to other companies. The last batch of private Citibank student loans ended up with FirstmarkServices.

So if you’ve been racking your brain, looking for your Citibank student loan login, phone number or address, you should instead start tracking your new lender or loan servicer.

How can you find the new servicer of your Citibank student loans?

In most cases, your new Citibank student loans servicer will contact you with information about where to send payments and how to manage your student loan account online. If this isn’t the case, you need to do a little hunting on your own.

Tracking your federal student loans is fairly straightforward. The National Student Loan Data System, which previously served as a repository of all of your loan information, has been replaced by the Federal Student Aid (FSA) website.

You can use your FSA ID to log in and view information about how to contact your servicers and how much you owe them. If you filed a FAFSA after May 2015, you already have your ID. If you don’t have an ID, you can create one at the FSA website.

Once you have your FSA ID, go to the FSA website and click toward your “Aim Summary.”

Once you do that, you can see information about the servicer, lender and guaranty agency, though don’t forget that payments should be made to the servicer. You can also contact the servicer about making any changes to your repayment plan or other issues.

Finding your private student loan servicer

Things get a little trickier when you need the point of contact for private student loans, as those aren’t listed on the FSA website. Instead, if payments are coming out of your bank account, you can check your statement for the name of the agency in charge of managing your loans. Once you know the agency, then you can visit the website for contact information and set up your payments.

If that doesn’t work, or if you’re having trouble figuring out where to send payments in the first place, check your credit report. You’re entitled to a free report from each of the three major bureaus every year by going to AnnualCreditReport.com.

Your credit report should contain a list of all of your debts and who’s servicing them. Get the phone number from the credit report and call to find out where to send payment.

Citibank student loan customers see refund of $3.75 million

Late in 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced an enforcement action against Citibank with regard to its handling of student loans. If your Citibank student loans were part of the action, you might have been eligible for a share of $3.75 million that was refunded as a result of practices that prevented some consumers from taking advantage of benefits they were entitled to.

Citibank should have contacted you if you were eligible for the refund. Contact the CFPB if you believe you haven’t been made whole.

Stay on top of your student loan repayment

Whether you had Citibank student loans, or even if your loans were with another entity, it’s important to track down your servicer and stay on top of the situation.

When you find out you have a new servicer, double-check your bank account. Are payments still being made? While some transitions are seamless, others fail. If you notice a lapse, contact your new servicer to set up a new plan immediately.

Regardless of whether or not the transition went off without a hitch, it’s a good idea to visit the website of your new servicer and set up an online account. Being able to manage your student loans over the internet can make a huge difference in making sure everything’s happening as it should.

Finally, if you want to reduce the hassle, learn how to pay off your student loans faster.

For current students: Alternatives to Citibank student loans

If you’re still in school, keep in mind that there are alternatives to Citibank student loans. Whether you prefer borrowing from a big institution like Citibank or are fine with a community credit union or online lender, there are plenty of options.

Ask yourself what you were seeking in Citibank student loans and see which other lenders deliver those perks. You might start your search with our top-rated private student loans.

 

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