National Collegiate Trust (NCT) is one of the nation’s largest holders of private student loan debt, but it is not a company. As the name implies, NCT is a set of trusts used to purchase existing student loans held by originating lenders. Owned by Turnstile Capital Management, NCT holds billions of dollars in student loans.
So what does this mean for you as a private student loan borrower? If NCT purchased your loan it may be tough to contact someone. To start, NCT doesn’t have a website, and finding a contact phone number can be challenging. Here’s what you need to know about paying back a loan held by NCT, and what to do if you fall behind on your payments.
How do I contact NCT?
If your original lender sold your loan to NCT, you should have received a notice of this in the mail. Your credit report will also reflect this change. However, that doesn’t mean that NCT is who you will deal with if you have issues or questions. Your loan could be being “serviced” by another company.
Many NCT loans are serviced by American Education Services (AES). Fortunately, AES does have a website and can be contacted via phone, mail, email or fax.
So what does a servicer do? In a nutshell, they manage your account, sending notices and receiving payments, unless, of course, your payments are in arrears and it goes to a collection agency or an attorney.
Does NCT really own my loan?
Private student loan lenders like banks sell loans to NCT. However, NCT can sometimes lack the necessary supporting documentation to prove its ownership of a loan when taking borrowers to court over delinquent accounts. In a settlement over this issue with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in September 2017, NCT agreed to pay $19 million in fines and borrower refunds.
Michael Bovee, who co-founded Resolve and has been helping people manage their debt for more than 15 years, cautions that this doesn’t mean you should stop paying on your loan if you are current on payments. If you withhold payment with the hope that NCT sues you and then can’t prove ownership of your loan, your nonpayment could hurt your credit.
What if I fall behind on payments?
If your financial challenges are temporary, you may want to contact the loan servicer to request a deferment or forbearance. Either of these will provide a temporary break from making payments. With a deferment you may not be responsible for the interest that accrues during the break. With forbearance, you will be. This interest can likely be paid as it accrues or added to the balance.
If you’re dealing with financial challenges that are going to be long-term, but you can pull together some funds, or borrow from a friend or family member, one option available to you is to negotiate a settlement.
“NCT is an aggressive private lender, but there is often the possibility of settling with them or their collection agencies through extensive negotiations,” said Bovee. “I’ve done quite a few settlements with NCT and have found them to be very difficult but ultimately willing to settle for between 40 and 60 percent of the balance in the right circumstances. We’ve been able to negotiate structured settlement terms with NCT of two years or longer, which makes settlement a much more affordable option than paying a lump sum.”
Negotiating a settlement keeps you out of court and can restore your credit more quickly than waiting out a potential lawsuit.
Outside of these approaches, your options are limited. Unfortunately, while federally backed student loans have a breadth of repayment programs, private student loans do not. You can learn more in our article, “Private student loan repayment options”.
How Resolve can help
The good news is, you don’t need to assess your options alone. You can access the Resolve financial management platform and receive guidance from our experts for free. Get started here.