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Student loan borrowers seek to force Navient into insolvency

Student loan borrowers seek to force Navient into insolvency

12.02.2021 | M. Tyler Gillett | U. Pittsburgh School of Law, US FEBRUARY 11, 2021 08:10:09 AM | 624

Three student loan borrowers Monday filed a petition Monday to try to force the servicing arm of loan giant Navient into bankruptcy.

The three plaintiffs all claim that their own student loan debts were discharged through their own bankruptcies, but they accuse Navient of attempting for the last decade to get them to repay the already-discharged debt. They claim that Navient owes them $45,683.64 that was wrongfully collected from them after discharge, and claim that there is likely more than $1 billion Navient owes to other debtors they say the company has defrauded over the last twenty years.

They filed their petition based on the allegation that Navient is already insolvent. According to their calculations, Navient has $87.4 billion in assets and $85 billion in liabilities. They further note that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) claims Navient has misappropriated $4 billion in government funds, and has sought a summary judgment on the matter. Their liabilities and the damages in the CFPB suit leaves Navient with a net worth of -$1.6 billion.

The borrowers initiated their suit now because they fear that at some point, whether through a run on Navient’s stock or the Biden Administration cancelling student loan debt, Navient’s precarious financial position will become evident, and the borrowers’ “pleas for relief will be lost in the noise.”

Navient called the suit “frivolous” and said it will seek its dismissal. The plaintiffs’ lawyer, Austin Smith, seemed to predict this in his complaint:

    Navient may well dismiss this as the desperate act of a small-time plaintiff’s lawyer. In that they would not be entirely wrong; but it is desperation born of years of battling an adversary who refuses to honor outcomes; refuses to obey the law, and refuses to acknowledge the psychological toll its actions are having on people.

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