Collections teams and the great federal student loan "unpause"

With the federal student loan forbearance finally coming to an end, borrowers who haven't made federal student loan payments since 2020 (or, in the case of newer graduates, ever) are going to have some budgeting challenges ahead of them.

And that means things are going to get tricky for collections teams too.

Borrowers are going to need help

Specifically, they're going to need help with:

  1. Incorporating a new payment (or one that feels like new) into their budget
  2. Managing priorities with record-high interest rates
  3. Squeezing out extra cash during a period of inflation
  4. Adjusting payments due for other obligations

Collections teams are going to need help

But things aren't exactly easy for collections teams right now, either.

Hiring and retention have been tricky for years, and things aren't going to get easier.

The influx of borrowers needing help is going to squeeze already lean teams, and that workload is going to put pressure on agents to be empathetic and devote addition time to helping borrowers right when they're going to be short on both.

We may be in this for the long haul

Here's another issue: we don't know how long this is going to last. 

It could be that borrowers are going to struggle immediately, or not for months.

It could be that there will be no immediate effect on the economy, or there could be a major shift as consumers shift their behavior to re-accommodate these payments.

But according to TransUnion, a number of these borrowers are already delinquent on other loans. So adding another bill to that house of cards is going to make things tricky.

Looking for new answers

Here's the good news. If this had happened five years ago, we would have been in serious trouble.

But we're in the age of AI, which means we can help resolve these issues for collections teams by rethinking the human-computer balance and relying on new tools to deliver results, like real-time agent assistance, automated call notes, and streamlined QA workflows.

And major bonus: since you're already collecting data through customer interactions, AI can analyze that information to deliver new insights.

Find the answers you're looking for

Download the e-book: How generative AI can help collections teams through the October shock.