GSM&R is one of the smaller federal student loan servicers, but it is not spotless. Websites like the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and Better Business Bureau (BBB) have collected many complaints about GSM&R.It’s not uncommon for student loan borrowers to complain about interactions they have with their servicers. Frequent topics of contention concern a lack of information about options, problems enrolling in income-driven repayment plans, and customer service issues. But we found a few specific GSM&R borrower complaints worth noting.
Borrowers often apply for deferment when they need a break from paying their student loans. The typical complaint about deferment is that servicers suggest deferment instead of longer-term solutions when borrowers cannot make their payments. GSM&R borrowers, on the other hand, complained about how long it took them to process a deferment application. Delays can lead to missed payments and a hit to a borrower’s credit score.Some borrowers who were starting school applied for in-school deferment but found out that their deferment wasn’t going to last as long as they needed. GSM&R blamed changing information about how long the student would be enrolled, though the borrower had submitted the correct information from the beginning.One couple’s account was transferred to GSM&R while their son was still in school. GSM&R removed the loans from in-school deferment before the student graduated and did not notify his parents until the loans were delinquent. When they called GSM&R, they were told that they can enroll in deferment at any time through their online account.However, they found no option for in-school deferment. Instead, the website claimed they needed to have an economic hardship to defer. They called in to customer service for an explanation. But the representative was not helpful, repeatedly stating “that’s the way it is” instead of trying to help them. They were forced to set up payments immediately to try to save their credit.
In one case, this error prevented a borrower from purchasing property because his credit score dropped almost 100 points. GSM&R worked with TransUnion to fix the credit report, but the borrower requested to be compensated for his loss of purchasing power and time resulting from their mistake. It’s unclear if GSM&R granted his request.Falsely reporting bankruptcy on someone’s account is bad enough when it’s just one person. But the way the company handles it says a lot. GSM&R’s response didn’t inspire confidence. The delay in fixing the error and refusal to proactively communicate with those affected shows irresponsibility. Therefore, it’s not much of a surprise to see them responding with the same impersonal copy-and-pasted message to the multitude of BBB complaints.
Of course, there are always other complaints that don’t fit into a category. While these might not appear as trends, they are worth mentioning, if only because the borrower experienced such a breakdown in communication that they resorted to a public website like CFPB and BBB to get these issues resolved.Most servicers have at least one experience with customers who cry fraud. GSM&R is not immune from that. In this borrower’s case, they sent letters disputing the loans — those letters went unanswered. When the borrower did talk to GSM&R, he said they took no action.Finally, in response to a BBB complaint, GSM&R outlined what the Department of Education needed to discharge the borrower’s loans and sent the department the information they had, even though they had not received all necessary information. The department approved the claim, notified the credit agencies, and sent the final approval notification to the borrower, though he then complained never received it.There are a handful of student loan assistance programs for those who served in the military, and things tend to go wrong. For this borrower, the process went relatively smoothly until GSM&R reported delinquency to the credit agencies for a loan the borrower was told had been fully paid off.A combination of a lost payment and miscommunication about who was responsible for paying the interest on the loans resulted in a balance after the Army had made all their required payments on behalf of the borrower. The borrower was willing to make more payments, but GSM&R stood by their decision to report the account to the credit bureau. It’s unclear what the final resolution was.
You can reach out to Cornerstone customer service through the following:Phone number: (888) 556-0022Hours of operation: 8-6. Mon-Fri (EST)General mailing address:Granite State Management & ResourcesP.O. Box 3420Concord, NH 03302-3420*Do not mail payments to this address.Granite State Management & ResourcesP.O. Box 2097Concord, NH 03302-2097Address for sending payments:Department of EducationP.O. Box 4414Portland, OR 97208-4414Granite State Management & ResourcesP.O. Box 9560Manchester, NH 03108-9560Email/online contact form: Online contact available through Facebook or Twitter only.Check out this article about Problems With Granite State (GSM&R) Student Loan Servicing
If you don’t want to be at GSM&R any longer, you don’t have a lot of options. However, you can refinance your student loans if it makes sense for you.When you refinance your student loans, you take out a new private student loan to replace your Granite State student loans. These loans don’t have any of the Federal repayment plan or forgiveness options, but they may have a lower interest rate.If you want to refinance, check out . They are like the Kayak of student loans. You can easily compare your refinance options in minutes. It takes about 2 minutes to see if it’s worth it, and you can get up to a $1,000 bonus when you do. Check out Credible here.These stories can be a bit unnerving, but they also may ring true for people who have GSM&R as a loan servicer. If you find Granite State unhelpful, you may want to do your research and find other organizations who can help you figure out your loan situation.If you’re not quite sure where to start or what to do, consider hiring a CFA to help you with your student loans. We recommend The Student Loan Planner to help you put together a solid financial plan for your student loan debt. Check out here.