My student loans (except my $70/month federal one) are now out of the way for 6 months. I had two I needed to take care of today, loans at Sallie Mae, and at Citibank (www.studentloan.com).
Sallie Mae Forbearance Process
I called the 1-888-272-5543 number listed on the website, and also the number given when you click the “postpone payments” link on your account page. After a 4 minute travel through touchtone heaven I arrived speaking to “Katrina” (obviously not her real name…”Katrina” had an Indian accent, but not too bad). She verified some info, asked me why I was applying for forbearance, then gave me a direct number: 800-538-2632 and transfered my to that #. After a 20 minute wait, I talked with male customer service rep who was very helpful, asked the same questions, but actually had the authority to approve the forbearance. This CSR was definetly in the US somewhere. The problem?
A $150 FEE to apply for forbearance. Apparently the fee is $50/per loan. Well, I have three loans. After explain the riduculousness of a forbearance fee, I was told there is no way to get out of it. Crap. I though for a minute, and had to go forward with it, using my debit card to pay $150 of precious cash to this Sallie of the Mae’s. At least it is done. Don’t waste your time calling the general # if you are applying for forbearance, call the 800-538-2632 number. $150 my butt. And that is only for 6 months. My first payment is now due in July. I had to do this though, it pushed back a $500+ payment I was already late on. So, although it hurt 150 times more than I was expected, it was needed, and now done.
Citibank Student Loan Forbearance
I was expecting this process to be much more difficult than the Sallie Mae process. But after pressing “0″ to get to an service rep, I got a nice southern-accent speaking lady after only about 2 minutes. I had already sent in a form for this, and that is all they can do at Citibank. So, when they receive my form that I mailed today, they will approve the forbearance (so I am told) for 6 months, which can then be reapplied for in 6 months for a 12 month max. Oh yeah, no FEES. I was totally expecting a fee here after the Sallie Mae fiasco (maybe that is too strong a word).
So, Student loans are out of the way at the moment. Now onto the credit cards!