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When someone takes out a private student loan, it may end up being serviced by a third-party loan servicer. The bank or lending institution you originally borrowed from might not handle the collection of loan payments on its own.
Firstmark is one such company that may be responsible for servicing your student loan. This means they might be collecting payments and dealing with other issues related to your account.
Firstmark’s parent company is called Nelnet. Nelnet student loan servicing is a full-service student loan servicer that offers application processing, underwriting, disbursement of funds, payment processing, and default aversion services.
While Nelnet services federal student loans originated by the Department of Education, in addition to private loans, Firstmark only services private student loans.
In this review:
- What Does Firstmark Do?
- Setting Up An Account and Customer Service from Firstmark
- What Do People Say About Firstmark Student Loan Services?
What Does Firstmark Do?
Sometimes people don’t necessarily understand the difference between a student loan lender and a servicer. When you’re applying for student loans, you choose the lender you want to borrow from. You may borrow from the federal government, a private lender, or a combination of both.
You ultimately make the choice as far as what lender you want to work with when you get student loans. You don’t get to choose who services your student loan, however. Where you borrowed from might not be where you send payments when it’s time to repay your student loans.
Firstmark is one example of a loan servicer that might actually be receiving those repayment checks. Firstmark doesn’t originate loans but oversees the repayment process. A servicer is somewhat of an intermediary between the loan originator and the borrower.
Firstmark provides loan servicing to many private lending institutions, and its largest client is Citizens Bank.
One of the primary reasons a lending institution might work with a third-party servicer like Firstmark is so it doesn’t have to handle the administrative costs and burdens of collecting payments.
Setting Up An Account and Customer Service from Firstmark
If you’re not necessarily sure who your loan servicer is, you can visit the National Student Loan Data System for students to find that information. If you do find out Firstmark is your student loan servicer, you can visit their website to set up an account.
When you go to Firstmark’s website, you can register as a borrower and provide your personal information. Once you do that, you’ll create your username and password. In addition to making electronic payments, you can make payments via mail. You can also create an auto-debit plan so your monthly student loan payment is automatically deducted from your bank account.
If you’re in danger of not being able to make your payments, you should contact Firstmark as soon as possible. The company can provide you with information as to what options are available to you. If you have a cosigner on your private student loan being serviced by Firstmark, that person may end up contacting them to learn more about the lender’s repayment options.
Firstmark does allow cosigners on loans to set up their own accounts and have access to any information related to the loan they cosigned.
What Do People Say About Firstmark Student Loan Services?
Firstmark doesn’t necessarily receive great reviews from consumers, but it’s fairly easy to see why. Firstmark is in the business of collecting loan payments, so naturally many people might not enjoy working with them.
For example, Facebook reviews show Firstmark has one out of five stars from people reviewing the loan servicing company. Specific complaints cited on Facebook include people saying their monthly payment has increased since their loan was transferred to Firstmark for servicing.
They also say it’s difficult to get in touch with customer service representatives at Firstmark. Specifically, one reviewer said their balance was changed for each month of their repayment schedule without them being told why.
Other reviews of Firstmark say the servicer pretends to have flexible options, but create so many hurdles to taking advantage of those options that it’s essentially without value.
Other Firstmark reviewers cited complaints about the company telling them they are past due, even though their account history has no evidence of late payments. Some people have gone as far as saying working with Firstmark Services has been a “nightmare” for them.
Overall, the reviews for Firstmark aren’t great, but they are also responsible for servicing millions of student loans throughout the country. If you have a private student loan being serviced by Firstmark, make sure to keep records of your payments and any other contact with the company in case a problem ever pops up.
Author: Ashley Sutphin