Local Sallie Mae Employees Rally to Save Jobs

By: Matt de Nesnera Email
By: Matt de Nesnera Email

Employees at Sallie Mae are worried that the Obama administration's plan to overhaul the student loan business will lead to massive job losses across the country. The center in Lynn Haven employs 700 people, and they rallied Thursday to save their jobs.

The local Sallie Mae facility accounts for almost a third of the $100 billion federal student loan market. The proposed legislation would make the federal government the sole issuer of those loans. Proponents say it would save the government tens of billions of dollars; but, others claim the market must remain competitive.

Conwey Casillas, Sallie Mae's Public Affairs vice president, says, "A competitive student loan environment where schools, universities and colleges choose the service providers which provide the best service, that impacts students' lives."

Sallie Mae officials say the government's plan could be devastating to their corporate structure. Renee Mang, senior vice president at Sallie Mae, says, "It would require Sallie Mae to re-evaluate our geographic outlay."

And that, in turn, would be a blow to the local economy. Darren Parker, who has worked at Sallie Mae for over fifteen years, says, "No doubt, they account for millions of dollars in economic impact, and all of that would be nearly impossible to replace."

Parker, who is a Bay County native, says losing his job could force him to leave the area. State legislators worry that could hamper economic recovery in Florida. Rep. Marti Coley (R-Dist. 7) says, "If we pass legislation that reduces the number of jobs, we're not only hurting the number of students that can get into school, but we're hurting our economy."

Sallie Mae officials launched a petition drive Thursday to tell Congress to save Florida jobs and keep the market competitive. Under the Obama plan, the federal government would be the sole issuer of student loans, but the private sector would still provide service. Sallie Mae is advocating an alternate proposal offered by the student loan community that keeps the market competitive, yet still achieves President Obama's goals of driving higher education costs down.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by ken Location: ma on Jan 4, 2010 at 05:34 PM
    I am just sick of trying to get answers to my questions from some person reading from a script in India that cannot answer it. You wait an hour for them to answer your call and they do not even understand what you are trying to ask. Does anyone know of a number that I can call and get a straight answer? I am sick of calling them and never getting my questions answered.
  • by Jen Location: NH on Sep 23, 2009 at 03:10 PM
    I've been paying on a student loan for our son since 1996..we borrowed a total of 46,000 and right now it is at $51,000 left! We had to defer payments for 3 months due to unemployment. I'll be taking it to my grave for sure!
  • by Uninformed Nicole Location: FL on Sep 4, 2009 at 11:29 PM
    First of all a forbearance fee is $25, wow what a large amount to pay to save your credit. Okay here is another little fact you misrepresented, the forbearance fee isn't paid up front it is added to the loan. Why are you borrowing money you can't pay back any way? If your unemployed you can apply for an unemployment deferment, or an economic hardship deferment and both of those are free and there is no fee. As for the several phone calls a day, when you originate about 20 million loans you can expect to get several phone calls. If you have questions or concerns why wouldn't you call? If the calls did come in every day there wouldn't be a need for phone agents now would there. Whether you like Salliemae or not, why would you want to see 700 people in bay county our of work? Salliemae's business practices are within SEC guidelines, if not they wouldn't be in business. Go to www.protectfloridajobs.com and sign the petition please help save jobs.
  • by Nicole Location: MA on Sep 4, 2009 at 09:42 AM
    I feel for Sallie Mae employees, but with the default rate the way it is, and only getting worse, it seems as though the company would probably experience layoffs in the near future anyway. As for the way they do business, I think it's absolutely disgusting. They are the only loan company I've dealt with who charges a fee for forbearance. How can that even be legal? If I can't make the payment, how am I supposed to pay the equally astronomical forbearance fee? Ridiculous. Not to mention the several phone calls a day, beginning at 8 AM and ending at 9 PM, even on Sunday. I would be happy to see Sallie Mae put right out of business.
  • by Martha Location: Washington on Sep 1, 2009 at 09:24 PM
    I also have to issue with paying Sallie Mae but the interest rate I have will never allow me to do so. I honestly think they are corrupt for the lending practices and should be investigated.. I also under their employees, loosing a job would be horrible but imagine waking up each day not knowing what to do with this debt that is "GOOD"...I don't make excuses for all but I know for a fact they reached out to minorities who knew nothing about interest nor did their family members...so who is too blame when neither the government teaches us how to manage debt and neither do the schools or lenders? The only thing we are taught is to go to college and we will make good money but where is that?
  • by Paul Location: FL on Sep 1, 2009 at 07:08 AM
    My issue is not with paying back loans Sallie Mae made. I signed the line knowing full well I would have to pay back, my issue is with their poor customer service. When I call, I get some guy named "Jason" who speaks very broken English at best and only tells you to go to the website. That is the reason I switched companies. Give me someone with good English skills that I can understand and isn't rude and maybe I would have stayed with them.
  • by Voice of Reason Location: Marianna, FL on Aug 31, 2009 at 09:32 PM
    Who signs a contract with out reading it? If you don't have enough sense to read before you sign then you have no business in college. I know for a fact every private credit loan has the repayment terms spelled out. Some even have a break down in advance of how much your payments will be before you sign. So why sign something your not going to be able to pay back? Then to make it worse you try to deflect the blame off on to the company that gave you the opportunity to get an education and build your credit at the same time. All you have to do is pay back the loan on time. If you borrow to buy a house and don't pay they foreclose and take the house, if you borrow to buy a car and don't pay they repo the car, but if you borrow to get an education that is something that can't be taken from you regardless if you pay or not. What happen to freedom of choice? If this bill passes you can kiss that freedom goodbye. This is suppose to be a free enterprise, a democracy, well lets keep it alive!
  • by FallingSpider Location: Oregon on Aug 31, 2009 at 04:26 PM
    You know it's sad when the people who wanted to improve their lives, made sacrifices to acheive dreams, and worked as hard as they could wake up one morning to realize that financially speaking their families would be better off with out them. We took out loans thinking that by making this sacrifice now, later we would be much better off. The reality is so so diferent. Yet people you make bad decisions with credit cards, car or house loans or almost any other type of debt are able to declare bankruptcy and get help. Not so for those with student loans, not even if our situations change, very soon I will have no money to live off of if I choose to keep my debt uptodate. This is not why I signed up to go to college, so that I could find myself on the street and starving.
  • by Barb on Aug 31, 2009 at 08:19 AM
    Regardless of how anyone feels about Sallie Mae, the government sets the "INTEREST" rate on Federal Loans. NOTHING is free unless you live on welfare and food stamps but that is a social problem not Sallie Mae's. Take that up with the President. There are thousands of stories about people who have gone to College and have been able to pay their loans back. Would you have been able to go to college without a student loan? If you borrow, shouldn't you have to pay it back? People make choices to borrow and get in over their heads, whether it is credit cards, mortgages, or student loans, why is that someone else’s fault? You have to take RESPONSIBILITY for your decisions. Sallie Mae does not force people to borrow.
  • by Louis Location: Lynn Haven, Fl on Aug 30, 2009 at 09:13 PM
    Knology's Research Channel which provides classes given by Noble prize winners and medical and science programs given by Doctors and PhD's, ran a program from Washington University warning against private lenders like Sallie Mae and presented case after cases of victims ultimately paying three to six times the amounts of their loans. Yes, I'm troubled by the prospect of Bay county losing Sallie Mae's business, but that is outweighed by my concern for victims of Sallie Mae. I have warned friends and relatives to borrow the maximum $10,000 loaned each year from the federal government but stay the hell away from private loans.
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