CFPB names student loan servicing exec as ombudsman

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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has named Robert G. Cameron, a former official at one of the nation's largest student loan servicers, to be the bureau’s private education loan ombudsman.

The position, formerly called the student loan ombudsman, has been vacant for nearly a year.

Cameron, a former colonel and advocate for the National Guard, had been deputy chief counsel and vice president of enterprise compliance at the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency.

The PHEAA, headquartered in Harrisburg, is a nonprofit organization that administers state financial aid programs. It also operates one of the largest student loan servicing operations in the country, handling $425 billion in student loan debt. The agency services private student loans through its American Education Services unit and federal student loans through FedLoan Servicing.

The CFPB said Cameron was responsible for litigation, compliance and risk mitigation efforts at the agency.

He succeeds Seth Frotman, who is now the executive director of the Student Borrower Protection Center. Frotman made waves last year in a resignation letter to former acting CFPB Director Mick Mulvaney that said the CFPB had “abandoned the very consumers it is tasked by Congress with protecting.”

The CFPB said in a press release that the ombudsman is responsible for resolving complaints “from private student loan borrowers.”

The CFPB has been in a dispute with the Education Department, which instructed student loan servicing contractors in December 2017 not to give any data or documents to other government agencies seeking information to support investigations or oversight of student loan servicers.

Roughly 45 million borrowers owe more than $1.56 trillion in both private and federal student loan debt.

The bureau currently oversees student loan servicing at the largest banks and at any nonbank student loan servicer that handles more than 1 million borrower accounts, regardless of whether they service federal or private loans.

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