Ron Drescher Talks About Student Loans

Katherine: Hello everyone. Thank you so much for joining us on This Needs to be Said. We have an attorney with us today, Mr. Ronald Drescher, and he’s going to talk with us about one of the biggest topics even right now during this election season, is money for school or how to pay money back from school. Hopefully they’re really implement something that will make it debt free for people to go to school. In the meantime, there are many people who have loans, outstanding loans and they worry about how to pay those. Ron, I want to welcome you to This Needs to be Said so we can talk about it. How are you today?
Ron: I’m doing great. Thank you so much for having me.
Katherine: I have friends that have loans. I have loans. If anybody going to college has. In high school they probably have a bill that they’re trying to figure out how not to have it affect their lives. They’re either trying to come up with the money or they don’t have the money and they’re sweating over it. This is something that you in your practice are addressing. I guess I want to know a little bit about you and what made you decide to add this to your practice?
Ron: I’ve been a bankruptcy lawyer for thirty years. I’ve seen every kind of bankruptcy, business bankruptcy, individual bankruptcies, men, women, families, creditors who have people who owe them money. The student loan piece is almost always there these days. People come in and they say, “Yes, I have an eviction or I have a car loan or I have credit card debt or I have medical bills and hospital bills or I’ve got a car repo and I’ve got student loans.” I’ve got $25,000 in student loans or $130,000 in student loans. What most bankruptcy lawyers do is they’ll address the repos and the credit cards and the hospital bills and those things that they can address, that are going to go away in bankruptcy.

Then they say … But the student loans aren’t dis-chargeable in bankruptcy and everybody seems to know that. That the student loans are going to stick to you like glue and everybody puts the student loan piece to the side. They say, “Okay, we’ll deal with the student loan piece separately. Let’s take care of the debts that we can take care of.” I got to ignore the student loans, and that’s not right because all these clients have student loan problems. I want to offer a complete solutions so I’ve started doing student loan resolution.

Katherine: Okay. I don’t know why no one thought of it before now but I’m glad you did and here we are. If it is something that seems to stick to us like glue as you said, how do you deal with it? What’s the first thing? I come to you and I’m considering a bankruptcy and you see these student loans, what are you saying to me? How are you helping me?
Ron: The first thing we’re going to do is we’re going to have to figure out exactly what you have. So many people don’t even know. “Well, I’ve got some federal loans. I’ve got some private loans,” and they don’t even really know what they have. The first thing we do is figure out what do you have. There’s an online database that has everybody’s student loans, the history, the servicer, the kind of student loan, when you took it out, if you’re in grace period, if you’re in forbearance, if you’re in default, all of those things. We work together to first of all figure out what do you have.

By the way, people are going to see on Facebook ads that say, “We’ll help you resolve your student loans.” You know what? Maybe they can but if they ask you for your log in and your password for this database, you know that they’re not on the up and up because it’s illegal for anybody to have that information. That’s why what I do is I have my clients go to the website. I give them the site location. They sign up, they register, they get a log in, they get a password and then they print out screen shots of their active loans and they e-mail those to me. With a few other, the information I need to know your family size. I need to know what your income was last year and pretty much that’s the information I need to get started with the analysis.

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Katherine: For some people they probably have dodged making those payments so that they would have enough money to cover their expenses, or just whatever. They just haven’t paid the loan in a while. What about that person? Can you help that person? I’m thinking that we just would find out somebody who was … They were current but they’re just beginning to drown a little bit but this person I’m asking about, they just haven’t paid.
Ron: Yes, we can help them. There are different ways to get out of default. We’ve got to get you out of default before we can really give you access to some pretty good programs out there that are based upon your income, not necessarily based upon the loan amounts.
Katherine: Okay. I have heard this, Ron, that once you have your student loan default, it’s like it never comes off. There’s no way to get that off of your credit. What I’ve heard of bankruptcy is this is a great way to re-set your credit. How does those work together?
Ron: The student loans are not dis-chargeable in the bankruptcy so the student loan companies are going to continue to report your performance and your payment history to the credit bureau. That’s just going to happen. Depending upon … I don’t like the word never. The word never is not a meaningful word when it comes to your credit reports because the greatest strength is on the recent behavior. Let’s say you were in default on your student loans and we get you out of default and we get you back on the straight and narrow. You have a payment plan that works for you.

If you’ve got a car loan or if you’ve got home loan or you get a secured credit card so that you’re making payments, you’ll be able to rehabilitate your credit and you’ll be able to have credit. Just because you default on a student loan when you don’t know better and you’re going through some hard times, doesn’t mean that when you get your act together and you figure out what it is that you need to do, it doesn’t mean that your credit profile is ruined forever. Quite the contrary. If you’re doing the right things, then you can restore your credit.

Katherine: For people who still say I hear you but this is probably going to cost me a lot of money so, why don’t I just keep it more on my loans. What’s the worst that can happen to someone who takes that route?
Ron: The worst thing that can happen is they’ll garnish your wages. This comes as a real shock to the system. People who know anything at all about garnishments and judgments, they know that they’ve got to be personally served with a lawsuit. They’ve got a trial date and then they’ve got to find out where you’re working. Six months later they can start to garnish your wages. Doesn’t work that way with federal student loans.

You go into default on a federal student loan, they can start garnishing your wages right away, a thirty-day notice. No lawsuit required, no service of papers required. They can offset your federal tax returns. They can offset Social Security to settle student loans.

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Katherine: Wow!
Ron: Yeah, they’re a super powerful creditor and that’s why you really need to play ball with them. That’s the bad news. The good news is there are all sorts of programs that make it affordable.
Katherine: There are a lot of people out there that give good advice. You did allude to that, that they give some advice. Why can’t they be trusted?
Ron: They can’t be trusted because you don’t know what their bona fides are. You don’t know where they come from, what they’re doing. Are they just a big mill that’s really no better than the servicers? You just don’t know. Some of them probably do a fairly good job but it’s a little bit like the credit counseling services. I would say for every ten credit counseling services, two of them are legit but which two? How do you know?
Katherine: Right, right. Wow! You have the legal knowledge that people are going to need to get this in the sense that you’ve seen so much and your reputation as an attorney is what’s really on the line I would imagine. These people can pop up with these services but you have your practice so it would not benefit you to bring that information. I have been leery of those little grass signs you see stuck on the side of the road. Call and get this advice. I’m just wondering who really does call those and do they work? It is something to think about.
Ron: I don’t know about that but I’m also very much in tune with social media and what we call social proof. There’s a website called AVVO is a directory for lawyers so that consumers can go and see lawyers and they have more lawyer reviews than any other online directory. I have as of today, eighty-nine five star reviews on which is more five star reviews than any other bankruptcy lawyer in any of the states I practice in. I work hard to get client reviews so that other clients can have some degree of trust when they pick up the phone and call me and reach out to me, that they’re going to get a fair shake.
Katherine: Absolutely. I didn’t know about that site. That’s good, that’s good that there’s a site. We look at reviews when we shop for other things anyway so that’s good.
Ron: Sure.
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Katherine: I want to go see your eighty-nine reviews. That is good because giving a customer review in any industry is power. Even if you did an excellent job, they have to take time out of their schedule. You helped them. The pain is gone and now you want me to come back again and post a review. You must be doing something right because people do value their time to do stuff that they want to do so that’s great. I want you, Ron, and I said your name wrong in the beginning and I want to apologize. It’s Drescher not Dressler so we know who we’re talking to.
Ron: That is correct.
Katherine: We’re talking to attorney Ron Drescher and he’s going to let you know how to get in touch with him outside of This Needs to be Said. We talked about student loans today but he’s going to be back and we’re going to talk about many other topics that may be of interest to you. Of course you can always submit your questions for us to have them addressed as well. Ron, let them know how to get in touch with you outside of This Needs to be Said.
Ron: The best way is right to my website . You can fill out a web form. Here’s another thing. I don’t know if anybody’s ever gone to a website and filled out a web form and never heard from them. We respond if we can within minutes and usually early the next business day. We really care. We want to hear it. You can do a live chat. A live chat, we’ll get back to you within an hour or the next business day to make sure that we reach out to you and give you the information you need.
Katherine: Absolutely. Ron, thank you so much for talking with us about student loans and taking the scary out of it for us. Until next time, have a wonderful day.
Ron: Thank you very much. I really had a great time.
Katherine: I’m glad. Next time. Bye.
Ron: Bye-bye.
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