Danger - FRAUD and Financial mismanagement at EdCo Credit Union, a BAUERFINANCIAL (BAUER FINANCIAL) five star credit union!
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FRAUD and Financial mismanagement of student loans at a BAUERFINANCIAL (BAUER FINANCIAL) five star credit union - EdCo Community Credit Union of Des Moines Iowa costs Iowa students (and the children if Iowa teachers) thousands!
Note: I had previously decided to take this site down, but after the horrible actions of EdCo and their lawyers after the trial I felt I had no choice but to re-post this site in order to warn the public about these people.
I just LOVE hearing their new radio campaign, "EdCo has JUST RECEIVED the Bauer Financial 4 star credit rating!!!" I suppose you can put positive spin on anything if you are twisted enough. The only reason I can think of for them "just receiving" the 4 star rating is if they were DEMOTED FROM THE 5 STAR RATING, I know they had 5 stars when I was dealing with them, but hey, who really knows where that other star went. Maybe they just didn't glue it on well enogh. Maybe they just got tired of counting that high, they aren't real good with numbers after all. Maybe they just accidentally misplaced it like they did with 60% of their student loan volume.
Brief overview of the situation
BUT WAIT, it get's EVEN BETTER! Not only have they completly and ruthlessly screwed me and my credit with no hint of any sort of cooperation on their part, wait till you hear what they've done to my sister! EdCo continuously put the direct payments her guard unit would make toward her student loans into her savings account instead! My sister repeatly told them to stop doing this and kept transfering the money from savings to make the payments. Finally EdCo declared my sister to be in DEFAULT on her student loans because no payments had been received (guess where the payments EdCo did in fact received were put? You guessed it.) and now that EdCo has declared her to be in "default" on her student loans, the guard will no longer make payments on them! Talk about being royally screwed by EdCo Credit Union!!!
- Five years ago my mom collected back college payments owed by my dad and requested a full payoff amount of our student loans from EdCo credit union. She paid the amount EdCo claimed we owed and my two sisters and I all stopped making payments.
- EdCo hid the fact that they actually left several of the loans on the books, either because the original payoff was embezeled or because they did not account for a large percentage of the loans at the time payoff was requested. In any case they hid the status of these loans for five years by never sending any sort of notice that there were loans on the books that were in default.
- The person responsible for the state of these loans was FIRED, but in the meantime EdCo had cooked up five years of interest by virtue of mismanaging these student loans and demanded we pay what they claimed was outstanding plus $1000 interest.
- Feeling the situation was unjust I demanded the case be heard by a judge before I would pay them. The judge held that even though "mistakes" (I call it fraud) were involved that the interest was owed. But EdCo, aparently being put out over having to go to trial added $700 to what they originally claimed I owed, so the judgement was made for $700 more than what they claimed was the amount I was in default for.
- Having had my day in court I immediatly offered full payment in exchange for having the negative information they had posted to my credit file removed. EdCo and their lawyer refused any sort of cooperation and instead claimed that the sheriff was on his way to my house to execute judgement. My attourney said the sheriff was probably coming to attach property and assets. This was totally unnecessary as I had offered to pay EdCo in full.
- Neither EdCo nore their attourney would ever make any sort of statement about why $700 was added to what they were claiming I owed, they never returned any answer to the many times I asked that question.
- Julie Bryant of EdCo even made a harassing and liableous call to my employer, claiming that my estimates that 60% of all their student loans might be involved in this fiasco were all too close to reality and that I must have had inside information to come up with that number. This forced a tense meeting with me, the director of my department, and the head of HR in which the slandarous claimes made by Julie were quickly and easily disproved. I believe she thought just because I worked in the student loan industry that she could sling mud at me and my employer in order to get revenge on me for posting this web site. Unfortunatly during this call she revealed the true extent of the financial mismanagement at EdCo.
- After I wrote them a check paying the judgment against me in full at the attorneys office (a full $700 more than what EdCo actually claimed in their original "Right To Cure" ), Julie immediately fired off another right to cure letter to me claiming I was in default of $442.98 on the exact same account. Since Julie/EdCo were no longer even willing to communicate with me on that loan either in writing or by phone, and since you only ever get one right to cure notice, I could only assume that she was then trying to extract even more from me than the outrageously inflated judgment from the same account (or that she had found yet another lost student loan to collect on!). She certainly had no right to send me a "Right To Cure" for something that I had no right to cure, and you only ever get ONE Right To Cure notice. At that point I could only assume they really din't have any idea where there money was or what was owed to who and that they had completly lost control of there accounts recievable and couldn't tell there heads from a hole in the ground (an assumption they have yet to disprove). Not only do they misplace and lose track of huge percentages of their loans (60% by Julies own account) but even after reams of paper concerning my loans were printed out and interest was painstaikingly calculated at trial, now all of a sudden after this account was settled by judgement and paid in full they inexplicably felt I owed $442.98 more? Incredible, absoluty incredible! I am personally amazed that Julie wasn't fired after that fiasco with her harassing me and my employer. I am dumbfounded at the shear stupidity involved here, Julie did in fact finally recant this notice after three days of constant email from me and probably after realizing the impossibility of claiming additional money after having had the case heard by a Judge.
Kind of makes you wonder how hard it is to get a BAUERFINANCIAL (BAUER FINANCIAL) five star rating, especially since I have personally notified BAUERFINANCIAL (BAUER FINANCIAL) of the financial situation at this credit union that bears their seal of approval, so they certainly can't plead ignorance!
The Whole Story:
FRAUD and Financial mismanagement of student loans at EdCo Community Credit Union of Des Moines Iowa, an institution alledgedly dedicated to serving members of the educational sector, has cost hard working college students thousands of dollars. They won't admit the extent of the financial mismanagement to me, but since me and one of my two sisters who had loans through EdCo were victimized I can state that 60% of all student loans I know of through EdCo are involved in this financial fiasco. Additionally, when I first claimed this 60% statistic on my web site, Julie Bryant, the CFO at EdCo went balistic thinking I had some kind of insider information in order to come up with such an accurate estimate of their actual financial misconduct (a fact I didn't know until they disclosed it). I work in the student loan business and EdCo actually called my employer and made vicious and slandarous statements against me to make them believe that maybe I had stolen company information in order to find out that 60% of EdCo student loans were involved in this fiasco. After reading the statement for themselves and clearly seeing that I was (originally) talking about a statistical sample of my immediate family, and after checking facts with me it quickly became aparent that Julie Bryant was drastically skewing facts and simply slinging mud at me because she was angry over the existence of this web site.
Five years ago my mom came into some money and went into EdCo to pay off the student loans of all her children, loans that were clearly in repayment status, not defered for any reason (like still being in school, I graduated 10 years ago and had been paying on this loan). They claimed they disclosed all the loans to her, took her money and we stopped paying on the loans. They sent no late payment notices, no delinquency letters, no attempt at all to collect on any loan for all this time. Then out of the blue they write to me and my sister saying we were supposed to be paying on these student loan. Now aparently the person in charge of this department was FIRED, and the new person, Julie K. Bryant, would like me to continue repaying this loan and would also like an extra thousand dollars interest for the last five years.
Now one of two things is true here, either the money for the loans was handed over and the financial officer embezzeled the money, leaving the debs on the books to cover his tracks, OR EdCo failed to account for a large percentage of the loans when the payout was requested causing the remaining loans to become delinquent (but for some mysterious reason never reported delinquent). I have repeatedly requested that EdCo Community Credit Union research the amount of final payoff they received five years ago and determine if there was a discrepency that was diverted from the payoff of these loans or if the amount they disclosed as the payoff was inaccurate, Julie Bryant has completly stonewalled me on this issue and has failed to provide any answers. How am I to know if their claims are even accurate if they can't tell if the funds were either embezzeled or misstated? Some of the funds were aparently applied correctly, one sisters loans are paid, I have asked EdCo to match that payoff to the amount of the check they processed but EdCo is aparently not interested in pursuing the truth of what happened and has refused to cooperate. And of course my mom just happens to have the cancelled check and the receipt just lying around after five years, everyone keeps useless receipts for five years, don't they?
Who knows how many student loans might be part of the 60% affected? There is no telling how many students might have been victimized by EdCo, no telling where EdCo might strike next, we know EdCo was in fact cooking up interest year after year with no late notices at all, earning huge amounts of back interst by benifit of mismanaging and hiding these loans for years.
What we do know are the latest numbers reported to the Department of Education and to NCHELP (National Council of Higher Edcuation Loan Programs), which has numbers from EdCo for the year 1998. Gee, I wonder why EdCo stop reporting default rates to the government near the same time this financial fiasco began. The numbers from 1998 available from NCHELP clearly shows they were the originating lender for 50 loans that are now in repayment, totalling $342,985. What's also interesting is that EdCo hasn't sold any of their student loans while almost every other entity on this list of thousands of lenders have been able to sell off most or all of their loans to third parties. Why is EdCo one of the few lenders in the entire country who still own all of their student loans? Are they unwilling or simply unable to unload any of the loans that they have originated? Note that the last reported numbers to the government show perfect repayment of all their borrowers, default rate of zero, no loans on their books were known to be in default. We certainly know now that this aledgedly perfect number wasn't true, and from EdCo's own representitives we now have a much better idea of what their true default rate really was.
If the money was actually owed, I told EdCo that I'd be happy to continue making payments but not if Julie Bryant insisted on the additional interest. She did insist, and I told her that we were going to have to let small claims court settle the issue. My contention here is that if they had simply sent me a letter in 1997 indicating I was behind in payments it would not have been an issue, and that this credit union seems to have earned an extra thousand dollars interest by mismanaging this loan. Additionally they can't even account for what happened to the payoff amount they received five years ago and are unwilling to look in their accounts received and match the amounts against the loan balances. They must have some obligation to have contacted me back then if they are going to collect back interest like this, otherwise they should have just waited another ten or twenty years and let the interest grow! I figure if they hadn't contacted me for twenty years they could have cleared $15,000 easy! Free money! All they have to do is hide the fact that a loan is not in proper repayment status for years on end and then pop up and collect huge amounts of back interest from unsuspecting college students. Why did they come forth after only five years? Why not wait for fifty? I figure it was an oversight on their part, either that or they just didn't think they could keep the scam going for any longer, either way it was time for them to cash out on the deal.
I have accused EdCo of fraud and financial mismanagement. Of the financial iresponsibility and mismanagement there can be no doubt. For the charge of fraud, I consider having a financial institution hide or forget about these loans for long periods of time and then suddenly "remembering" them and going back to gouge poor college students for thousands in back interest caused by EdCo's mismanagement to be fraudulent, we haven't yet seen what the law has to say about it, we may find that their tactics are within the letter of the law based on the contract they had the students sign, but just because it may be legal by their contract doesn't mean I can't still consider it to be fraudulent. As for the repayment amount given to them five years ago, no telling where that money went, EdCo doesn't seem to even know if it was embezelled or if the loan amounts were misrepresented at the time we requested the payoff amount, they are simply clueless.
In the meantime it looks like they have opted to destroy my credit rather than admit their error. I have received notification that they have filed against me in court. If their lawyers prevail in court against the rights of students then they will succeed not only in screwing me financially, they will also have a judgement against me on my credit report for years to come.
UPDATE Of course the court ruled against me. Their lawyer was kind of amusing, there was one point in the trial where he made this really hilarious point of staring me down while Julie read some rather amusing lawyer jokes to the court that I had sent him, like maybe he thought he was superman and that lasers would burn from his eyes. At one point he had to turn and get Julie back on track and then snap, right back to staring me down like some silly playground game. The part that wasn't funny was that they added about $700 to what they originally claimed I owed them, now instead of paying them what they claimed I owed, $4,200, they are trying to collect $4,900. Guess they were pissed off about having to go to court over the whole thing and needed a little extra to make up for the inconvenience. Oh yea, court costs too, about $90 worth.
Many times I have insisted on them giving me a reason why they originally claimed I owed $4,200 but then insisted on collecting the full judgement of $4,900 but once again Julie Bryant and her lawyer are not going to answer any questions I post to them and have completly stonewalled. They collected the full amount from me upon threat of immediate pending action from the sheriffs office if I didn't come up with the full amount right away.
Oh, and here is the really great part, after the judgement I told them I'd cut them a check for everything I owed if they agreed to remove the negative information from my credit report, but instead of taking me up on that offer they are instead moving to garnish my wadges and tax returns. I have asked on no less than three occasions to work things out and bring them a check for the amount I owed, but Julie Bryant was furious over this web site, furious over emails that I sent her, and certainly angry that I dragged her to court in another county to resolve this and she and her lawyer are now having nothing of my attempts to pay what I owe and have instead begun garnishment proceedings against me.
I wonder why this harassment of students only began after the previous manager was fired and Julie K. Bryant took over. As the new CFO I am sure she had a choice, she could have decided to do the right thing and get the repayment process going where it had left off for all these students. Instead, after Julie Bryant took over the decision was made to screw the students, take their money, and destroy the credtit of any who balked at their tactics.
My sisters have both requested their complete payoff history on these loans, and we figured out at trial (too late) that moms
must keep cancelled checks on microfilm or something, and we are trying to prove what actually happened here. That, of course, is too late for me, I aparently can't appeal a small claims court decision and it would be up to the good graces of EdCo to admit their error and relinquish the judgement against me. Even if I can prove that EdCo properly presented the full payoff amount and accepted full payment I have no legal recourse to make them remove the judgement or stop garnishing my pay checks.
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