Ann Arbor, MI (July 2, 2020) - Lake Trust Credit Union launched a digital service today to help their members manage their federal student loans. The service is provided by Nickels, an Ann Arbor-based startup that specializes in using behavioral science to help adults navigate the federal student debt repayment process.
Student loans are the largest debt category for adults under 30 and ~40% of student-borrowers will default at least once on their federal student debt. This dramatically impacts borrowers’ credit scores and undermines their financial health.
“Lake Trust is focused on being an engine of the community’s financial wellbeing. We want to ensure our members have the tools and support they need to manage their financial health,” said Andrea Mosher, Senior Vice President – Member Experience, Lending Solutions from Lake Trust Credit Union. “Federal student loan repayments are set to resume this fall and we want to make sure our members can easily identify and enroll in a federal student loan repayment plan that reflects their goals and budget.”
Designed in partnership with the country’s leading nonprofit behavioral design lab, ideas42, Nickels is a digital service that connects multiple sources of borrowers’ federal student loan information, provides a convenient tool for evaluating and enrolling in different repayment plans, and continuously monitors a borrower’s progress, while providing triggered, timely, behaviorally-informed notifications if a borrower needs to take action. It’s like a guide dog for federal student debt, continuously staying by a borrower’s side while making it easy for them to navigate the federal student loan system. Borrowers can stay on top of their loans without having to dedicate hours of time becoming experts in the vagaries of the federal student debt repayment options.
Lake Trust is committed to improving their members’ financial health and sees this as a timely and important service. Most people had their federal student loan payments automatically suspended as part of the CARES Act federal stimulus program. This payment reprieve is scheduled to end on September 30, 2020, meaning that student borrowers will now need to factor their federal student loans back into their monthly finances.
In addition to supporting members financial health, Lake Trust has been actively supporting financial innovation and fintech startups in the community. Lake Trust sponsored Nickels’ participation in the 2019 Ann Arbor SPARK Boot Camp wherein Nickels took was awarded the program’s Best of Boot Camp prize.
About Lake Trust
Lake Trust Credit Union was created with the crazy idea of putting members ahead of money. The credit union currently serves nearly 200,000 members who live, work, worship, attend school or operate businesses in Michigan. With branches in more than 20 cities, towns and villages throughout the state, the credit union’s strength is enhanced by the strength of the greater community. Lake Trust strongly believes in supporting organizations and activities devoted to improving communities and the quality of life for all Michiganders. To learn more, visit Lake Trust at www.laketrust.org.
Nickels is an Ann Arbor startup that helps people manage their federal student debt and avoid default through a behaviorally informed, digital repayment experience. Founded in 2018, the company works with financial institutions and post-secondary schools, providing a whitelabel digital service that makes it easy for people with federal student debt to manage their loans.