Q: How to stop a student loan garnishment from the Professional Bureau of Collections of Maryland, Inc.?

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How to stop a student loan garnishment from the Professional Bureau of Collections of Maryland, Inc.?

Typically, you have four options to stop a student loan garnishment from the Professional Bureau of Collections of Maryland, Inc. from starting:

  1. negotiating a settlement,
  2. applying for a new Direct Consolidation Loan,
  3. entering into the loan rehabilitation program, and
  4. entering into a loan repayment program.

Your options change if the garnishment has already started.

Once the garnishment starts, you only have two options to stop it:

  1. negotiating a student loan settlement or
  2. entering into the loan rehabilitation program.

(Technically, you could filing bankruptcy

Federal student loan settlements are expensive. The US Department of Education usually doesn't offer much of a discount with settlements. They will usually waive collection fees. But they rarely offer you a settlement for less than 85-90% of your loan balance. So if you owe $100 thousand, they'll demand a settlement of $85-90 thousand.

Filing bankruptcy won't automatically clear your student loan debt, but bankruptcy will stop a student loan garnishment.

PBCM contact information for PBCM

  • PBCM phone number: (844) 225-5501
  • Fax number: (303) 488-2505
  • Mailing address: Professional Bureau of Collections of Maryland Inc., 5295 DTC Parkway, Greenwood Village, CO 80111 www.pbccorp.com ‍

What is the Professional Bureau of Collections of Maryland (PBCM)?

The Professional Bureau of Collections of Maryland is a full-service accounts receivable management company. They handle 1st party collections and 3rd party collections for credit unions, healthcare organizations, and other portfolios.

Basically, they're a debt collection agency.

Weirdly, PBCM isn't located in Maryland.

Instead, they are headquartered in Denver, Colorado.

According to them, the PBCM mission is to provide the highest compliance, competitive returns, and "unparalleled customer service." Looking at their customer reviews, plenty of student loan borrowers would disagree with that last part.

PBCM did not buy your federal student loan debt

PBCM did not buy your federal student loans from the US Department of Education.

Instead, the Department hired PBCM to be the debt collector for defaulted federal student loans.

You have to deal with PBCM to get out of default. You can't force your defaulted student loans to be moved to a different collection agency. You're stuck working with PBCM.

Once you're out of default and back in good standing, your loans will return to a regular loan servicer.

Options for getting out of student loan default

You have three options for getting out of default and back into good standing: Settlement Consolidation Loan rehabilitation Settlement is an option.

But depending on your balance, be prepared to pay. Under the current Department of Education guidelines, your settlement will be for about 85-90% of the current balance minus collection fees.

Before the Trump administration took office, you could present a discretionary compromise/non-standard compromise and have a reasonable shot at getting your offer accepted.

That's no longer the case.

Given how expensive settlements are, most student loan borrowers get out of default either by consolidating their loans or entering into the loan rehabilitation program.

Consolidation gets you out of default by consolidating one loan with another loan to create a brand new loan.

The loan rehabilitation program gets you out of default by requiring you to make 9 monthly payments of an amount approved by the Department of Education.

How your monthly payment is calculated

Under the loan rehabilitation program, your monthly payment is first calculated using the adjusted gross income and number of dependents on your federal tax return.

The representative will ask if you can afford that payment.

If you can, the inquiry ends there, and the rep will send you a loan rehabilitation agreement letter to sign and return.

But suppose you can't afford that payment. In that case, you can get a monthly payment as low as $5. You may be able to get a lower payment by providing your current monthly income and expenses and your current family size. Note: your family size may be more or less than the number of dependents you claimed on your tax return.

The PBCM representative will use the information you provided to complete the Loan Rehabilitation Income and Expense Form.

Most of my clients who go through this process end up paying less than $100 per month.

And that includes my clients who earn over $100 thousand per year.

COVID-19/Coronavirus considerations

The federal government has suspended collections on defaulted student loans owned by the Department of Education.

Suspended collection activities include: wage garnishment tax refund offset and Social Security offset.

In addition to suspending collections, the Department will also cover the payments you're supposed to make under your loan rehab agreement.

The Department will do all of those things through September 30, 2021.

After that, the collection activities will resume.

How to file a complaint against PBCM

As a debt collector, the Bureau is not allowed to, among other things, make harassing phone calls to you, lie to you about your options, etc.

If that happens, they may have violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

And if that happens, you can file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

You could also hire an FDCPA law firm to sue them for damages.

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I'm a student loan lawyer that helps people like you with their federal and private student loans wherever they live.

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