DES MOINES, Iowa -- "I've never seen any documents that conclusively say that my clients' particular loan is owned by the plaintiff in this lawsuit," said Nancy L. Thompson, Attorney at Law at Nancy L. Thompson Law Office P.C.
In the past few years, Thompson has represented students in at least 30 cases brought by one of the nation’s largest owners of private student loans, the National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts. All of those cases were dismissed before trial except for three of them.
"There are both ownership issues: is this plaintiff the one that owns this debt? And has a right to collect it? And there are issues with respect to being able to say you owe this particular amount of money, because not only has the loan allegedly been sold many times, the servicing of that loan has been transferred over time," said Thompson.
At issue are outstanding private students loans taken out by people at least a decade ago.
"Private student loans were all the rage at that period of time," quipped Thompson.
The legal argument being made is that the loans eventually ended up in different National Collegiate Student Loans Trusts.
“It’s just this securitized pool," said Thompson. "It’s this bundle of loans that were sold off a decade ago at least, in many cases. Those loans were all pooled into, it’s called securitization. It’s pooled into this trust that investors then purchase, so you’ve got this trust made up of just a lot of thousands of different student loans."
Investors bought the student loan debts and now they're trying to collect, but Thompson says the problem is they don't have the paperwork to back it up.
"They don`t have the correct documentation to be able to show first that they own the loan, and then secondly that they know exactly how much debt is owed."
Most of the students Thompson has represented have been within central Iowa. Thompson says of the 30 cases in which she's represented students who were being sued, hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loan debts were wiped away when the cases were dismissed.