Debt evaluation and loan refinancing options will help with employee decision-makingEmpower Retirement loan contribution program allows employers to help pay down their employees’ debt
April 09, 2019 — GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Empower Retirement is targeting the broad financial needs of American workers through a new student debt solution focused on both helping workers pay down debt and their employers who may want to help out.
The new solution, which will be launched later this year, will be offered to workers saving for retirement who also wish to pay down their student loan debt faster and improve their overall financial wellbeing.
Student Debt Now $1.5 Trillion
Approximately 45 million Americans carry some form of student loan debt to pay for their own education, or for that of a family member1. In aggregate the total student loan debt is more than $1.5 trillion2 across the U.S. More than 80 percent of American workers paying down student loan debt say they put off other financial goals with 50 percent of them saying the top item they sacrifice is saving for retirement3.
“There’s no better investment than taking advantage of educational opportunities for yourself or your loved ones,” said Edmund F. Murphy, Empower Retirement President and CEO. “However, paying for that investment should not have to come at the expense of other financial goals. Working together with employers and plan advisors, Empower believes that we can help individuals take action to achieve better financial security through smarter debt management.”
To help make decisions around student loan repayments, Empower is partnering with CommonBond for BusinessTM – the enterprise student loan benefits platform from CommonBond, Inc., a leading financial technology company in the higher education space – in an effort to create an integrated retirement and debt management solution using technologies from both firms.
Empower Retirement will offer the integrated student debt management solution to its nine million customers.
Paying Down Student Debt Faster
The partnership is aimed at creating a one-stop digital platform that provides educational tools and financial guidance to help individuals better understand and manage their unique financial needs. The goal of the program is to help individuals pay down their student debt faster in order to be able to focus on other goals.
“Student loan debt is one of the key financial barriers to saving for retirement,” said David Klein, CommonBond CEO and co-founder. “Through our work with Empower, millions of people could have the ability to receive student loan benefits from their employer, improving their financial wellness and helping them save toward a brighter financial future.”
Employers — who are increasingly recognizing the value of benefit programs designed to help with student loan repayment 4 — can also benefit from the new Empower offering. Empower will offer a turnkey solution that enables employers to make direct payments to their employees’ student loans or to their retirement plans.
“Smart employers are recognizing the value of doing more for their employees through student loan contribution programs,” said Murphy. “We believe these programs are mutually beneficial to workers and their employers.”
“Next dollar”evaluation: Employees who are carrying student loan debt have access to a user-friendly evaluation tool that provides guidance and recommends action steps. The system makes a recommendation on how individuals can utilize the ‘next dollar’ available.
Loan analysis: Depending on the student’s existing loan portfolio, CommonBond provides employees with individualized information about loan forgiveness programs and other options, such as refinancing.
Student loan or retirement plan contribution: Employers will have the ability to make payments directly to employees’ student loan payments or to their retirement savings plan.
The solution will be made available to all Empower retirement plans, pending plan sponsor agreement, as well as Individual Retirement Account customers.
About Empower Retirement
Headquartered in metro Denver, Empower Retirement administers $610 billion in assets for more than 9.1 million retirement plan participants, as of March 31, 2019. It is the nation’s second-largest retirement plan record keeper by total participants (Pensions & Investments, April 2018). Empower serves all segments of the employer-sponsored retirement plan market: government 457 plans; small, midsize and large corporate 401 (k) clients; non-profit 403 (b) entities; private-label recordkeeping clients; and Individual Retirement Account customers. For more information please visit Empower-retirement.com.
CommonBond is a financial technology company on a mission to give students and graduates more affordable, transparent, and simple ways to pay for higher education. The company offers refinance loans to college graduates, new loans to current students, and a suite of student loan repayment benefits to employees through its CommonBond for BusinessTM program. By designing a better student loan experience that combines advanced technology with competitive rates and award-winning customer service, CommonBond has funded over $2.5 billion in loans, partnered with over 300 corporate clients, and currently serves over 100,000 members. CommonBond is also the first and only finance company with a “one-for-one” social mission: for every loan it funds, CommonBond also funds the education of a child in need, through its partnership with Pencils of Promise. For more information, visit commonbond.co.
1. Federal Reserve Bank of New York Consumer Credit Panel / Equifax, June 14, 2017
2. Federal Reserve, April 5, 2019 federalreserve.gov/releases/g19/HIST/cc_hist_memo_levels.html
3. Harris poll on behalf of American Institute of CPAs, May 16, 2016
4. The Employee Benefit Research Institute Dec. 6, 2018 brief.
To learn more about how we’re empowering plan sponsors and their participants to be more engaged in their retirement plans than ever before, call us at 800-719-9914.
Some features may not be available and are subject to change without notice.
CommonBond, Inc. is not affiliated with Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company of New York or their subsidiaries and affiliates.