JPMorgan Chase to Stop Student Loans for Non-Customers

JPMorgan putting stop to student loans
JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the U.S., announced that it will stop originating private student loans for non-customers beginning on July 1, 2012, according to Bloomberg.

Customers must have a relationship with JPMorgan in the form of a deposit, loan or credit card if they hope to secure a private student loan from the bank. While no new non-customers will be given student loans, those with existing financing from the bank will continue to be serviced.

“The private student loan market has continued to decline and government programs have expanded to help more students and families,” said Steve O’Halloran, a spokesman for JPMorgan, told Bloomberg in an email, hinting that the industry is losing its profitability.

The company’s student financing portfolio shrank 15 percent from 2009, all the while doubling their bad debts. Uncollectable loans rose 72 percent, and JPMorgan’s profits declined significantly.

In 2009, the bank made $4.2 billion on student loans. In 2011, they’re profits dropped to $300 million.

The rising default rate on college loans has raised concern in more than just the banks losing money. Some experts fear this trend is leading to yet another economic bubble, which, if burst, could hinder our already weak recovery.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) reported student loans are now the largest source of unsecured consumer debt in the nation, surpassing $1 trillion.

That number is growing not only by new originations, but by students who are unable to make timely payments on their borrowing. As graduates enter one of the weakest job markets in the United States’ history, our nation’s youth is unable to make adequate enough pay to satisfy their high monthly bills. Consequently, their student loans are growing at exponential rates due to the interest accruing.

In the words of Rohit Chopra, the CFPB’s student loan ombudsman, “It seems that this market is too big to fail.”