Durbin Meets With Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today met with the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, to discuss the threat that fast-growing student loan debt poses to the economy and the importance of finding more solutions to help alleviate the burden on Illinois families and borrowers.  Durbin and Powell also discussed affordable housing, the lack of competition in the credit and debit card market, and the state of the U.S. economy.

“Chairman Powell and I agree that we must take action to help struggling students and their families who are buried in student loan debt.  Young people are putting off major life decisions that have helped grow our economy, like buying a home or starting a family.  We must act soon, and I hope the Chairman can be supportive of efforts in Congress that can give student borrowers some relief,” Durbin said.

For the past three Congresses, Durbin and his Democratic colleagues have introduced the Fairness for Struggling Students Act, which would once again allow privately issued student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy, giving them the same treatment as nearly all other forms of private unsecured debt.

Currently, 44 million Americans hold nearly $1.5 trillion in outstanding student loan debt with an average balance of more than $32,000.  Nearly 11 percent of aggregate student debt was in delinquency or default in 2017.  The Federal Reserve issued a report in January finding that between 2005 and 2014, the homeownership rate among young adults decreased by two percentage points as a result of rising student debt.  Federal Reserve researchers also found that student debt is exacerbating brain drain from rural to urban areas.  Balances of student loans have surpassed both auto loans and credit cards, making student loan debt the nation’s largest form of consumer debt outside of mortgages.