Aequitas Capital executives believed they had purchased a gold mine when they began buying student loans from Corinthian Colleges- instead, the debt proved to be the company’s downfall. Following the for-profit college’s decent into bankruptcy and liquidation; Aequitas also collapsed amid accusations the company’s top execs were running a Ponzi scheme.
However, Aequitas continued to collect payments on the debt- until now. The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and several state attorneys general and the Aequitas receiver reached a deal in which about 41,000 former Corinthian students whose debt is held by Aequitas could get more than half- possibly all, of their debt eliminated.
In July 2015, Aequitas became a key ally and vital source of liquidity for Corinthian by buying massive amounts of student debt. By helping finance Corinthian’s in-house private loans, Aequitas enabled Corinthian to access billions in student loan money from the U.S. government.
The bureau recently filed a lawsuit against Aequitas as part of the settlement. It claims Aequitas employees privately expressed anxiety about the huge percentage of Corinthian students who were failing to make their loan payments. “With defaults this high, how can we defend our practices,” the unidentified employee wrote in a 2011 note.
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