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Student Loans Get The Plaid Treatment

Data aggregator Plaid's newest feature is providing standardized student loan information.

Plaid, which acquired financial data aggregator Quovo earlier this year, launched a new product today that provides connectivity to student loan data. Called “Liabilities,” the company hopes that by making lending data available to developers, fintech companies will be able to build new products to address student debt. Plaid's data aggregation feeds into numerous financial portals used by financial advisors and clients. 

Software companies like Pay For ED already provide student loan repayment planning, but Plaid’s feature will provide standardized information on what is owed and what the debt repayment period looks like, as well as details on payment timing, current loan terms and the characteristics of the account. While Plaid is starting with data connected to student loans, it plans to add categories like mortgages, auto loans and even credit cards. 

Liabilities will pull standardized student loan data from the largest U.S. debt services companies, including Navient, Nelnet, FedLoan, Great Lakes and more. An app called Pillar, which allows borrowers to consolidate student loans and payments in one place, is one of the first Plaid customers to use the data feed, according to Natalie Giannangeli, Plaid spokesperson. 

For advisors, advice and planning around student loans is an increasingly popular value-add, XY Planning Network co-founder Michael Kitces told last fall. “As an advice issue, giving advice on a $1.5 trillion [student] debt problem is a very rewarding opportunity,” he said. “If you’re now one of the only advisors in the country that has the training and expertise to help people solve a $1.5 trillion problem, is that a business opportunity? Heck yes.” 

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