Los Angeles, CA–Americans owe over $1 trillion in student loans, surpassing credit card debt and the issue became a major focus of the 2020 presidential election. President-elect Joe Biden had 42 million American voters glued to their seats when he began to express his approval for student loan forgiveness during his campaign.
Now however, he has changing his stance–slightly.
Biden still approves student loan forgiveness, for up to $10,000, and will pause student loan payments for those experiencing Covid-19 hardships. This will still leave millions of Americans with hefty student loan balances. This financial burden is intensified for many African-Americans who run the risk monthly, of defaulting on their student loans due to various economic circumstances.
After working for a student debt company near Newport Beach, Gianni Ford felt confident enough to take the skills and knowledge he received there to start his own company, Reform Alliance. In 2018, Ford left his job and by 2019, he had a company that was not only profitable, but one to be proud of.
“We were able save people thousands of dollars and pull them out of default. Our goal is to make people knowledgable of situations and to take care of them. Usually, when you do the right thing, people flock to you. So by me doing the right thing and also wanting to go into business for myself, it became something that I really liked doing,” said Ford.
Ford grew up being raised by a single mother in South Central, Los Angeles, who made sure to instill the proper guidance and ethics in her son, which Ford says has been working out nice for him.
His main focus with Reform Alliance is making sure that his clients really understand their student debt, as well as how to keep track of it, so they can eventually pay off the balance. He warns those with student debt to beware of companies who make promises that they can’t keep, which ties directly into federal compliance issues.
Robocalls, soliciting and request for information regarding student loans, are always a red flag of possible scam companies.
“No company can reach out to you requesting that information because it is against federal laws. So many people are cheated. You do not have to pay anyone, ever, to work on your student loans upfront,” said Ford.
Reform Alliance offers 15-minute discovery calls so you can become knowledgable of your current loan status. If you find value in their company or quality of care, you can retain them for their services. Ford has been able to grow his business because people continue to refer him to others.
“We always push paying off the loans. Some companies offer false forgiveness promises. No company has the ability to reduce the amount by taking over the loan or forgiveness. The average time for anyone to get federal loan forgiveness is 20-25 years. By that time you have paid off majority of the loan. We never suggest someone stay into debt for 20-25 years.”
Ford understands how companies prey and profit off the most vulnerable groups in our society. The African-American community has been no exception. The issue is compounded as many in our communities come from households lacking financial literacy.
“It is so many people getting rich off of Black debt and Black suffering. As a Black-owned organization we are here to help everyone. We want people to feel like when they call us, we are going to give them the truth whether they spend money or not, the customer service is not going to change.”
If you want to stay up to date with your student loans you can reach Reform Alliance at: (800) 488-0172
Visit them online: https://reformalliance.org