On March 15, the Washington governor signed Senate Bill 6029, which establishes the “Washington student education loan bill of rights” and outlines licensing requirements and responsibilities for student loan servicers. The act, among other things, requires that the council designate a “student loan advocate” whose responsibilities include providing timely assistance to borrowers, reviewing borrower complaints, referring servicing-related complaints to the state’s Department of Financial Institutions (DFI) or the Attorney General’s office, compiling and disseminating data regarding borrower complaints, and establishing a student education loan borrower education course by October 1, 2020. The act also requires that student loan servicers be licensed through the state (certain entities that are exempt from the licensing requirement must still comply with the act’s other requirements). Under the act, student loan servicers—in addition to complying with applicable federal program requirements—must also (i) provide information to borrowers concerning repayment options, account history, and assessed fees; (ii) notify borrowers when acquiring or transferring servicing rights; and (iii) provide disclosures concerning the possible effects of refinancing student loans. The act further provides that third-parties offering student education loan modification services may not charge or receive money “prior to full and complete performance of the [agreed upon] services,” may not charge fees that are in excess of what is customary or reasonable, and must immediately inform a borrower in writing if the owner or servicer of a loan requires additional documentation or if “modification, refinancing, consolidation, or change in repayment plans . . . is not possible.”

Furthermore, the act exempts from the outlined requirements “any person doing business under, and as permitted by, any law of this state or of the United States relating to banks, savings banks, trust companies, savings and loan or building and loan associations, or credit unions.”