What you need to know:
- F.H. Cann & Associates is one of five loan servicers awarded a contract by the federal government to service student loans beginning in 2020.
- It was previously awarded a contract in 2016 that made F.H. Cann eligible to receive business from the Department of Education for defaulted student loans.
- F.H. Cann will likely exclusively service defaulted federal loans.
The U.S. Department of Education recently announced an overhaul of its federal student loan servicing system. Although the list of new loan servicers included some familiar names — like MOHELA and EdFinancial — it also included some new names, one of which is F.H. Cann & Associates LLC.
Here’s what we know about F.H. Cann and what you should be aware of in case it becomes your new loan servicer.
What is F.H. Cann & Associates LLC?
F.H. Cann & Associates (FHC) was created in 1999 as a national, woman-owned debt collection agency. Headquartered in North Andover, Massachusetts, with an additional office in Ohio, it services clients and accounts across the country.
This for-profit, private agency provides accounts receivable management (ARM), call center and customer support services to federal, state and local government entities. It also serves clients within other industries such as education, financial institutions, telecommunication, utility and healthcare.
FHC was awarded an Authorization to Operate (ATO) from the Department of Education (ED) in 2016. This contract made F.H. Cann eligible to receive collections business from the ED.
Since then, FHC has been one of many collection agencies used by the department for default and resolution services. It has specifically dealt with defaulted Federal Family Education Loans (FFEL), so the company has experience with resolution programs, like the Federal Loan Rehabilitation Program.
This collections relationship likely opened the door to secure the new contract as a federal loan servicer.
F.H. Cann & Associates customer feedback
F.H. Cann & Associates has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB). But customer reviews are not taken into account when determining a company’s rating.
Negative customer reviews range from not being able to get in touch with representatives to claims of mishandling paperwork. But there are also positive reviews, primarily from clients who hired FHC for debt management services.
Many of the formal complaints with the BBB detail persistent issues with communication. For example, a complaint from March 2020 said:
“I received a letter from F.H. Cann & Associates dated Dec 5, 2019. The letter states that my student loans are in default and needs immediate resolution. The letter goes on to describe the student loan rehabilitation program and gives the contact phone number to the company. Since receipt of this letter, I have called and left voicemails nearly a dozen times and have never received a call back. I want to resolve my student loan problem, but I am stuck at this point without a person to talk to at the debt collector.”
While researching the company, I attempted to contact their phone number associated with Department of Education accounts. I was met with a “mailbox is full” message that didn’t allow me to leave a message or choose any other options. This inability to initiate contact with FHC aligns with many of the communication complaints found online.
These types of complaints are concerning considering past loan servicers also have done a poor job of communicating and advising student loan borrowers throughout their journey.
FHC was likely chosen to handle defaulted student loans
F.H. Cann & Associates is a relatively small company that doesn’t have a proven track record of servicing massive amounts of student loan debt. But they do have experience as a private collection agency for defaulted student loans.
Student Loan Planner founder Travis Hornsby said, “We don’t expect F.H. Cann to manage loan accounts for borrowers who are paying on time and on income-driven repayment (IDR) or forgiveness plans.”
Instead, he expects FHC was chosen to exclusively service defaulted federal student loans.
This means the company will likely serve as an alternative to Maximus Federal Services, which is already the designated loan servicer for defaulted student loans.
What to do if F.H. Cann & Associates is your new servicer
At this time, we’re speculating that F.H. Cann will only service defaulted federal loans. But there’s still the chance that they might become a bigger player as a student loan servicer.
If your student loans are transferred to FHC, you should receive a loan transfer notice letter or email. Your loan terms won’t change, but you could lose online access to information from your previous loan servicer, such as records of previous payments and other communications.
The federal government is working to ensure there is a smooth transition between old and new loan servicers. But we know from past experience that loan servicers don’t always maintain the best record-keeping practices throughout such transitions.
Borrowers are encouraged to take matters into their own hands as this loan servicer transition is likely going to be a disaster. Here’s what you can do today:
- Make sure your loan information is correct.
- Keep a personal record of your payment history. You can take a picture of the online summary or download records directly.
- Confirm all payments are accurately applied during the transition period.
- If you’re pursuing Public Service Loan Forgiveness, send in your ECF form around the end of October or early November. This will provide you with an updated count of your qualifying payments.
You can also download up-to-date information on each of your federal loans at StudentAid.gov.
How to contact F.H. Cann & Associates about your student loans
It appears FHC may have recently updated their website, but most of the student loan information isn’t particularly user-friendly.
If you need assistance, there are a few ways to contact FHC for student loan support.
Phone: (877) 677-9126 for Department of Education accounts
Mail payments to:
U.S. Department of Education
National Payment Center
P.O. Box 790336
St. Louis, MO 63179-0336
F.H. Cann & Associates FAQs
Is F.H. Cann & Associates a scam?
No, FHC is a legitimate collections agency that’s been in business for over two decades. It provides services for delinquent debts for a variety of industries, including the Department of Education.
Can F.H. Cann garnish my wages?
The Department of Education uses tools like administrative wage garnishment (AWG) and the Treasury Offset Program (TOP) to recover defaulted student loans. But these avenues are used as a last resort to resolve your account.
How do I get my loans out of default with F.H. Cann?
Student loan borrowers in default can take advantage of a one-time opportunity with the Federal Loan Rehabilitation Program that will delete the default notation on your account after successful completion of the program. You can also explore options for loan consolidation, loan discharge, repayment in full or a settlement agreement.
Moving forward with F.H. Cann & Associates student loans
Unfortunately, you can’t choose your loan servicer when it comes to federal student loans. And we don’t definitively know what role F.H. Cann will play as one of the new loan servicers.
But if your loans end up being transferred to FHC, stay on top of your communication efforts. Keep detailed records of your interactions, including your attempts to contact them. These records will be vital if an issue arises with your account.
If you find yourself in a situation where you want a different loan servicer than FHC, you can explore refinancing options with a private lender. If you refinance with a private loan, however, you’ll also lose access to certain federal benefits and protections, so tread carefully. Frustration with your loan servicer shouldn’t be your primary reason for refinancing.
Regardless of who your loan servicer is, Student Loan Planner can help you create a customized repayment plan based on your unique financial situation and future goals. Schedule a call to get started with an experienced student loan consultant.