Forbearance delays student loan repayment

Borrowing for higher education has become commonplace, as have problems with repaying those loans. Borrowers who take out federal loans are assigned a student loan servicer, through which they are responsible for making their monthly payments and from whom they can get information about their loans and repayment options. However, those servicers do not always give borrowers the most personalized information. Brandon Frere, CEO, entrepreneur and expert in the student loan industry, reminds borrowers to go prepared into conversations with their servicers.

“Servicers are supposed to help guide borrowers through repayment,” said Frere. “Too often they mislead borrowers — whether intentionally or not — or make mistakes that result in extra costs that fall into the borrowers’ laps.”

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has collected thousands of complaints about federal student loan borrowers. Such complaints run the gamut from misallocated payments to refusals to give pertinent information. Servicers have also been accused of steering borrowers into forbearance when an alternative repayment plan would have been more beneficial for borrowers.

Forbearance is an option for delaying federal student loans. While in forbearance, loans still accrue interest and at the end of forbearance, that interest is capitalized. For short-term delays, borrowers who have access to deferment are usually better off using that. Or, if they need a long-term solution, federal income-driven repayment plans can cap payments at a percentage of discretionary income.

“Servicers do a lot of things that warrant complaints by borrowers,” said Frere. “When borrowers need help with their loans, they are instructed to talk to their servicer so that service should be exceptional. The truth is, though, that it’s not always reliable.”

Collaboration is important for success.

Founder CEOs occupy a uniquely powerful space within the business world. A sound product and an effective managerial style must combine beautifully in order for founder CEOs to achieve success. While some achieve it by bringing others along with their singular vision, collaborative management is valued by many executives for being a more rewarding way of running a business.

Forming a managerial style in a startup environment as a business grows fast can be tricky, though. Founder CEO Brandon Frere finds the collaborative style makes sense for his personality and his businesses.

“When you have a meeting full of people, or a business full of employees, the initial thought may be that they’re here only because you brought them together,” Frere said. “But that’s too superficial. What’s more significant is that you can now start collaborating.”

Frere emphasizes the importance of gathering a group of colleagues who bring different kinds of experience and expertise but are still in sync with his own vision and the core values of the company. He values letting people be creative, self-start, and run with great ideas, but also shape his own ideas through discussion and collaboration. Frere emphasizes this collaboration through the executive level down to the newest employee.

“A company is a chance to get even better at whatever it is you do, plain and simple,” said Frere. “And I am energized, challenged, and always benefit from the incredible expertise of the people I work with. I am happy to have gone into business because it brought me to great people and because collaboration with them has made me better. And it’s made my businesses better.”

Technology as a foundation for business

Every business needs a solid foundation. For customer-facing roles, the foundation may be good people. However, it’s important that those people have the right tools. Brandon Frere, CEO and entrepreneur, leans heavily on technology for such a foundation. With the right technology and the right processes, he believes that his employees will be able to focus on their clients rather than getting distracted by complicated systems.

“Technology is the future of business and can help streamline processes and increase production,” said Frere. “I like to be wired in and take advantage of the latest technology to support my employees in giving our customers the best service possible.”

Digital systems should be scalable and flexible. Such a foundation is important for preparing for future changes and growth. This requires knowing short-term and long-term goals and general pathways for achieving both. All this should be built on current necessities and functions to ensure that employees have the appropriate tools to excel in their work today.

The nature of technology is that it changes quickly. Any business relying on a digital foundation should be proactive about keeping up with digital advancements and system updates. New tools may be irrelevant to any given business, but others may have the potential to transform processes or offerings for the better.

“An open mind is essential for any business foundation based on technology,” said Frere. “Digital transformation efforts don’t ever end. A good leader should constantly re-evaluate goals and tweak them to fit with the company mission and culture. The work never ends and that’s the way it should be. We don’t want to become obsolete. Instead, we want to be the best in the industry and back up that claim with exceptional service.”

Man looks to future for success of business

The ability to be positively dynamic is a key aspect of many successful businesses. While some blessed companies may have products or services that seem to never go out of style no matter how society evolves, most have to remain flexible in order to both survive and thrive. In an era of declining entrepreneurship, achieving longevity through a dynamic business model may be more complicated, and more important, than ever.

CEO and startup founder Brandon Frere’s business endeavors exemplify this kind of positive flexibility. He continues to develop his businesses to optimize customers’ experience and maximize efficiency, but also to remain adaptable and dynamic in the face of changing markets.

“Creating highly adaptable ventures was important to me from the beginning,” said Frere. “I don’t take anything for granted, including the needs of my clients or the demands of the market.”

Striking a balance between creating a quality service and maintaining flexibility can be delicate work, but it’s the type of undertaking that Frere strives to perfect.

“Expanding into new business verticals — and, importantly, having the resilience to do so — demonstrates how robust your venture is,” Frere continued, “and the depth of your vision, as well.”

As entrepreneurship wanes in America, business owners who have skin in the game may use that fact as motivation to rethink, remodel and evolve into a better business — with longevity in mind. Because while a meteoric rise to the top is exhilarating, entrepreneurs should be careful not to go the way of the dinosaurs.

Man using technology in business

Automation can enable growth in a business as it frees up leaders and employees to innovate and improve the company processes and offerings. In particular, automating marketing can, when done well, generate leads and nurture them throughout the process, leaving customer service and other client-facing personnel free to focus on each client’s needs. Brandon Frere, entrepreneur and financial industry leader, knows the value of automating many different steps in a business and encourages business owners to embrace the practice.

“The less I have to think about the details, the more I can think about the big picture and aim my companies in the right direction for both our success and that of our clients,” said Frere. “For example, many types of client communication, like notifications or requests for information, can be automated, freeing up the workforce to focus on other necessary tasks.”

In a basic sense, marketing automation generates leads by targeting individuals who would likely be interested in the product or service that the company is offering. The sales team gets involved later in the process when the lead is already partially through the process, which can improve conversion rates.

The less I have to think about the details, the more I can think about the big picture and aim my companies in the right direction for both our success and that of our clients

Brandon Frere, CEO of Frere Enterprises

Automating a marketing process should further a company’s goals, so the company leaders should revisit those goals when integrating automation into their system. They must have a solid foundation and target audience to deliver quality content that leads will want to follow up on. Like much advice on company practices, success depends on customers. A company that can give the customers what they want when they want it will be more successful than one that is not so targeted.

“You have to put yourself in your clients’ shoes to be able to effectively turn leads into clients and returning customers,” said Frere. “It’s important that you as a leader stay in tune with your client base and their needs. Automating marketing or other systems forces you to do that and stay in that perspective. And that ability to get and keep clients is what drives growth.”

Surfer in impressive wave

Being an active child was second nature to CEO and startup founder Brandon Frere. Sports were always an interest and a joy. But as Frere grew up and entered the world of business, he didn’t eschew his active lifestyle or his love of adventure. Frere uses these to fuel his professional promotion of healthy lifestyles and a focus on wellness as a key component of success.

“I’ve realized that being healthy and feeling your best are critical for success in any arena,” said Frere. “If you’re not relying on a foundation of well-being, eventually you’re going to crash and burn.”

Frere espouses a notion of personal success as one built on the idea of striving for the healthiest lifestyle. This includes positive mental state, where happiness and meaning are just as crucial as physical wellness. Frere transforms the personal into the professional as he promotes health and wellness throughout his professional life, incorporating wellness into the services of multiple successful ventures.

Whether it’s connecting consumers with wellness-related professionals or providing them with resources to improve wellness at home and on a daily basis, Frere’s businesses are geared towards opening the door to wellness for thousands of clients. These ventures approach wellness from a holistic standpoint, where consumers can find services and resources on many aspects of health and wellness.

“Many individuals have trouble being their healthiest without help from others,” Frere continues. “They need a nudge in the right direction. That’s why wellness services can be so important for people in this country who are usually overworked and running on empty.”