Former CEO of Natixis, John Hailer, Discusses the Impact of Long-term Policies, Student Debt, and Loan Forgiveness
In 2022, the Federal Government, in coordination with the Biden administration, rolled out a three-tiered policy to address crushing economic burdens caused by student loans. The Student Debt Relief Plan aimed to help students transition back to paying their student loans toward the tail-end of the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the Department of Education has helped to tailor its relief toward low and middle-income households.
In 2016, long before the Student Debt Relief Plan was a concept, the now-former CEO of Natixis, John Hailer, was pioneering a student debt forgiveness program while operating in the financial field. After assessing the landscape of student loans and how it was impacting his staff’s ability to save for retirement, John Hailer knew that he needed to leap into action.
Addressing Student Loans at the Corporate Level
Long before he was a former business leader at Natixis, John Hailer was one of its brightest minds, as he aimed to engineer debt relief for the most vulnerable employees in the company. A Bankrate Student Loan Survey revealed that nearly 20% of Gen Z and Millennial respondents were forced to delay marriage and children due to crushing student loan debt. More than 60% of respondents admitted that they postponed major financial choices due to their loan obligations.
As John Hailer continued to comb through his studies of United States retirement trends, one thing became abundantly clear: looming student loans were one of the primary reasons for the financial delay. Understanding that the bulk of retirement earnings are accrued before the age of 40, Hailer understood that he had to act quickly.
Hailer stated, “This was a shocking finding for us. It meant one-quarter of our working population was saving nothing for retirement because of the excessive debt burden of student loans.”
As the CEO of Natixis, John Hailer oversaw the introduction of the Natixis Student Loan Repayment Benefit on January 1, 2016. The program sought to provide relief upwards of $10,000 to employees who had been full-time and with the company for at least five years. The program was an immediate success, helping to pull many employees out of dire financial situations.
Future Impacts and Hopeful Outcomes
Even as John Hailer continues to operate in his new position as Chairman of Diffractive Managers Group, his past work continues to raise the tide of all boats. Natixis was instrumental in changing the corporate outlook on student loan debt burden, something that many companies were quick to emulate.
Due to Natixis’ leadership in the industry, other financial companies were quick to offer their own student loan repayment programs which created an industry-wide adoption over the next several years. Student loan forgiveness has since become one of the most talked about subjects in the financial realm.