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A Few Minutes With…Allen Kors

Allen Kors
Allen Kors is Founder and CEO of Achieve Lending, the first  search engine for private student loans. Kors says students can use the Achieve Lending platform to shop, compare and choose between lenders and interest rates, often in as little as 30 seconds. Launched last year to help take some of the confusion out of the education marketplace, Kors says he wants to help students avoid the often catastrophic effects of misguided financial decisions. He’s partnered with lenders who will help students finance both a college education and non-traditional forms of education, such as online courses, trade schools and specialty training.

Why did you decide to start Achieve Lending?

Achieve Lending was born out of my own bad decisions when financing my education at Cornell.  I never shopped around and my parents didn’t have any insight into the process.  After I graduated and began paying off my student debt, I realized just how uninformed my decision was.  There were many other, better options, yet I failed to take the time to objectively compare with even one or two other offers.  After witnessing many other students and friends make similarly uninformed decisions, I decided to build Achieve Lending.

It’s evident that the education financing marketplace is growing quickly, but it’s also inefficient and fragmented.  Borrowers are confused and lenders are, as always, eagerly looking to acquire new customers.  I knew we could leverage technology to help both sides and create a better way to get the job done.

For those unfamiliar with Achieve Lending, how does it work?

An applicant submits a single form at achievelending.com.  The form is simple, clear and intuitive, and takes less than 30 seconds to complete.  After filling out the form, applicants are presented with a personalized menu of viable offers based on Applicant Attributes and Lender Criteria.  We’re a matchmaker.  After reviewing the loan options, interest rates, and terms, the applicant selects an offer, and then proceeds to the lender’s website to complete their application.

We’d like to point out that Achieve Lending isn’t just for college students, either. For those seeking a non-traditional education, money for a professional or trade school program, or for those seeking additional certifications after college, Achieve Lending can also find loan offers for you.

Does a lower interest rate really make that much of a difference with a student loan?

Yes!  The return on spending just a few minutes shopping around is huge!  Say a student takes out $40,000 in student loans over four years with a loan term of 15 years. With an interest rate of 9% annually, the student can expect to pay nearly $33,000 in interest over the fifteen years. The interest alone is almost the value of the original loan! Insanity. On top of piles of interest, the monthly loan payment would be close to $400, which can be tough for new grads to swing on their starter salaries.

Say that by shopping for private loans a student gets an interest rate from a lender of 7%. The same borrower who took out $40,000 at 7% interest annually would pay $24,700 over fifteen years, a difference of $8,300 over the lifetime of the loan. The monthly payment on the 7% loan would be a more manageable $350. Savings like that could fund the down payment on a first home, go toward the purchase of a car, or launch a business.

Who is your target market?

Achieve Lending is aimed at any person who’s interested in furthering their education. We believe education comes in many forms, so we’ve partnered with lenders who will help people finance both traditional and non-traditional forms of education, such as online courses, trade schools, specialty training, and many more. If you’re looking to grow your knowledge, Achieve Lending will help you find a way to pay for it.

The loan comparison market is becoming more competitive.  How does Achieve Lending stand out against its competitors?

Our platform is faster, more intuitive, and easier to use, and we also offer a more extensive suite of loan products. We understand the consumer, and know that the definition of “education” is evolving beyond traditional undergrad and graduate programs, so we are the only platform out there that will truly connect people with their best options.  Emily DeRuy, a reporter from Fusion, said it best when she called us the “OkCupid” between borrowers and lenders.

How is Achieve Lending a possible solution to the student loan crisis?

The news, including these stories and op-ed pieces, underscores the widespread and often catastrophic effects of misguided financial decisions – defaults, bankruptcies, and a multi-trillion dollar loan bubble. Achieve Lending is all about educating and empowering people to avoid the destructive fate of making poor decisions by attacking the root cause, which is lack of information or mis-information.  We share relevant content with many partner bloggers and across all media channels; we guide people through vital explanations of key loan terms and conditions (there are many nuances!); and, most importantly, we facilitate the time-consuming process of comparing the ever-growing pool of options – simply, objectively and quickly. Knowledge really is power, and we’re all about helping people grow their knowledge to become the best they can be.

What are some of your goals for Achieve Lending in the next few years?

Achieve Lending would like to become the go-to source for education financing in the United States.  After that, we’re going global!

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About Michele Schechter

Michele has been a director with Financial Poise since 2012. View her LinkedIn profile here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michele-schechter-46b9824a/

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