Former Natixis CEO John Hailer on the Role That Student Loans Play in Delaying Retirement

Any recent commentary on the looming student debt crisis requires at least a little bit of focus on the role that companies are playing in its erasure. Former CEO of Natixis, John Hailer has been at the forefront of corporate-focused student loan forgiveness. Hailer rose to prominence when he pioneered a debt forgiveness plan while working at the company for more than ten years.

Now working as the President and Chairman of Diffractive Managers Group, Hailer took some time to discuss the very real impacts of student debt.

A Rapidly Growing Problem

As of 2022, the problem with student loan debt had reached a capitulating point, totaling more than $1.75 trillion in private and Federal debt alone. With an average loan of $29k per person, it was easy for Hailer to understand that a very real issue was fomenting below the surface.

Younger individuals have long carried the bulk of student loan debt, with the majority of borrowers aged 25 to 34, owing nearly $500 billion of the total $1.75 trillion. Education-related debts can be carried throughout life and into middle age and that is precisely the kind of issue that former exec at Natixis John Hailer is looking to address.

A report published by the Education Data Initiative revealed that massive swathes of student loan debt could have a recession-like impact on the United States economy. Continued debt accrual has led to crushing credit ratings, a lack of home ownership, and a reduction in overall business owners.

Addressing the Issue at Work

To best address the issue at hand, John Hailer knew that solutions could manifest within the workplace structure itself. After studying the information presented to him, Hailer knew that Natixis Investment Managers could make a large impact on their workforce and the future of their people.

Hailer stated in an interview with Boss Magazine, “We saw how as a business we could make an immediate impact in the lives of our employees while also demonstrating how the corporate world days a whole can move the needle.”

As the former business leader at Natixis, John Hailer was instrumental in developing the Natixis Student Loan Repayment Benefit, first launched in January 2016. The program offered up to $10k in forgiveness to qualifying employees, aka those that had been with the company for at least five years while holding a Federal Stafford or Perkins Loan.

Natixis employees were quick to take up the initiative and run with it as the company embraced its success. Hailer stated, “It was huge. The feedback we received was well beyond our expectations.”

As a result of the efforts put in place by Natixis, other members of the industry would soon follow in their footsteps by offering repayment programs for student loans.

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