Student debt in the U.S. currently stands at around $1.2 trillion, with over 40 million Americans tied to student loan obligations. While many commentators have labeled student loans as a crushing burden that's inhibiting Millennials' financial progression, new research suggests that the impact of student loans may be overblown. A recent study by TransUnion found that student loan obligations didn't prevent Millennial consumers from accessing and paying off other credit lines or mortgages in the longer term. The research also found that consumers with loans in repayment had lower delinquency rates on new accounts than their peers without student loans. As demand in the student loan market continues to grow, so does the number of consumer options available. Online platforms and peer to peer lending schemes are now facilitating better rates and more flexibility for student borrowers instantaneously. LendKey provides an online marketplace that connects borrowers with credit unions and local banks. The company recently received a $1 billion commitment from Apollo global and have also partnered with the world's largest credit union, Navy Federal. CEO Vince Passione says that online platforms are providing key opportunities for debt refinancing and more manageable payment schemes than ever before. So will online players like LendKey, SoFi and CommonBond spell the end of the traditional bank loan? Amelia Martyn-Hemphill finds out what's on the horizon for generation debt.
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