Former CEO of Natixis John Hailer has long been at the forefront of the conversation surrounding student debt and its impact on the next generation of earners. Presently employed as the Chairman at Diffractive Managers Group, Hailer had previously worked for more than a decade with Natixis as their Global Asset Manager and chief Executive Officer.
Revered for his work implementing a student loan forgiveness program at Natixis, John Hailer took to Boss Magazine to explore how crushing student debt is impacting future generations.
The Crushing Scope of Student Loans
it used to be at least semi-common knowledge that a college education would help prepare professionals for the working world, guiding them to the paying jobs they need to succeed and plan for life after retirement. For a long time, this may have been the case, yet in recent years, studies have revealed it to be anything but.
Former Exec at Natixis, John Hailer combed through swathes of data to find out that expenses at colleges and universities throughout the United States were handing out loans far beyond the ability of their students to pay. As a result, federal and private student loan debt has totaled more than $1.75 trillion, averaging over $28k per borrower.
To offset this growing issue in the professional world, Hailer decided that Natixis had to take action. Hailer said of the revelations found in his research, “It meant one-quarter of our working population was saving nothing for retirement because of the excessive debt burden of student loans.”
Making an Impact in the Workplace
Understanding that saving for retirement is vital to success in the workplace, John Hailer made the conscious decision to render a change in his place of business.
Hailer stated, “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 as a whole can move the needle in a big way.”
Through Hailer’s efforts, Natixis would develop an initiative in January 2016 that will pay back more than $10,000 to every qualifying full-time employee. Qualified employees had to have been with the company for at least five years while possessing a Perkins or Federal Stafford loan.
The initiative was an immediate hit and within the first year, Natixis was helping to relieve the student loan debt of nearly 20% of its workforce. Hailer added, “It was huge. The feedback we received was well beyond our expectations.”
As the former business leader at Natixis, John Hailer continues to push forward with similar efforts in his new space at Diffractive Managers Group. Hailer has seen his efforts mirrored by the U.S. government with its efforts regarding the Student Debt Relief Plan that was launched in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.