It’s no secret that the student loan industry is full of scams and lawsuits that can create pitfalls for borrowers. In an industry known for misinformation and bad actors, Summer promises to stand on the side of borrowers.
Our founding team chose to register Summer as a benefit corporation as part of our commitment to helping student loan borrowers improve their financial health. In the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis, public benefit corporations (PBCs) emerged as a new class of socially conscious companies with the dual purpose of generating profit and public benefits, such as protecting the environment or tackling social ills. Registering as a PBC allowed our team to clearly communicate the company’s mission in our founding documents: Summer exists to empower student loan borrowers across the country and improve their financial health.
Our benefit corporation status is a key component of this commitment, functioning as a legal tool that creates long-term mission alignment and value creation. This is because the directors and managers of a benefit corporation are legally required to consider more than just profits. PBCs must balance the considerations of multiple stakeholders, including customers, employees, and the communities in which they operate. More broadly, our PBC status serves as a daily reminder of what we stand for and why we work to create a positive impact on an industry that desperately needs it.
Of course, staying true to our values involves more than just a mission statement and a government filing; it requires a strong commitment to the financial health of borrowers throughout our strategic priorities, day-to-day decision making, and business practices. Thus, our commitment is also firmly rooted in our business model. Our team is fed up with the conflagration of unexpected fees in the market, often hidden in fine print, that target cash-strapped borrowers. Instead, we have prioritized a sustainable business model we’re proud of: support from universities and employers who hire us to provide advisory services that improve the financial health of their students and employees, respectively. In doing so, our incentives are firmly aligned with borrowers and their communities.
Our commitment to borrowers also affects the way we’ve shaped our team. For existing teammates, our social mission reinforces the values that make us excited to show up to work every day. We are determined to build a great product rooted in our understanding of the far-reaching “domino effect” that student debt has on borrowers. For prospective teammates, knowing that Summer is a benefit corporation helps them and us decide whether they are aligned with the mission and want to join the team.
So whether you’re a student loan borrower, a future teammate, a member of our community—or all three—when we say we are committed to helping borrowers improve their financial health, we really mean it. If you’re interested in learning more about our mission, joining our team, or just need help sorting through your student loans, we’d love to hear from you!