Here are 50 of the most common
words, phrases, acronyms, and abbreviations
you'll hear at First Marblehead.

Welcome to your quick guide to
FMC Speak!

click any item

29 or 34 Credit Agreement eSign LIBOR SarBox or SOX
ADP CreditDesk FICO Marblehead SC or SBC
ALE Credit-ready FMC MI Securitization
BCG Creditworthy FMD NBIT Telesales
CapMarkets Customer FMER OCR The Old Logo
Capstone Decisioning G-Fee Peak The PRU
Client ELM Guarantor P-Note TIPs
CP ePath Jack PSB Webex



29 or 34

The Company occupies two floors in the Prudential Center (aka: The PRU). The 29th Floor is the home of Corporate Compliance, Finance, Accounting, Communications and Marketing. On 34, you will find the Offices of the CEO and Chairman of the Board, Human Resources, as well as First Marblehead Data Services.

In other words, this has nothing to do with the ongoing debate about who should have been the MVP of the 2004 World Series winning Red Sox. Although, on a clear summer night, you can get a nice aerial view of Fenway Park from 34.

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ADP (Automatic Data Processing, INC) is one of the largest providers of computerized transaction processing and information-based business solutions — including Payroll Services for FMC.

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ALE (Atkinson Lucas Enterprises) is the common name of the software system used to manage the status of a loan - from application through disbursement.

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BCG is the Business Consulting Group
The BCG was created in 2005 to drive business improvements. Members of this team are experienced employees who know the details of the everyday operations. With extensive knowledge of the work processes and tools, they play a leadership role on our business process re-engineering teams, and often carry the responsibility for writing the business requirements, identifying the areas of impact, and outlining the training needs.

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BD is short for Business Development

The Business Development Team is responsible for acquiring new clients and expanding our relationships with existing accounts. Our client list includes many of the most familiar names in banking, consumer finance, consumer marketing and education.

To learn more about loan programs and the business development process, be sure to complete the Business Model Overview, in ePath.

BD is managed by EVP, Sandy Stark.


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The Capital Markets Group which is part of the Finance Group, headed by EVP & CFO, John Hupalo, plays a central role in the securitization process. This team is responsible for the creation and structure of the National Collegiate Student Loan Trusts, as well as the relationship with the capital investment community.

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First Marblehead’s loan decisioning engine. Applications are automatically downloaded to this program and based on a robust set of rules, the software determines if the loan is conditionally approved and continues to move through the process, needs to be reviewed further by an analyst, or declined.

Capstone was installed in 2006, replacing it's predecessor, CreditDesk.


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CEL stands for Continuing Education Loan
Some banks offer loans for students attending school less than half-time. Students may be enrolled in graduate or undergraduate academic programs.


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First Marblehead's success is tied closely to the success of the schools, banks and other lenders who are involved in the creation and execution of funding options and alternatives for students and their families.

Our client list grows every quarter, as we work to create programs and extend our services to financial institutions who want to expand their portfolio and at the same time, limit the assumed risks associated with the student loan marketplace.

The solutions provided by First Marblehead for our clients include program creation, marketing and application support, telesales, customer service, loan processing, securitization and loan servicing.

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Center Partners is one of the First Marblehead's Third Party Service Partners. Since the spring of 2006, CP has served as the first line of customer service for the students and families who have applied for loans.

With several hundred agents at call centers in Idaho and Colorado, Center Partners relieves some of the pressure associated with securing funds for school by providing information, answering questions and doing whatever can be done to expedite the decisioning process.

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Credit Agreement
A Credit Agreement is a contract between a borrower and lender that contains the terms of the loan. This would include borrower and co-borrower information, lender information, school information, the amount of the loan, the repayment terms, interest rates, and origination fees. The borrower (and co-borrower) sign this contract to show they are accepting the terms of the loan and promise to repay. The Credit Agreement is sometimes referred to as the Promissory Note or P-Note .

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CreditDesk is First Marblehead’s old decisioning engine.

It was replaced with Capstone in 2006.


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Credit-ready refers to individuals, usually graduate level students, who may have little or no credit history, to whom we will extend credit without a current income, and without a co-signer.  

You will see this term with and without a hyphen, one or two words, capped and lower case. Relax, there's nothing you can do about it.


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Creditworthy refers to individuals who have proven they have an acceptable credit history, and a positive income. With the exception of some grad student loans (see credit-ready), the student or the co-signer must be creditworthy.

The criteria used to determine if an applicant is "creditworthy" may vary. In general, here are the requirements:

  • US citizen or permanent resident (two years)
  • Wage earner or other source of income (two years)
  • Acceptable credit history (21 months)

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The CSRLink is one of the primary references for the Client Services workforce. From the homepage, customer service agents and loan ops analysts can access online forms and other documentation needed to assist borrowers and process loans.

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Our customers are the students and their families who need money for tuition and other expenses associated with the completion of their education. Since 18 year-olds often have little or no credit history, work experience or significant source of income, most of the loan applications we process require a creditworthy cosigner.

Our customers start out as applicants and co-applicants, and if approved, become borrowers and co-borrowers. The loan application and approval process is rigorous, and in many cases, it may be the first borrowing experience for someone, who is now facing a commitment to payback an investment of tens of thousands of dollars over a 20 year period after graduation.

In FY 2006, we received over a million applications from customers, and responded to nearly three times that number of inquiries via the web, phone and mail. We make every effort to respond to our customers with efficiency, accuracy and professionalism, and to meet or exceed the service levels promised to our clients.


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The process of determining if a loan can be approved or declined. Capstone is our automated decisioning engine, which can make a preliminary decision on a loan. Our analysts can also decision a loan based on a review of documentation that was sent in for a loan.

In case you were wondering, here's how the term is handled on
transitive. verb.   de·ci·sioned, de·ci·sion·ing, de·ci·sions Sports
To defeat by a decision, as in boxing: decisioned his opponent in the third round.

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Nearly all of our loan products fall into one of two broad categories:
Direct to Consumer and School Channel.

The DTC products are private loans which are marketed to students and their families, and are paid directly to the borrowers.

  • Lenders market these loans directly to students 
  • School Certification is not required  
  • Funds are sent directly to the student
    (Note: some schools and lenders arrange for co-payment to school and student)
  • Checks are made payable to the student and co-applicant in one disbursement

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ELM (Electronic Loan Management)

ELM is a central disbursement agency that handles all loan disbursements directly to the schools (SC Loans) either by a wire transfer or electronic file transfer.

Here's a link to the Glossary on their website.

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ePath is the website used by Learning & Development to create and deliver online learning to employees of First Marblehead and our business partners.

Click here for an introduction to ePath Online Learning.

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eSign provides our customers (Borrowers and/or Cosigners) with the option to review and sign their Credit Agreements online. The process includes an online identity authentication “quiz” composed of questions created from the customer’s credit report (not required of Borrowers with CW Cosigners).

Since this process was introduced in 2005, many of our clients have added this option for their customers.


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A FICO score is a credit score developed by Fair Isaac & Co. Credit scoring is a method of determining the likelihood that credit users will pay their bills.

Here's a snapshot of FICO Facts from one of their websites (

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No, First Marblehead is not a bank and it is not located in Marblehead. FMC is a provider of outsourcing services for private education lending.

Since our creation in 1991, it's been our belief that everyone who wants to go to college should have the opportunity.

The sticker symbol FMD was created at the time of the Initial Public Offering (October 31, 2003).

Click here to go to the corporate website.

Click here to check the price of FMD Stock.


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First Marblehead Data Services acts as the administrator for the trusts which are created as part of the securitization process. FMDS monitors the repayment activity of the borrowers and is responsibile for accounting and reports to the investors.

FMDS is a subsidiary of FMC.


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FMER (First Marblehead Education Resources)

FMER (pronounced like the bone), is a wholly owned subsidiary of FMC, and provides outsourced loan origination, customer service, default prevention, default processing, quality management and administrative services.

Andy Hawley, EVP of Client Services is also the President of FMER.

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G-Fee or O-Fee is short for Origination Fee

This is an administrative fee charged to the borrower by the guarantor of a loan, which allows the guarantor to build a cash reserve to be used to repay lenders if the borrower defaults (does not repay the loan). The origination fee is added to the amount borrowed.

The O-Fee percentage will vary according to a number of factors, including the credit rating of the creditworthy borrower. Determining the dollar amount of the origination is tricky. Many customers (as well as employees) are confused by this process.

One would expect that a $10,000 loan with a 6.5% origination fee would result in a loan amount of $10,650. But this is not accurate. The assumed figure ($650) must be divided by the O-Fee factor (1 minus the O-Fee percentage) - in this case .935. Click here to see this formula in action.


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First Marblehead serves as the program manager of the GATE Education Loan Program, helping educational institutions customize and implement this innovative alternative loan program.

Bank of America, N.A. is the lender for the program, providing a stable, trusted source of funding for GATE loans.

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An agency that guarantees repayment to the lender if the borrower defaults on the loan. For most of the loans processed by First Marblehead, TERi, the Education Resources Institute, is the Guarantor.

If a student (or their cosigner) falls behind in their repayment plan, every effort is made to help the borrower get back on schedule. When these and other collection efforts fail, the loan may be considered to be "in default." At that time, TERi would repay the bank to cover the amount loaned to the student plus interest.

It is also important to note that most borrowers are required to pay a fee, known as the origination fee or O-Fee. Most of this money which is included in the total loan amount, goes into a cash reserve, which in turn helps to cover the costs associated with defaulted loans.


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Jack L. Kopnisky joined First Marblehead as President and Chief Operating Officer on September 6, 2005 and began serving as our Chief Executive Officer on September 27, 2005.

Prior to joining First Marblehead, Mr. Kopnisky served as the President of the Consumer Banking Group at KeyCorp, a financial services firm, where he was responsible for Retail Banking, Business Banking, Consumer Finance and Community Development from June 2000 until August 2005. During these years Mr. Kopnisky served as Chief Executive Officer and President of KeyBank's USA Consumer Finance Business which included Auto, Student, Mortgage, Recreational and Home Equity Lending.

Mr. Kopnisky earned a B.A. in Economics and Business Administration from Grove City College.

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An acronym for the London Interbank Offered Rate, this financial index is regulated by the British Banker’s Association and fluctuates in a similar way as the Prime rate.
Most of the loans processed by First Marblehead charge an interest rate that is based on the LIBOR.

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Located on the North Shore, 22 miles from Boston, this historic town is the birthplace of the American Navy AND the original home of First Marblehead. The Little Harbor office was closed in 2005 after nearly two decades. One of the few remaining connections to Marblehead is the practice of naming the conference rooms in the PRU after some of the more scenic and historic spots in town.

On 29, there is Abbott Hall, Crocker Park, Redd's Pond and Tinker's Island.

On 34, there is Fort Sewall, Little Harbor, Peaches Point, and others.

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Missing Information – when a borrower receives their Credit Agreement, they are asked to sign the agreement and return documents which prove the information provided on the loan application. When some (or all) of the documentation is not provided, it is referred to as a piece of MI that is then requested of the borrower.

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NBIT is the New Business Implementation Team

NBIT (rhymes with "nip it") is a cross-functional team which facilitiates the launch of a new client or the implementation of new functionality or the modification - simple or complex - of an existing loan program.

NBIT bridges the gaps which might otherwise occur between the business folks who are close to the needs of the clients, and the IT Teams that are tasked with the delivery of whatever has been promised.

As the Business Development Team identifies new prospects and works to extend existing accounts, NBIT plays a critical role in the eventual development and delivery of the products and functionality the clients need, and expect.


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One Cabot Road – the address and “nickname” of our Medford facility.

The Company occupies the second and third floors of the building.

OCR is home to most of the Loan Operations Group, and parts of Customer Service and IT.

Click here for map.

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Program Information Pages is an online reference system which provides detailed information about our current loan programs, including interest rates, credit score cut-offs, and other eligibility information.

This resource is used primarily by our Customer Service organization.

Here's a snapshot from PIP.



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The Park Square Building is located at 31 St James Avenue in Boston. The Company occupies most of three floors (4,5 & 6) in this classic office building.

Click here for map.

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Origination of student loans is generally subject to two seasonal trends each year. These “peaks” occur from May to August and then again from November to January (the latter sometimes referred to as “mini-peak”) when the volume of loan applications increases with the approach of tuition payment due dates. Peak season is when a majority of our loan volume is generated.

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SarBox or SOX

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 is a United States federal law passed in response to a number of major corporate and accounting scandals. SOX requires senior management and directors to take a substantially more proactive role in overseeing and monitoring the financial reporting process. This translates into more reporting of metrics and documenting of activities on all levels of the company.

To learn more, check out the Overview of the Sarbannes-Oxley Act in ePath, or click here to go to the Sarbanes-Oxley Cheat Sheet on cnet.

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Loan Securitization is a complex and unique process, and one of the cornerstones of our business. There are three general components:

  • Creation of the Trust
  • Raising funds through the sale of bonds as long term investments, and
  • The purchase of student loans from our clients.

The Trust is a separate business entity, known as the National Collegiate Student Loan Trust.

Over the past few years, this process, which is managed by the Finance Group has been completed three or four times each year (also see CapMarkets).

For more information, be sure to complete the Business Model Overview in ePath.


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SC or SBC (School Channel or School Based Channel)
Nearly all of our products fall into one of two broad categories: Direct to Consumer and School Channel. SC products are offered to students by the schools, and the funds are paid directly to the schools. Due to the certification process, and direct payment, these loans often have slightly less risk and subsequently lower interest rates. Some School Channel Programs offer the option of multiple disbursements, so that a student may complete an application for the tuition for two semesters, and the school will receive two separate payments.

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The loan process starts with the application, and while most are completed online, there are thousands of students and families who choose to make a phonecall and go through the process with the help of a trained telesales representative.

The Telesales Group supports and manages several third party call centers whose agents receive these calls on behalf of our clients. Telesales is part of the Client Services organization.

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TERi is The Education Resources Institute

The oldest and largest private loan guarantor providing education financing and information services to students and their families. TERi offers loan programs for: undergraduate; graduate, and professional students; parents of elementary and secondary school students; and students enrolled in specialized programs of study.

TERi is an important business partner to First Marblehead in many ways. Most importantly, TERi is the guarantor for most of the loans that are processed and securitized by First Marblehead.

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The Old Logo

You see it here and there...
on shirts, bags, mugs, old documents, and chiseled into the hallways on 29 and 34. The sharp-edged diamond and font were released in 2006, after serving the Company since it's inception.

The new look is clean, simple, bold and often accompanied by a phrase reminding everyone of
what we do.

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The Prudential Tower (part of the Prudential Center complex) is Boston's second-tallest skyscraper after the John Hancock Tower. It was designed by Charles Luckman and Associates for Prudential Insurance. Completed in 1964, the building is 759 ft (229 m) tall and has 52 floors.

A 50th floor observation deck, called the "Prudential Skywalk", is currently the highest observation deck in New England that is open to the public (the John Hancock Tower's observation deck having been closed since 2001).The PRU, as it is called by locals, was the tallest building in the world outside New York on completion.

First Marblehead moved into the PRU in December 2003 and currently occupies the 29th & 34th Floors.

Click here for map.

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TIL refers to the Truth In Lending ACT

The most relevant information from this act is found in Regulation Z:

1) All information sent to potential borrowers that discusses the different costs of loans must remain uniform between lenders. Therefore, lenders are obligated to employ the same terminology when explaining their rates.

2) All creditors must disclose both the cost of credit in terms of an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) and what all the costs of the credit transaction would before it is completed.

3) This act applies to credit transactions made to consumers for a personal, family, or household purpose up to $25,000.

4) However, the act does not limit interest changes or govern the decision to make a loan to the consumer.

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Today's Information Page (aka Reference Online) is the website that connects all 500 members of the Client Services Organization with news, process updates, and business information. Click here to visit.

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WebEx creates solutions for organizations worldwide to meet their most ambitious goals for marketing, sales, training, and support. At FM, WebEx provides two technology driven, communications tools:

WebEx Office is an internet application which is used to organize and share documents among employees. Click here to go to our secure intranet,

WebEx is also used to conduct live meetings over the internet. Groups across the country can efficiently connect to discuss a business proposition, share ideas and stay in touch with our clients.

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