Business editor/reporter

Matt Olberding is a Lincoln native and University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate who has been covering business for the Journal Star since 2005.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2017 released an annual database of student loan complaints in October after the federal fiscal year ended.

It didn't do so last year, and it's unclear whether the report will be released later or isn't coming out at all.

However, LendEDU, an online marketplace for student loans and other financial products, took it upon itself to analyze the CFPB's complaint database and put out its own report.

Among the four largest servicers of federal student loans, Lincoln-based Nelnet again had the second-lowest number and percentage of complaints, while Great Lakes, which Nelnet bought in February, again had the lowest amount.

However, as a percentage of overall complaints, the two servicers didn't fare as well.

In 2017, Nelnet and Great Lakes combined were named in about 7 percent of all complaints. In 2018, that doubled to about 14 percent, according to the LendEDU report.

That may sound like a significant increase, but consider this: Nelnet and Great Lakes combined serviced approximately 14,660,000 loans in the federal government's 2018 fiscal year. The total number of complaints between the two was 736.

Also, the number of complaints the two had dropped by more than 250, but their percentage went up because the companies ahead of them greatly reduced their number of complaints.

For example, Navient, the company with the worst record, had 2,239 complaints this year, a 64 percent decrease from the 6,274 it had last year.

Ben Kiser, a spokesman for Nelnet, said both it and Great Lakes succeed when borrowers are able to repay their loans.

"Our team strives to provide the best student loan experience possible and help borrowers find the right options for their individual situation," he said in an email. "Although we’re not perfect, we work hard to be the best for our customers every day."

Big bucks in local real estate

Have you ever wondered about the sheer size of Lincoln's housing market?

Online real estate site Zillow recently released a report that provides that information.

According to Zillow, the Lincoln housing market was worth $19.7 billion in 2018 after gaining $1.3 billion in value from the previous year.

Some other highlights from the Zillow report:

* Lincoln's housing market has gained $5.5 billion, or 39.2 percent, in value since the housing market bottomed out in 2012.

* The local housing market makes up makes up 16.4 percent of the statewide housing value of $120.2 billion.

Overall, Zillow said the U.S. housing market is now worth $33.3 trillion.

More are moving out

If you want to know how many people are moving into or out of Nebraska, you could use data that most people consider reliable, like what comes from the Census Bureau, which showed that Nebraska had net out-migration of 3,314 from July 1, 2017- June 30, 2018.

But it's more fun to use less-reliable data, like what comes from moving companies.

Three of them sent me emails with reports in the first few days of the year. And all of them have widely varying results.

Atlas Van Lines said Nebraska had the seventh-highest rate of outgoing moves among states, with 58.1 percent.

United Van Lines also had Nebraska with more people moving out of the state, but it was 52.6 percent.

United took a little deeper dive into the data, which showed many more people moving out of Nebraska than in for retirement (which makes sense), but also a lot more people moving into the state for a job than leaving it for one.

The third company, U-Haul, painted a different picture. It called Nebraska a "growth state" even though it barely eked out a gain with 50.1 percent of people moving in.

So what can you take from all of this?

It's pretty clear, as it has been for years, that more people move out of the state than into it, each year.

Another possible takeaway might be that people moving into Nebraska are stingier because they are more likely to use U-Haul than a full-service mover.

Ranking the rankings

Regular readers of this column know I sometimes like to end it with a rundown of recent high rankings of Lincoln and/or Nebraska in national reports. Here are the latest ones:

* 10th-best state to raise a family (WalletHub)

* 26th-best city for beer drinkers (SmartAsset)

Best of the Buzz

Excerpts from recent Biz Buzz posts:

* There is a sign up in the window of the former Save Best store at 27th and Y streets saying it will become a dollar store.

* A couple of new bars will be coming to Lincoln. Omaha-based Tavern 180 has filed a liquor license application indicating it will open a location in the Wilderness Hills shopping Center near 27th Street and Yankee Hill Road.

Also, Lady Luck Lounge, a 1950s Las Vegas-themed bar, hopes to be open by Valentine's Day at 1332 P St.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-2647 or molberding@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @LincolnBizBuzz.


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