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So here's the situation. My employer is switching 401(k) providers. I believe they outsource payroll and employee benefits to Benefits Company A. They want to switch to Benefits Company B.

I currently have a loan out of the 401(k) under Benefits Company A. Benefits Company A said that the loan balance cannot be transferred to Benefits Company B (but the remaining amount on the 401k is fine). Benefits Company claims that you either default on the loan or pay it in full before the switch happens. Is this right?

This doesn't make sense to me. Wouldn't the new 401(k) provider assume all aspects of the 401(k) from loans to balances?

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Possible duplicate for sure, but the other question didn't address the loan conditions thoroughly. I want to leave this and tweak it so it is more about the loan. p.s. I think you left out an identifier for which company said you cannot keep the loan (last sentence in the second paragraph). –  MrChrister Feb 3 at 5:09
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2 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

The question is whether it is the same plan or a different plan. The provider is essentially servicing the plan. So if it is the same plan - the loan should remain as is and the new provider should be servicing it. If they're rolling over from the old plan into the new plan - then you have to finish paying the loan.

I'd go with this to the payroll/benefits officer in the company, as it is unlikely that they in fact created a whole new plan. It is more likely that they're just switching providers for their plan and the new company doesn't want to service a loan it didn't get the originating fees for.

Talk to your company payroll people to sort it out, as since you're not quitting your job and the switch is because of their own decision - they should not be calling on your loan.

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And he can't be the only one impacted, more than 25% of 401(k) holders have loans outstanding. –  JoeTaxpayer Feb 3 at 10:58
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If every time a company switched 401K providers all loans would be called, there would be a giant uproar.

Imagine the worst case scenario. Somebody takes out a 50K loan that closes on Friday. On Monday they are told they must pay the loan in 30 days because they are switching 401K providers.The employee would be forced to either find 50K or it would be considered distribution and they would owe taxes and penalties.

The employer would now have a bunch of unhappy employees.

If this was the normal way of operating very few employers would be willing to make the switch because it would cost their employees money. It would also eliminate a string that holds some employees to the company. If you still have a year to pay on the loan, you are less likely to be looking for another job.

Possibilities: - there is a misunderstanding regarding the loan situation. The documents could be poorly written, or the briefer may have done a poor job of explaining the situation. Solution: ask for clarification. - The company made a very poor choice in plan providers. Solution: The cancellation of all outstanding loans seem like such a bad choice you need to ask.

What to ask for: an explanation on how your loan will be handled. Ask if there will be a gap in payments during the blackout period, followed by a double payment. Ask if a separate check needs to be sent during the blackout period. Ask if the final due date is sent.

Call HR, also contact the new benefit provider. Review your loan documents to see if it is addressed. They should cover what happens if you are fired, you quit, you retire, you go on disability. See if they discuss change of benefit companies. IRS regulations cover frequency of payments (at least quarterly) and maximum loan term (5 years unless real estate). Your documents should specify interest rate, minimum payment schedule, and maximum loan term.

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+1, but Monday wouldn't be so bad. It's having the loan called after you've used the money for whatever purpose. Regardless, your points are correct, a change of custodian can't require all loans be called. –  JoeTaxpayer Feb 4 at 2:21
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