First Republic Bank Review: Student Loan Refinancing Temporarily Suspended
Editor's Note: The First Republic Bank refinancing program has been temporarily suspended for “45 to 60 days,” according to First Republic Bank. We will leave this information up for now so you can see what the program has looked like historically. If and when First Republic resumes their program, we will let you know.
Without a doubt, First Republic Bank offers the lowest rates in the market. However, you’re only eligible if you live in close proximally to an office near San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Newport Beach, San Diego, Portland (Oregon), Jackson Hole (Wyoming), Boston, Palm Beach (Florida), Greenwich or New York City. If you reside in one of those locations and you’re ready to save more while paying off your student loans, here are the features you’ll love: (1) incredibly low rates; (2) early payment; (3) no loan fees, and (4) excellent service.
Incredibly low rates. While the majority of other student loan refinancing institutions have fixed rates that start from 3-4%, First Republic Bank offers fixed-only interest rates that start at 1.95%. You'll either qualify for these rates or you won't, so don't worry about any bait and switch. If you can qualify for the product, you're definitely going to save money as compared to the other lenders.
They want you as a customer. First Republic Bank is willing to offer such low rates because it serves as a loss leader for their business model. They are confident that your lifetime customer value will exceed any loss they incur at lending to you at such low rates. The benefit is that you'll save thousands of dollars on interest charges. The drawback is that you'll have to jump through a few more hoops in establishing a real relationship with them.
Extra work. To qualify for this offer, you will need to: (1) open a First Republic Bank checking account; (2) set up direct deposit and automatic loan payments from the checking account; (3) maintain at least the greater of 20% of the approved loan or $10,000 in the checking account; (4) live in a First Republic Bank market; and (5) any other qualifications the bank may add from time to time. It's a small price to pay for such a good deal.
Interest rebate. First Republic Bank won’t “punish” you for wanting to pay off your debt early. In fact, you can earn back the interest you paid on your loan if you pay it in full within the first four years. The rebate goes up to 2% of the original loan balance. So, not only are you getting a great interest rate, First Republic will refund even more of your interest if you pay off your loans early.
Private banker. If you refinance your student loans with First Republic Bank, you won’t have to pay origination, annual or prepayment fees on your loan. You'll also get paired up with a private banker that can answer any questions you have about the bank and the products they offer. I've found this pretty helpful over the years, because if you have any financial need it's easy to ping them and see if they have a product that would be useful to you.
Who are First Republic Bank's competitors?
First Republic Bank is a solid student loan refinancing company with a legitimate chance of giving you a great deal but to get a full sense of the interest rates available to you it's a good idea to check out the competition. The list below includes the other student loan refinancing companies that you may want to consider when searching for the lowest interest rate.
- Earnest. Flexible repayment plans allows you to pick your own term. Financially backed by Navient, giving them some of the lowest interest rates available in the current market.
- CommonBond. With their Pencils for Promise program, CommonBond offers a social mission to student loan refinancing. They have a dedicated law firm group located in NYC, which means a team is available to specifically help you through the refinancing process.
- SoFi. SoFi is by far the largest lender in the student loan refinancing market. They may not be able to offer you the best rate as they can rely on their brand name to bring in borrowers but there are lots of other perks when you refinance with SoFi and they are actively expanding their products if you're interested in keeping your financial life with one company.
- Credible. Known as the "Kayak of student loan refinancing", Credible offers you access to a marketplace of lenders. Fill out a form once and Credible will pre-qualify you with a bunch of lenders to get rates (soft credit check). To confirm the actual rates, you'll have to continue the application with the individual lender.
- LendKey. If you're looking to borrow from a local credit union, LendKey is the lender for you. They partner with local banks and credit unions to offer you student loan refinancing in your neighborhood.
- ELFI. A relatively new player, ELFI is backed by SouthEast Bank, a retail bank that recognized the value of getting into the student loan refinancing market. More competition is always better and if you end up with multiple offers, you can use them to play off the various student loan refinancing companies to get the best deal for you.
- Splash Financial. Splash Financial is based in Cleveland and one of the newest players in the refinancing space. Originally they only offered loans to medical residents and fellows but have recently been expanding thanks to a partnership with Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed).
- Laurel Road. Primarily a good option for medical professionals (which seem to be their target audience), Laurel Road is an option for parents that want to refinance Parent PLUS loans in their child's name.
- Interest Rates: 1.95%+
- Bonus Cashback: $300
- Loan Types:
- Loan Terms:
- Rating: 10/10
- Important Disclosures: To qualify for this offer, you will need to: (1) open a First Republic Bank checking account; (2) set up direct deposit and automatic loan payments from the checking account; (3) maintain at least the greater of 20% of the approved loan or $10,000 in the checking account; (4) live in a First Republic Bank market; and (5) any other qualifications the bank may add from time to time.
- Visit First Republic Bank