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Best banks for student loan refinancing
Compare top banks for competitive rates, flexible repayments and more.
6 best banks for refinancing student loans
Best for low rates with a high balance: First Republic Bank
- Loan amounts: $40,000 to $300,000
- APRs: 1.95%-3.95%
- Loan terms: 5 years to 15 years
- Eligibility requirements: Have between $40,000 and $300,000 in student loans, 750+ credit score, 24+ months working in current industry, US citizen or permanent resident, First Republic checking account and access to a First Republic Bank branch.
First Republic Bank is one of the only lenders that offers fixed rates this low — so low you could even save on your federal loans. It also offers a 2% rebate to borrowers who can pay off their debt within four years.
But you need to have a First Republic Bank checking account to get the lowest rates and a relatively high loan balance to qualify at all. You can start your application online, but you’re required to visit a branch to complete it in person — and First Republic doesn’t have branches in all states.
Best for flexible repayments: Discover
- Loan amounts: Up to $5,000
- APRs: 2.8% to 12.49%
- Loan terms: 10 years to 20 years
- Eligibility requirements: Must be a US citizen or permanent resident with a US address, good credit standing, no more than $150,000 in student debt, verifiable income, and the primary borrower on all loans up for consolidation.
Discover is an online bank that offers one of the most flexible options when it comes to student loan refinancing. It has six repayment assistance options you can take advantage of if you’re considering a career change that could temporarily lower your income — like going back to school or starting a business. While you can bring on a cosigner to help you get better rates, you must meet all eligibility requirements on your own.
Best for parent borrowers: Citizens Bank
- Loan amounts: $10,000 to $350,000
- APRs: 2.72% to 8.38%
- Loan terms: Up to 5 years
- Eligibility requirements: US citizen, permanent resident or resident alien; make at least $24,000; at least $10,000 in student debt; made at least 12 full, on-time repayments if you don't have a bachelor's degree or 3 full payments if you do.
Parent PLUS Loans are one of the most expensive federal loans out there, and Citizens Bank is one of the few banks that will refinance them. Its rates are relatively competitive, with the lowest APRs going to borrowers with the highest degree — great if you have a doctorate, not so great if you didn’t finish school. Its forbearance options are limited, though. And you can’t refinance federal loans on an income-driven repayment plan.
Best for refinancing without a degree: PNC Bank
- Loan amounts: $10,000 to $75,000
- APRs: 4.16% to 7.07% (varies by loan term)
- Loan terms: 10 years to 15 years
- Eligibility requirements: Satisfactory credit score, repaid student loans for at least 24 months, US citizen or permanent resident, lived in the US for the past two years, two years of continuous income or employment.
If you didn’t graduate but still have debt, PNC Bank might be a good choice. Many other banks require you to have a degree, and rates max out lower than other lenders out there. But you might want to consider another option if lower monthly repayments are your priority, since its maximum term is five years shorter than what many other banks offer.
Best for healthcare professionals: Laurel Road
- Loan amounts: Starting $5,000
- APRs: 1.99% to 6.65%
- Loan terms: 5 years to 20 years
- Eligibility requirements:All loans must be for qualified higher education expenses and in grace or repayment status and cannot be in default. You must have annual income of $60,000 or higher.
Laurel Road is the online arm of KeyBank and one of the few banks that accepts debt from an associate degree, as long as it was for a healthcare-related profession.
Medical students might also want to take note of this lender, which offers deferment during your residency or fellowship, as well as a six-month grace period. If you have a low debt load, it could also offer a good deal, since shorter terms come with lower rates.
Best for comparing local options: LendKey
- Loan amounts: 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years
- APRs: Starting at 1.9%
- Loan terms: 5 years to 20 years
- Eligibility requirements: You must be a US citizen or permanent resident and have an undergraduate or graduate degree.
LendKey isn’t a bank, but it can help you find refinancing through a local bank or credit union near you. Local banks tend to have less-stringent requirements than their national counterparts and could be a good choice if you have trouble meeting the eligibility criteria of other providers on this list. However, its partners don’t accept non-degree holders. And you might not always be able to bring on a cosigner, depending on the bank you’re connected with.
Do all banks offer student loan refinancing?
No, in fact many banks don’t offer student loan refinancing at all. This is especially true when it comes to national or international banks like Chase, Capital One and HSBC — some of which have stopped offering consumer loans altogether. You’ll have more luck if your look toward regional or even local providers.
What are my alternatives to refinancing?
Refinancing through a bank might be a good choice if you have private loans, a high debt load or are in a high-paying profession. But it’s not the right choice for everyone. Before you pick a lender, you might want to consider these options:
- Online providers. These lenders tend to have more flexible requirements and a faster turnaround — and you don’t need to open a bank account to qualify for a rate discount.
- Federal loan consolidation. If you’re considering applying for forgiveness or contemplating a career change, this option allows you to keep the benefits of federal loans while combining them into one monthly repayment. This option also gives you the opportunity to choose a new student loan servicer.
- Change your repayment plan. Federal loans come with a long list of repayment options, from standard fixed repayments to plans based on your income. Some servicers might also be willing to extend your term if you’re having trouble keeping up with the monthly cost of your private loans.
While there’s no one best bank for everyone, some banks work better than others for specific refinancing needs. You might want to go local or look to your personal bank if you want to get a good deal — the lowest rates are often reserved for current customers. You can learn more about your options with our guide to student loan refinancing.
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