First Republic Bank student loan refinancing review | finder.com

First Republic Bank student loan refinancing review

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Low-cost student loan refinancing for professionals with excellent credit.

First Republic Bank is one of the few student loan refinancing options out there offering a high APR offered that’s actually lower than federal loans.

But while it could seriously help you save on interest, you’ll need a relatively high student debt load, excellent credit and feet firmly on a career path to qualify.

It’s also only available to residents of a few coastal states.

Product NameFirst Republic Bank Student Loan Refinancing
Min Loan Amount$40,000
Max. Loan Amount$300,000
APR1.95%–3.95% (with autopay)
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Minimum Loan Term5 years
Maximum Loan Term15 years
  • Between $40,000 and $300,000 in student loans.
  • A personal credit score of 750 or higher.
  • At least 24 months of work in your current industry.
  • Proof of US citizenship or permanent residency.
  • A First Republic ATM Rebate Checking account.
  • Access to a First Republic Bank branch.

First, am I eligible?

Looking to refinance your loans at a lower rate with First Republic Bank? To qualify, you’ll need:

  • Between $40,000 and $300,000 in student loans.
  • A personal credit score of 750 or higher.
  • At least 24 months of work in your current industry.
  • Proof of US citizenship or permanent residency.
  • A First Republic ATM Rebate Checking account.
  • Access to a First Republic Bank branch.

First Republic Bank operates branches in California, Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, New York and Oregon. You’ll need to visit one of these branches during the application process.

How does refinancing with First Republic Bank work?

When you refinance your student loan with First Republic Bank, you’re essentially taking out a loan with the bank to pay off your current student debt. It’s like trading your loans for a new one offering more favorable rates and terms.

Through First Republic Bank, you can refinance both federal and private student loans as long as your total debt balance is between $40,000 and $300,000.

First Republic Bank is one of the few banks that allows you to start your application online, though you’re required to visit a branch in person to complete your application. That’s why student loan refinancing is only available to borrowers who live near one of its branches in New York, California, Oregon, Florida, Connecticut or Massachusetts.

What happens if I refinance my federal loans?

You’ll likely save on interest, but you could lose key benefits. For instance, you’ll give up the choice between multiple repayment programs like income-driven or graduated repayment. You’ll also lose out on the government’s long list of forbearance and deferment options, which allow you to put your student loan repayments on hold if you lose your job or decide to pursue another degree.

On top of this, you’re no longer eligible for federal forgiveness programs. If you’re pursuing a career in public service in particular, you might want to reconsider refinancing.

How much will I pay to refinance?

There’s no fee to apply for First Republic Bank refinancing, and there are also no fees or penalty for paying off your loan early. The main cost to worry about is the interest rate, which ranges from 1.95%–3.95% (with autopay) — as long as you agree to automatic repayments from your First Republic ATM Rebate Checking account.

While many student loan refinancing providers offer both variable and fixed rates, First Republic Bank sticks with the standard fixed rate. This means that the rate you qualify for when you apply stays the same over the life of your loan, resulting in predictable repayments.

If you don’t already have a First Republic ATM Rebate Checking account, you’ll need to sign up for one before you apply. This is where this loan can get expensive.

To open an ATM Rebate Checking account, you must deposit a minimum $500 and maintain a balance of $3,500 or more. You’ll pay a $25 fee for each month you’re unable to maintain a $3,500 balance, though First Republic waives the fee for the first three months your account is open.

And if you don’t sign up for automatic repayments or direct deposit with that account, First Republic raises your interest rate by 5%.

Does First Republic Bank offer discounts?

Yes. Repay your student debt within four years, and First Republic Bank rebates you the interest paid on your loan worth up to 2% of your original loan balance.

What are my repayment options?

First Republic Bank offers one standard repayment plan, where you make fixed monthly repayments until you’ve paid off your loan over terms of 5, 7, 10 or 15 years.

First Republic Bank’s lowest rates are available for loans with a five-year term only, though your monthly repayments will be higher than for loans of longer term. To keep down both your monthly and overall loan costs, consider going with the shortest loan term that gives you monthly repayments you can comfortably afford.

Top reasons to consider First Republic Bank

  • Highly competitive rates. First Republic’s maximum APR is where some student loan refinancing programs start.
  • No fees. There’s no cost to apply for or close this loan.
  • Prepayment rebate. Get a rebate of up to 2% of your original loan balance if you pay off your loan within four years.
  • Cosigners welcome. Can’t meet all the eligibility requirements on your own? Apply with a creditworthy cosigner for easier approval.

Why you might want to look elsewhere

  • Excellent credit only. You need a credit score of at least 750 to qualify for a loan.
  • First Republic account required. Don’t have an account? You must have at least $500 on hand to open one — and the ability to maintain a minimum balance of $3,500 to avoid a $25 monthly fee.
  • Higher rates without autopay or direct deposit. Don’t get direct deposit from your employer or own a different account you’d like to repay from? Interest rates jump by 5%.
  • Limited availability. You must live near a First Republic Bank branch to complete your application.

Compare other student loan refinancing options

Rates last updated November 15th, 2018
Name Product Min. Credit Score Max. Loan Amount APR Product Description
Credible Student Loan Refinancing
Good to excellent credit
None
2.57%(As low as ) (variable)
Get prequalified offers from top student loan refinancing providers in one place.
Purefy Student Loan Refinancing
620
$300,000
2.79% to 8.39% (variable)
Refinance all types of student loans — including federal and parent PLUS loans.
SoFi Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (with Autopay)
650
full balance of your qualified education loans
2.470% to 6.990% (variable)
A leader in student loan refinancing, SoFi can help you refinance your loans and pay them off sooner.
Earnest Student Loan Refinancing Variable Rate (w/ autopay)
650
None
2.47% to 6.23% (variable)
Get a tailored interest rate and repayment plan with no hidden fees.
PenFed Student Loan Refinancing
700
$300,000
3.75%–7.03% (fixed)
Straightforward refinancing with competitive rates.
CommonBond Student Loan Refinancing
660
$500,000
2.72%–7.25% (with autopay) (variable)
Trade in your existing school loans for competitive APRs that come with a discount for autopay.
LendingTree Student Loans
Good to excellent credit
Varies by lender
3% (As low as) (fixed)
Compare multiple student loans and student loan refinancing options in one place.

Compare up to 4 providers

What do customers say about First Republic Bank?

As of June 2018, First Republic Bank doesn’t have many online reviews — not surprising, given its limited reach. It gets an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), which has accredited the bank since 2016. BBB bases its letter grades on factors like time in business and how it handles customer complaints. It only has one customer review on its BBB page, which is negative, along with seven complaints.

First Republic Bank doesn’t have a Trustpilot page, but you can find reviews on Yelp, where it earns five stars. A couple customers say they were blown away by the quality of its branches — it doesn’t have tellers, and some even bake cookies for customers. Its refinancing product comes up on refinancing forums, where people agree that loans are competitive but difficult to qualify for. One person mentioned a rejection due to a too-high debt-to-income ratio but wasn’t sure what an acceptable DTI might be.

What to expect when signing up

Start an application at a local branch or online:

  1. Visit the First Republic Bank website.
  2. Hover over Personal in the main navigation bar and click Student Loan Refinancing, then click See Your Savings.
  3. Enter your name and contact information, and review the terms and conditions before clicking Continue.
  4. Select your credit score range, enter your ZIP code and indicate how you heard about First Republic Bank refinancing. Then click See Your Results.
  5. Review the rates, estimated monthly repayments and potential interest savings for each loan term. If you like what you see, call or email your dedicated banker to set up an appointment to go over your application — or wait for them to call you.

From here, your banker guides you through the application process. While turnaround is unique to each applicant, keep in mind that student loan refinancing can take longer than other types of personal loans, and banks aren’t known for their speed.

To expedite the application process, take along the following documents to your appointment:

  • Government-issued ID.
  • Statements from all of your personal bank accounts.
  • Your two most recent pay stubs — or profits and loss statements, if you’re self-employed.
  • Your most recent W-2 form or tax return.

More about First Republic Bank

Founded in 1985, First Republic Bank is a national bank with branches concentrated on the coasts. It emphasizes customer service, operating teller-less branches so that every transaction is a personalized experience. And did we mention the freshly baked cookies?

You can also open a checking account, savings account and retirement fund, or take advantage of its private wealth management services. It offers personal loans, home loans and business loans in addition to student loan refinancing.

Bottom line

With such low rates, First Republic Bank could save you serious cash if you qualify for a refinancing loan. But that isn’t always easy — it’s only available in a handful of cities across the West Coast and Northeast. Plus, your personal finances need to be in excellent shape.

Learn more about how First Republic Bank stacks up to other refinancing options and how student loans work in our guide to student loans.

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