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Regions Bank student loans review

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Get a Sallie Mae undergrad or graduate student loan through this local bank.

finder.com’s rating: 4.6 / 5.0

★★★★★

  • Best for students looking to borrow as little as $1,000.
  • Pick something else if you don't want to apply through Sallie Mae.

4.25% to 12.35%

APR

Details

Product NameRegions Bank Sallie Mae Smart Option student loan
Minimum Loan Amount$1,000
APR4.25% to 12.35%
Interest Rate TypeFixed
Minimum Loan Term5 years
Maximum Loan Term15 years

Expert review

Anna Serio

Review by


Anna Serio is a trusted lending expert and certified Commercial Loan Officer who's published more than 950 articles on Finder to help Americans strengthen their financial literacy. A former editor of a newspaper in Beirut, Anna writes about personal, student, business and car loans. Today, digital publications like Business Insider, CNBC and the Simple Dollar feature her professional commentary, and she earned an Expert Contributor in Finance badge from review site Best Company in 2020.

Expert review

Regions Bank doesn’t offer student loans, but instead connects customers to Sallie Mae’s Smart Option Student Loan for undergraduate and graduate students. It’s ideal if you’re looking to take out a small student loan to cover extra expenses while you’re in college — you can borrow as little as $1,000.

If you already have a Regions Bank account and are open to borrowing through Sallie Mae, this could be the right option for you. Undergraduate students will qualify for a 0.25% rate discount, while graduate students could get a 0.5% rate reduction.

Otherwise, you might want to just apply through Sallie Mae yourself or look elsewhere.

To see your other options, check out our list of other lenders that might be a better fit for you.

First, am I eligible?

To be eligible for a Sallie Mae Smart Option student loan through Regions Bank, you must:

  • Be a US citizen or permanent resident.
  • Attend a degree-granting institution at least half-time.
  • Be the age of majority in your state.

Sallie Mae doesn’t have any hard credit or income requirements, though it takes your credit history and current debts into account when you apply. If you don’t have a credit history yet or only have a short one, consider applying with a cosigner to qualify.

International students and DACA recipients are eligible for a loan as long as they’re on a valid visa and apply with a cosigner that’s a US citizen or permanent resident.

How do Regions Bank student loans work?

Regions Bank student loans are actually Sallie Mae student loans. If you apply for a student loan through its website, you’ll be directed to a Sallie Mae loan application. The only real difference between applying through Regions Bank and Sallie Mae directly is that Regions Bank gets compensated when you apply through its site.

Sallie Mae’s Smart Option student loans start at $1,000 and can cover up to 100% of your school-certified costs. Loan terms range from 5 years to 15 years with no application, origination or prepayment fees. Once your school receives its funds, you can start paying back your loan right away, make monthly minimum repayments or defer it until your grace period is up — usually six months after leaving school.

Sallie Mae offers additional student loan options that you can’t apply for through Regions Bank.

How much do Regions Bank student loans cost?

Like most student loan providers, Sallie Mae doesn’t charge any fees associated with applying for a loan. The main cost to consider is interest. The range of rates you might be eligible for depends on your type of degree and whether you choose fixed or variable rates.

  • Undergraduate fixed rate: 4.25% to 12.35%
  • Gradaute fixed rate: 5.50% to 10.23%
  • Undergraduate variable rate: 2.87% to 10.75%
  • Graduate variable rate: 3.87% to 9.52%

Fixed rates stay the same over the life of your loan, while variable rates can fluctuate. The highest a variable rate can get on a Sallie Mae Smart Option loan is 25%. Visit our guide to fixed- and variable-rate loans to learn more about how they work.

Factors that might affect your loan cost include which school you attend, your or your cosigner’s credit history and debt-to-income ratio and which repayment option you choose — the deferred option typically comes with higher interest rates.

Does Regions Bank offer any discounts?

Sallie Mae does. You can qualify for a 0.25% interest rate reduction by signing up for automatic repayments. And if you’re a graduate student, you can get as much as 0.5% knocked off your interest if you start repayments while you’re still in school.

What are my repayment options?

Sallie Mae offers three different repayment options: deferred repayment, fixed repayment and interest repayment.

Top reasons to consider Regions Bank student loans

  • Competitive rates. Variable rates can even be lower than what you’d get with a federal loan — especially for graduate students.
  • Up to 100% of cost of attendance. Sallie Make can potentially cover all of your tuition, fees and other education-related expenses.
  • Three repayment options. Undergrads can pick between in-school repayments, low fixed monthly repayments or putting it all off until after your grace period is up.
  • Low minimum amount. You can borrow as little as $1,000 to cover eduction-related expenses through Sallie Mae.

Why you might want to look elsewhere

  • Rates aren’t always up to date. Regions Bank doesn’t always list the most current rates on its website. To get a more accurate idea of what rates you might qualify for, visit the Sallie Mae website instead.
  • It’s a Sallie Mae loan. If you don’t want to apply for a loan from Sallie Mae, look elsewhere.
  • No customer service line for loans. Some banks that connect clients with Sallie Mae loans — like M&T Bank — still have a customer service line. Regions Bank doesn’t, meaning you’ll have to call Sallie Mae for more details.
  • Only for degree-granting programs. You can’t use these student loans for a certificate program.
  • Students must be the age of majority. Students who are under 18 can’t qualify for a loan, even if they apply with a cosigner.

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Compare up to 4 providers

What do customers say about Regions Bank student loans?

Since Regions Bank has little to do with its student loan program, it’s better to look at what customers have to say about Sallie Mae student loans. As of September 2018, Sallie Mae Bank gets an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB) based on factors like transparency and how it deals with customer complaints. However, all 29 reviews on its BBB page are negative.

It also does poorly on Trustpilot, only earning a 6.1 out of 10 based on one negative review. Complaints typically center around when things went wrong: One customer had their rate changed from fixed to variable without their permission. Another was slightly late on a repayment and claimed that Sallie Mae made calls to her and her grandparents (possibly the cosigners).

Almost all complained that customer service couldn’t adequately handle their problems — or even answer questions as simple as whether a repayment was going toward interest or the loan principal.

What to expect when signing up

You can only apply for a Sallie Mae loan through Regions Bank online. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Go to the Regions Bank website and click Personal in the main navigation bar.
  2. Scroll down until you see the heading Borrow. Select Student Loans.
  3. Click the green button that says Apply for a Student Loan Now.
  4. Follow the directions to complete the application.
  5. Have your cosigner complete their part of the application either with you or by sending them an access code.
  6. Wait for Sallie Mae to reach out. If you’re approved, you’ll receive a preliminary offer and directions to upload documents like pay stubs and state-issued IDs.
  7. Review your promissory note and sign it with your cosigner.

You don’t need to do anything after this last step. At this point, Sallie Mae reaches out to your school to verify your cost of attendance. After confirming the costs, it’ll send you a letter telling you exactly how much you’ll be borrowing. You don’t need to sign and return this letter.

More about Regions Bank

Regions Bank is a regional bank with around 1,500 locations mainly across the South and Midwest. It’s one of the largest full-service regional banks in the country, and its headquarters are located in Birmingham, Alabama. Beyond student loans, Regions Bank offers personal loans, car loans, mortgages and business financing.

You can learn more about how Sallie Mae works by reading our review.

Check out our student loans guide to compare other lenders and get tips for finding the best deals.

Frequently asked questions

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We rate student loan providers on a scale of 1 to 5 stars based on factors like transparency, costs and customer experience. We don’t take into account elements like eligibility criteria, state availability or payment frequency — we save that for our reviews.

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