In June 2017, well-respected Darien Rowayton Bank (DRB), founded in 2006 in Darien, Connecticut, rebranded its national online lending business to a separate division called Laurel Road. Today, Laurel Road is where you go for a DRB student loan. Students who took out loans for undergraduate and graduate educations and parents who took out loans for their children can refinance with Laurel Road. Students can also take out loans to pursue MBAs at select schools.
When you graduate, you may have multiple student loans, some or all of them at high interest. Refinancing your student loans at a lower rate enables you to pay less and pay off your loans faster. You can also consolidate your student loans, so you have just one payment. The Laurel Road website says their average student loan customer saves $20,000.
Student Loan Services at Laurel Road/DRB
Here are the student loan services available at Laurel Road:
- Refinance and consolidate your undergraduate and graduate student loans and get a private DRB student loan.
- Refinance Parent PLUS loans in the parents’ name or the student’s name.
- Get a loan to finance your MBA.
- For doctors and dentists, refinance your student loans as soon as you are matched to a residency program or fellowship, and pay only $100 per month all through your residency or fellowship.
DRB Student Loan Rates and Details
When you refinance your student loans at Laurel Road, you will want to get lower interest rates than you are currently paying. You can choose between a fixed or a variable rate, and structure your payments to pay off your loan quickly or stretch it out to many payments over time. The interest rate you get will depend on your credit history, your income and your employment history.
It will also depend on whether you want a fixed or variable rate. You can get either at Laurel Road, and their rates are quite competitive. You can check both their fixed and variable refinancing rates over various repayment periods on their website. Variable rates start out lower than fixed rates, but they could increase depending on market forces. If you are able to pay off your loan quickly, you may want to consider a lower variable rate. If you will be paying over a longer time, a fixed rate is much safer. However, there is a limit to how much your variable rate will increase. The Laurel Road website says that borrowers who take out a variable loan with a term of five, seven, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%. Borrowers who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.
Of course, while you are refinancing, you can consolidate all your student loans into one simple payment. Unlike some other lenders, Laurel Road will refinance a Parent PLUS loan that parents took out for their child’s benefit, and put it into the child’s name. This lets the child take over the loan and lets the parents off the hook.
Eligibility to Refinance with Laurel Road
As with any lender, there are some criteria for qualifying to refinance your student loan with Laurel Road.
- You are refinancing at least $5,000, but there is no maximum amount.
- Your loan is not delinquent.
- You are a US citizen or permanent resident with a valid I-551 (Green Card).
- You attended and received a degree from an eligible bachelor’s, graduate or post-graduate (DDS and DMD only) program.
- You have an acceptable credit history, income and employment. If your credit history is below par, you may still be able to get a loan with a co-signer.
Eligibility Criteria for Loan Refinancing During Medical / Dental Residency or Fellowship
- You have an income during your residency or fellowship
- You have a DMD, DDS, MD, or DO degree
Eligibility Criteria for Parent PLUS Loan Refinancing
- The child has a degree from an eligible Title IV college program.
- Parent PLUS Loans can be refinanced in the parent or student’s name but the person whose name the loan is in must meet credit requirements.
Benefits of a Laurel Road DRB Student Loan
Laurel Road does not charge application fees, origination fees or prepayment penalties.
If you refinance privately, you should understand that though you may be paying a lower rate, you are giving up the flexibility of federal loan forgiveness and payment postponement programs for which you may be eligible. You will want to examine what is the best strategy for your own situation. However, Laurel Road offers up to 12 months of partial or full forbearance to borrowers undergoing economic hardship. You must offer evidence of the hardship, and the decision is at the discretion of Laurel Road.
If you like, you can just refinance your private loans and not your federal loans in order to maintain their federal protections.
Refinancing for Medical Residents
If you are a doctor or dentist who qualifies, you can refinance your student loans as soon as you’re matched to a residency program and pay only $100 per month all through your residency or fellowship.
Options to Refinance Parent PLUS Loan
The federal government will not let a parent transfer a Parent PLUS loan they borrowed for their child’s education into their child’s name after graduation. However, if the child meets credit requirements, at Laurel Road the loan can be refinanced in the child’s name. Many lenders do not offer this option. (Of course, it may also be refinanced in the parents’ name.) If the child does not meet credit requirements, the parents or another person could co-sign. The co-signer would then be responsible, but so would the child.
Flexible Loan Term Options
Laurel Road offers a lot of flexibility in the length of time for your loan. You can choose to pay it back in five, seven, 10, 15 or 20 years. If you choose to repay quickly, you will pay less interest. If you choose to repay over a longer term, your monthly payments will be lower.
Death and Disability Loan Forgiveness
Should you die or become permanently disabled, Laurel Road will forgive your refinanced student loan.
Automatic Payment Discount
If you pay through automatic electronic fund transfer (EFT), Laurel Road will give you a 0.25% discount. Basically, you just give permission for the payment to be automatically deducted from your bank account each month.
If the new borrower displays the ability to assume full responsibility for the student loan, Laurel Road may remove the co-signer from the loan. It would require 36 consecutive on-time payments be made by the borrower, with no hardship forbearance or delinquencies.
A Couple Things of which You Should Be Aware
As we have previously mentioned, when you refinance a federal student loan and get any private loan, you give up some federal protections for which you might qualify such as income-driven repayment and loan forgiveness programs. These are normally used by those having trouble repaying their student loans. You will want to weigh their importance to your individual circumstances.
How to Apply for a DRB Student Loan at Laurel Road
After you have looked into various lenders and chosen Laurel Road, you can apply on their website. It only takes a few minutes. They will do a soft credit pull that won’t be reported to the credit agencies or affect your credit report to estimate your interest rate. You can then upload requested documents such as photo ID, a student loan statement, proof you graduated and pay stubs. Once you submit a final application, of course they need to do the hard credit inquiry as would any lender. Laurel Road will then give you your final interest rate and loan terms. If you accept, you can e-sign the promissory note. Once all is complete, Laurel Road will pay off the loans you are refinancing, and you will start making payments to Laurel Road a month later.
Laurel Road Customer Service
You can reach Laurel Road Customer Service through email, phone or online chat. You can call 1-855-245-0989, Monday through Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. EST, and Friday and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EST.
A Good Choice
As a division of Darien Rowayton Bank, Laurel Road is regulated by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Darien Rowayton Bank has been helping undergraduate and graduate students manage their student loans for over a decade. It has funded $3 billion in loans in 50 states and saved its borrowers $400 million. Their interest rates are competitive, and they have some benefits that are very helpful to many of their borrowers. We recommend that you consider Laurel
Road to determine if they are the right fit for your situation.