Laurel Road Bank refinances student loans from undergraduate and graduate school degrees, as well as loans that parents take to pay for their child’s college. It’s one of a few lenders that cater to health professionals, in particular, by letting doctors and dentists refinance as soon as they match to a residency or fellowship.
Laurel Road was previously a division of Darien Rowayton Bank — it offered student loan refinancing under DRB branding until June 2017. It also offers personal loans, mortgages and student loans for MBA students. This review focuses on Laurel Road’s student loan refinancing product.
Student loan refinancing means replacing one or more student loans with a single lower-rate loan. Refinancing with Laurel Road may be right for you if you:
- Have private loans
- Have federal loans and don’t plan to use federal benefits such as income-driven repayment and loan forgiveness. You’ll lose access to those programs if you refinance.
- Have good credit and enough income to afford your debt payments
- You want to transfer your parent’s PLUS loans to your name
- Want to refinance student loans during your medical or dental residency or fellowship
|Type of loan||Student loan refinancing|
4.5 out of 5.0 stars
|Interest rates (APR)||Fixed: 3.50% - 7.02%
Variable: 2.80% - 6.38%
|Loan terms||5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years|
|Loan amounts||$5,000, up to the full student loan balance. If you refinance more than $300,000, Laurel Road will break it into two loans.|
|APRs include 0.25% rate reduction for automatic payments.|
Can you qualify?
Laurel Road will consider your credit profile, total monthly debt payments and income. You’ll have a good shot at qualifying if you:
- Have good credit. Laurel Road requires that borrowers have a minimum 660 credit score.
- Have enough income to afford loan payments. Medical and dental residents and fellows must have an income during their residency or fellowship.
- Graduated from an eligible school. You must have attended a program that’s part of the government’s Title IV financial aid program and earned a bachelor’s degree or higher.
- Are a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Permanent residents must have a valid I-551 card, known as a green card.
How to refinance student loans with Laurel Road
Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, compare lender repayment options and the flexibility they offer to borrowers who are struggling to make payments.
If you’re ready to refinance with Laurel Road, you can apply on Laurel Road’s website. Here’s how:
1. Get a rate estimate. Laurel Road will do what’s known as a soft credit pull; it won’t hurt your credit. You’ll need to enter personal information including your Social Security number, plus details about your education, employment and housing payment. This step takes about two minutes.
2. Choose a loan term and interest rate type. You’ll save the most money by choosing the shortest repayment term you can manage. You can choose between a fixed rate, which will stay the same throughout the life of the loan, or a variable rate, which could change monthly as economic conditions fluctuate.
Laurel Road displays the following loan term options: five, seven, 10, 15 and 20 years. You can request a custom term that’s less than 20 years — say, four years or 17 years — by contacting Laurel Road after you submit the online application.
3. Finish your application. You’ll need to provide more information about your employment, housing status, assets and other income.
4. Add a co-signer (optional). You don’t have to add a co-signer, but it could help you qualify for a lower rate. Enter your co-signer’s name, email and phone number. They’ll receive an email with instructions for completing their portion of the application.
5. Upload the necessary documents. You’ll need:
- A 30-day payoff statement for each of the student loans you want to refinance. Laurel Road has a guide for getting your payoff statement.
- Proof of income. This can be your two most recent, consecutive pay stubs; a contract or offer letter (if you’re starting a new job); or a profit and loss statement (if you’re self-employed).
- Proof of education. Laurel Road will attempt to verify your education using a third-party service. If it’s unsuccessful, you’ll need to upload a copy of your diploma or your most recent transcript.
- Proof of identity (optional). You can upload a copy of your driver’s license, passport or a state-issued ID card.
6. Agree to a hard credit pull. It will slightly hurt your credit score, but it’s routine for lenders to do a hard credit check before approving borrowers for a loan.
Laurel Road student loan refinancing details
- Loan servicer: MOHELA
- Application or origination fee: No
- Prepayment penalty: No
- Late fees: Yes; a fee equal to 5% of the late payment or $28, whichever is less, applies after a payment is 15 days late.
- Co-signer release option: Yes, after the primary borrower has made 36 consecutive on-time payments.
Repayment options for struggling borrowers
Throughout your loan term, you may need some breathing room on payments. Laurel Road offers the following options:
- Forbearance: Postpone loan payments for three months at a time and up to 12 months total if you document a qualified economic hardship such as involuntary job loss or unpaid maternity leave. Interest will continue accruing while your loan is in forbearance and will be capitalized, or added to your principal balance, at the end of the forbearance period.
- For medical and dental residents and fellows: You can choose to pay just $100 a month until six months after your residency or fellowship ends. Interest will accrue during this time, and any unpaid interest will be capitalized at the end of the reduced payment period.
- Can I apply with a co-signer? Yes.
- Is there a co-signer release option? Yes. The primary borrower must first make 36 consecutive on-time payments.
- Can I qualify if I’ve filed for bankruptcy in the past? Yes; after four years.
- Can I qualify if I didn’t go to a Title IV-accredited school? No.
- Can I qualify if I didn’t graduate? No.
Contact Laurel Road
STUDENT LOANS RATINGS METHODOLOGY
NerdWallet believes the best student loan is one you can repay at the lowest interest rate you can get. That’s why NerdWallet’s private student loans ratings reward lenders that offer a variety of loan terms, limit their fees and penalties, and extend borrowers multiple options to avoid default. Points are also awarded for soft credit checks, underwriting transparency and other consumer-friendly features. Use these ratings as a guide, but we encourage you to shop around for the lowest interest rate you can qualify for. NerdWallet does not receive compensation for its reviews. Read our editorial guidelines.
— Among the very best for consumer-friendly features
— Excellent; offers most consumer-friendly features
— Very good; offers many consumer-friendly features
— Good; may not offer something important to you
— Fair; missing important consumer-friendly features
— Poor; proceed with great caution