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First Republic Bank Student Loan Refinancing Review

First Republic offers low interest rates but has stringent requirements for borrowers.
Sept. 14, 2018
Loans, Student Loans
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
4.0 NerdWallet rating

First Republic Bank offers some of the lowest student loan refinancing rates in the industry to people who use its ATM Rebate Checking account. If you already have an account or you open one, you may benefit from those low rates and personalized service from a dedicated First Republic banker.

You or your co-signer need excellent credit — at least a 750 credit score — to qualify for student loan refinancing with First Republic. To qualify for First Republic’s lowest rates, you must set up direct deposit and automatic loan payments for the refinanced student loan, and maintain a balance in your ATM Rebate Checking account of 10% of the approved loan amount or $5,000, whichever is greater.

You must deposit at least $500 to open an ATM Rebate Checking account. First Republic charges a $25 monthly fee if your account balance dips below a $3,500 monthly average.

Unlike many refinance lenders, First Republic doesn’t have any deferment or forbearance policies, so there’s no wiggle room if you get sick or lose your job, or if money is otherwise tight.

First Republic student loan refinancing at a glance:

  • Must have a First Republic Bank ATM Rebate Checking account to qualify.
  • Low rates for borrowers who meet the checking account requirements.
  • Borrowers are paired with a dedicated banker.
First Republic
Reviewed loanStudent loan refinancing
Interest ratesFixed: 1.95% - 4.45%
Loan terms5, 7, 10 or 15 years
Loan amountsMinimum: $40,000
Maximum: $300,000
Co-signer release availableNo
Can transfer a parent loan to the childYes

How much can refinancing save?

How First Republic scores

NerdWallet student loan experts evaluated more than 50 data points across five categories to see whether First Republic ranks below average, average or above average compared with other student loan refinance lenders.

Enables faster repayment:
Above average
Lenders score highly if they offer a variety of term lengths and make extra payments easy.

Discloses requirements, limits costs:
Below average
Lenders score highly if they limit fees and interest rates, are transparent about their underwriting criteria and allow borrowers to get personalized rate estimates before applying.

Serves range of borrowers:
Average
Lenders score highly if they cater to customers in varying locations, in different financial situations, and with varying citizenship statuses.

Offers payment flexibility:
Below average
Lenders score highly if they offer longer than 12-month forbearance periods, in-school and military deferment, and any other flexible policies that help borrowers during tough times.

Supports customers:
Above average
Lenders score highly if they assign borrowers an advisor, offer multiple ways to get in touch, and have in-house customer service. Websites should display full APR ranges, fees and forbearance policies.

How First Republic could improve

First Republic Bank could improve its student loan refinance product by:

  • Providing deferment and forbearance programs.
  • Offering student loan refinancing for borrowers nationwide.
  • Refinancing student loan balances that are less than $40,000.

First Republic student loan refinancing details

To qualify for First Republic’s lowest rates, you must set up direct deposit and automatic loan payments for the refinanced student loan, and maintain a balance in your ATM Rebate Checking account of 10% of the approved loan amount or $5,000, whichever is greater.

You also must maintain a $3,500 average monthly loan balance in your ATM Rebate Checking account — there’s a $25 monthly fee for dipping below that minimum.

  • Soft credit check to qualify and see what rate you’ll get: No.
  • Application or origination fee: No.
  • Prepayment penalty: No.
  • Late fees: Yes; a fee equal to 5% of the overdue payment applies if your full payment isn’t received after 10 days.

Compare First Republic’s range of interest rates with other student loan refinance lenders.

First Republic has strict qualification requirements compared with many refinance lenders, but meet them and you’ll reap the rewards of the lender’s low rates. You must have a First Republic ATM Rebate Checking account or open one with at least a $500 initial deposit. To bank with First Republic, you must live near a branch location.

Financial

  • Minimum credit score: 750.
  • Minimum income: No minimum.
  • Typical credit score of approved borrowers or co-signers: 763.
  • Typical income of approved borrowers: Did not disclose.
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: Did not disclose.
  • Can qualify if you’ve filed for bankruptcy: No.

Other

  • Citizenship: Non-U.S. citizens may qualify if they can prove necessary and sufficient ties to the U.S.
  • Location: Only available to borrowers who live near a First Republic Bank branch. Most of the bank’s locations are in California, but it also has branches in New York City; Boston; Greenwich, Conn.; Palm Beach, Fla.; and Portland, Ore.
  • Must have graduated: No.
  • Must have attended a Title IV-accredited school: Yes.
  • Percentage of borrowers who have a co-signer: Did not disclose.

  • Academic deferment: No.
  • Military deferment: No.
  • Forbearance: No.
  • Are loans discharged in the event of death/disability of borrower? No.
  • Allows greater-than-minimum payments via autopay: Yes.
  • Allows biweekly payments via autopay: Yes.

  • Loan servicer: First Republic Bank.
  • In-house customer service team: Yes.
  • Process for escalating concerns: Yes.
  • Borrowers get assigned a dedicated banker, advisor or representative: Yes.

Borrowers who refinance with First Republic get a prepayment rebate. If you repay your refinanced loan within four years, First Republic will give you back the interest you paid, up to 2% of the original loan balance. For example, if your loan was $60,000, you could get a rebate of up to $1,200.

How to refinance with First Republic

Before deciding on a student loan refinance lender, compare multiple student loan refinance options to make sure you’re getting the best rate you qualify for. In addition to interest rates, compare lenders’ repayment options and the flexibility they offer for borrowers who are struggling to make payments.

If you’re ready to borrow, you can apply on First Republic’s website.

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 student loan 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.

5 stars out of 5 — Among the very best for consumer-friendly features

4.5 stars out of 5 — Excellent; offers most consumer-friendly features

4 stars out of 5 — Very good; offers many consumer-friendly features

3.5 stars out of 5 — Good; may not offer something important to you

3 stars out of 5 — Fair; missing important consumer-friendly features

2.5 stars out of 5 — Poor; proceed with great caution

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