The DRB Student Loan Review: Refinancing with Darien Rowayton Bank

Michael Lux Blog, Consolidation, Student Loan Consolidation Reviews, Student Loans 25 Comments

Article updated 1/2/17 to include information about DRB's $150 Bonus to new customers and to update rates. For borrowers weighing their student loan consolidation options, one company worth a look is Darien Rowayton Bank, or DRB for short.  The headline on DRB is definitely the lowest rates on the market.  While DRB loans do have features that should scare some borrowers away, there are also many advantages to DRB that make it a good choice for many borrowers. Darien Rowayton Bank Basics Darien Rowayton Bank is a traditional bank based out of Connecticut.  Even though they only have physical branches in Connecticut,  DRB…

DRB Student Loan Consolidation

Interest Rates
Co-Signer Release
Loan Terms
Repayment Length

Great

DRB offers the stability of a traditional bank, but is still able to provide interest rates competitive with the start-ups.

Article updated 1/2/17 to include information about DRB’s $150 Bonus to new customers and to update rates.

For borrowers weighing their student loan consolidation options, one company worth a look is Darien Rowayton Bank, or DRB for short.  The headline on DRB is definitely the lowest rates on the market.  While DRB loans do have features that should scare some borrowers away, there are also many advantages to DRB that make it a good choice for many borrowers.

Darien Rowayton Bank Basics

Darien Rowayton Bank is a traditional bank based out of Connecticut.  Even though they only have physical branches in Connecticut,  DRB consolidates both federal and private student loans in all 50 states.

Variable Interest Rates with DRB start at 3.64% and fixed-rate loans start at 4.25%.  They offer 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 year repayment terms on their loans, and there is no maximum loan amount… though there is a $5,000 minimum.  Like most legit lenders, there is no origination fee and there is no prepayment penalty.

The DRB Advantages

These days many of the student loan consolidation companies seem to be recent start-ups without a physical presence outside of the internet.  Many lenders also provide consolidation services, but have their loans serviced by a third party.  At present, very few traditional banks offer student loan consolidation services.

Darien Rowayton is a notable exception.  DRB is a traditional bank, and they service all of their own student loans.  This setup should provide borrowers with a relatively straightforward borrowing and repayment experience.

That being said, the biggest advantage to DRB has to be the tight interest rate range.  They don’t advertise the lowest interest rates, but if you are in the market for a fixed 20-year loan, the 5.15% could be a great option.  With rates maxing out at 7.20%, borrowers will not get a terrible deal.

Another notable advantage to DRB is their cosigner program.  For starters, they don’t put a huge emphasis on all borrowers having cosigners, and going without a cosigner is definitely ideal.  However, for borrowers that will need a cosigner, there is no fixed waiting period for a release.  That means as soon as a borrower has good enough credit and income on their own, the cosigner can be removed from the loan.

A final advantage worth pointing out is the new customer bonus.  The student loan consolidation market has become so competitive that many of the top tier companies are now offering a bonus for new customers who sign up.  Like other lenders, DRB is offering $150 to all new customers.  It should be noted that over the life of a loan, $150 is a relatively small amount.  That being said it is a nice little perk and a great reward for putting in the effort to lock down lower interest rates on your student debt.

Be on the lookout…

While there is a lot to like about DRB, there are several things that borrowers should consider carefully before signing up.  This is especially true for people with federal government loans.  Federal loans have special terms, including repayment plans and forgiveness programs that no private lender can offer. All potential borrowers should weigh the federal benefits against lower interest rate savings.

One other thing for borrowers to be aware of is the ceiling on the variable rate loans.  The maximum interest rate on a variable rate 15 or 20 year loan is 10%.  Any borrower considering a variable rate loan needs to carefully consider the consequences of potential higher interest rates and the possible ceilings.

The Bottom Line

As long as borrowers are careful to avoid some of the potential financial mishaps we noted above, DRB is an excellent option.  The repayment plan options and low interest rates advertised by DRB are among the very best.  However, an advertised rate versus an actual rate are two different things.  Check your rate to find out if DRB is a good deal for you.

 

  • Shane Woodrum

    Strongly advise not to consolidate your loans with this bank.
    Customer service is horrible. (Unwilling/Unable to assist in a workable solution – attitude)
    Website is not ergonomical.
    Cannot see previous payment history without having to browse through estatements one by one.
    No breakdown of individual loans for principle/interest disbursement. (no loan orig date/est. payoff date, etc – only the bare minimum)
    Require you to open a checking account to make overage payments and qualify for interest deduction. (Shady practice meant for them to acquire more checking account customers.) *Can mail in a check – but for customers such as myself who work abroad – this is impossible. Besides – Majority of loan holders give customers the ability to pay via debit/checking account online.
    No ability to distribute payments towards one specific loan versus another.
    Strongly urge student loan holders who wish to consolidate to look elsewhere.
    Try Sofi – hear good things about them.

  • Laura Seel

    Don’t waste your time with this company. I applied back in March to refinance my 6 private student loans from college which were about $55k. After spending a ton of time sending docs (transcripts, job letters, multiple bills with my address, paystubs, passport, payoffs of all student loans, interest rates, first born child) and a hard credit inquiry, they discriminated against me because I was a base/commission employee with a base of $45k, even though the pay stub I submitted showed a gross of $8300 for the previous month of February. They said I need to make at least $50k base. I should’ve stopped right there and told them to go fuck themselves but I kept them in mind in case I changed jobs. Well I did a few months ago. Now my base is 55k so I figured now I can qualify. Again, hard inquiry (my credit score is a 738 btw) and ridic documents.

    This time I got the answer – Cancelled – Borrower Debt-to-Income Ratio Exceeds Allowable Limit – Reapply Option .

    When I first submitted the app they knew my income and debt, but still proceeded to do another hard inquiry and run me through hoops of documents where they even asked for a second set of documents. I would love to punch someone in the face over there and I will be happy to post this to every review site I know.

  • andlardia

    I do not finance through this institution, but I can tell you from my experience as someone who referred a doctor to them– I NEVER would. For one, they can’t even live up to their referral bonus program. I have been emailing, calling and dealing with them since April when the loan went through. I STILL have yet to receive a check from them. They are either unabashedly incompetent or they’re scam artists. I have received three different dates now that my “check has shipped” and they never arrive. Do you really want to finance a loan through a company that lies about their benefits? I am making it my business to make sure that in as much as I referred friends to them before, EVERYONE knows how shady this company is.

  • Steve

    This company is nightmare. Stay clear at all costs. Have a group of disclosures that they will not disclose until after you apply and they run your credit. I have worked in financing for 10 years and can tell you this is not a beneficial program

  • Reviewer

    Do not use this company. They took a month to tell me I did not qualify even with a co-signer. They stated I didn’t make the income requirements. If there is a minimal requirement why did they run a credit check if they knew they were not going to make the loan? And why wait a month.

  • Lauren

    Horrible, horrible experience. Don’t waste a hard hit to your credit score applying with them. Despite good income and credit score, they quoted me the highest rates (by FAR) of anywhere I applied, then said “maybe they could match” if I submitted proof of other quotes I’d received. Really a scam given their advertised rates.

  • das

    stay away they will give you higher rates once you submit the documents

  • David Carter

    Just started with them and they have awful customer service, banker’s hours, and have bumped my rates twice before my 2nd payment. The GUI for online access and control of accounts is incredibly unfriendly and antiquated. I seriously regret moving two loans to them and I’m going to start the process of bailing out in a few months.

  • Jamal Rahimi

    AWFUL!!!! just withdrew my application after almost 7 mos of back and forth. They kept me on the hook and kept telling me the app would be complete soon. After 7 mos and almost $10,000 lost in interest (b/c i’m stuck in my current loan) i decided to cut ties with these A-holes. They didn’t even bat an eye. Didn’t even ask why, or if there was anything they could do to help (even though it was all on their end). Do yourself a favor and try another group.

  • Tony

    Not impressed with these clowns at all. Withdrew my application and went with SoFi (who is excellent by the way). Tried consolidating with DRB starting December 4, 2015. I have solid income (healthy 6 figures) and excellent credit (high 700s/low 800s). After 6+ weeks of runaround from DRB that my loan was “with underwriting” (my mortgage didn’t take THAT long) I gave it a shot with SoFi. I applied on a Monday evening, by Tuesday morning at 10AM I was approved and signed all my paperwork through DocuSign. Now a mere 10 days later, all my loans have been paid off with my original lenders. Can’t recommend SoFi enough. DRB seemed promising but they just can’t seem to process applications with any sort of urgency.

  • Dana

    I was approved for a refi of my loan back in early December and given a disbursement date of 12/29/15. It had taken two weeks to submit my documents and get through the approval process, and so I felt okay about that part. However, to date the disbursement hasn’t happened. I’ve followed up on a few occasions and been told that they are behind in processing disbursements and can’t yet provide a new disbursement date. I will be contacted when the new date has been set, they say. However, not once have they initiated any contact with me to communicate status, even back when they missed the 12/29 disbursement date. I’ve been doing all the calling, to find out what’s going on. Here we are in February, my loans are still with Navient and I have no idea when the loans are going to transfer, or if they ever will. My debt is in the mid 20K range. Part of me wonders if they bit off more than they could chew by getting into the student loan business, and if maybe they’re hoping that some applicants (maybe those with less profitable debt amounts) will drop out of the process after waiting a long time. I plan to pay this loan off within five years. While DRB gave me a lower interest rate and shaved six months off of my repayment term (saving me about $2300 in interest), I’m thinking that the savings may not be worth trading off transparency and good customer service. I’d also considered Sofi but I read negative feedback about their customer service as well. I may just withdraw my application and stick with Navient for now, making extra payments to reach payoff faster. You can’t put a price on communication and transparency (i.e., peace of mind).

  • Lisa

    I cannot believe you reviewed this company and rated it so highly!!!! They are THE WORST. I had a loan application in for 4 MONTHS to refinance my student loans. I applied 11/22/15. It is now 3/23/16 and I have not heard anything. I have called and emailed numerous times to try to find out when I would even get a quote for a rate and was told it was in “underwriting” each time. It’s like talking to a brick wall. There was no end in sight. I just called and cancelled my application today. I have excellent credit (around 800 score) make good money and it seems that they just don’t care about customers. I went with one of their competitors!! Don’t even bother applying for a loan here.

  • D. Hill

    I certainly would refer to the bad reviews for DRB. My application has been outstanding for almost five months without any updates at all. I have e-mailed and called and like many other reviewers, I was told my loan was in underwriting. I would highly recommend staying away from this bank.

  • Shay

    Darien Rowayton Bank student loan products are the worst. I am a permanent and totally disable veteran who had an unfortunate situation that rendered me incapable of working. After months of going back and forth with DRB with endless documentation, here’s the response I received:
    (1) First, the promissory note that you signed on January 6, 2015 did not provide for discharge for permanent disability. This benefit was first provided for new loans in the second quarter of 2015.
    (2) Second, based on estimated monthly income of approximately $5,000/month of Veteran Administration and future Social Security benefits, we calculate a debt to income percentage equal to approximately 33%. This demonstrates that even with the reduction in income from prior levels, the monthly payment is still affordable.
    DRB never calculated the fact that I have two mortgages equating to $3500 of that $5000 and they do not know if I will receive disability for the remaining $1500, which is there own rough estimate. No one has ever called me to inquire about my situation or to gain an understanding about the entire picture. In there email they also state months after I signed my promissory note they changed their policy. This bank is not friendly towards VETERANS or DISABLED people. When I signed up to switch my loan from Department of Education they were eager to obtain my business, wowing me with customer service – now they don’t care what happens to me. If I’m able to afford food, clothes, or maintain what’s left of the little that I’m holding on to. BEWARE OF THIS BANK.

    • D.N

      What bank did you end up using

  • Diana Ngure

    Seeing that most people had a terrible experience with drb what companies did you all benefit from if anyone was successful

    • Steph

      I had a great experience with DRB. My loan was approved within 24 hours and got a 1.3% interest rate reduction from my current lender. My refinance loan was for just over $40k and had a credit score over 800.

  • A.S.

    I tried to use DR Bank to refinance my student loans. I also applied to several other institutions to get the best rate. In the end I decided to go with SoFi.

    Don’t even waste your time with DRB. They were by far the worst on every category. After submitting the application and required paperwork, it took 30 days for them to get me any sort of interest rate quote. SoFi did it immediately, the same day. DR Bank gave me 2% interest rate higher than SoFi for a 15 year refinance (compared to 20 year for SoFi). It wasn’t even close. Also, after my application was complete, I was bombarded with email messages every single day telling me to consent to a hard credit pull — it was maddening and there is no option to opt out of emails or stop the messages. Also it was not easy to delete my appoint, I had to email support to do it.

    So disappointed. Complete waste of my time.

  • Joel

    This is a totally unprofessional company that does nothing but waste your time. One of the worst customer service experiences I’ve had. After 9 months and over 25 hours of my time with phone calls and refilling out applications they still don’t have it right. Also they pulled my credit 3 times in that 9 months which dropped my credit score.

  • martha A

    Has anyone used this company recently?

    • Shelby

      Yes, I have nothing but good things to say about DRB and my loan reconsolidating process.

  • Michelle R

    After reading some of the reviews, I proceeded to DRB with caution and I’m proud to say how pleasantly surprised I was. The customer experience was great – I got my rate approved within 24 hours of submitting my application. DRB has extensively improved its customer experience and I encourage people to give them a chance. I did my research and shopped around for the lowest rate and I can confidently say I’m saving about $30,000 more than I would with SoFi or any other lender.

  • Shelby

    I’ve just refinanced a large private loan through DRB and it was prefect. I was scared after reading some reviews that I had mad a mistake, but their customer service is kind and helpful and I got my loan rates within 24 hours, and my loans were refinanced with DRB within a week! My interest rates were reduced by 3%. I couldn’t be happier.

  • Connor Hackert

    I just refinanced with DRB and want to allay concerns of prior commentators down below. I have no stake in this other than my pleasant experience in refinancing, and I rarely comment on threads like this. It appears to me that, based on the disparity of reviews between recent and late commentators, DRB stepped up their game as of late when it comes to refinancing. I was hesitant to proceed with them during the process because of the negative comments/reviews from several years ago. I had heard about dissatisfaction with long processing times, that you needed a bank account with them to set up autopay, etc.; many of these comments were from about a year or more ago. After submitting my application with DRB, it took them a day or two to process. I had submitted applications to multiple lenders, including CommonBond and SoFI, who had taken a little longer (CommonBond took almost a week and a half, and SOFI took about 4 days). Full disclosure – I had never heard of DRB prior to refinancing and was pretty much ready to sign on with SOFI because of all the great things I heard. I received a call from DRB when my application was processed and the woman was really helpful and went so far as saying “if you receive a better loan offer from someone else, please submit the document to us and we will see if we can beat it.” So I played the market. DRB’s initial offer was 5.25% with the autopay discount. SOFI gave me a terrible initial offer (6.25%), so I sent them DRB’s offer. SOFI then came down to 5.15%, and I sent DRB that offer. DRB came down to 5.05%, and I sent SOFI that offer. SOFI came down to 5.00%, and I sent DRB that offer again. DRB came down to 4.97% (I know, not much of a difference, but I appreciated their willingness to keep going down). I called SOFI and sent them DRB’s offer, and SOFI finally said that they could not go any lower (apparently they had to obtain approval just to get their offer down to 5%). So DRB ended up being my best offer, but, being hesitant about the comments below, I called and asked DRB about the autopay setup. They said that they no longer require a DRB checking account to qualify for the autopay discount; they apparently switched loan servicers a year or so back and, since then, the autopay discount is for any checking accounts. They also gave me a $150 sign-on bonus, and all I had to do was mention studentloansherpa, per their website: https://student.drbank.com/student-loan-sherpa/

    The bonus should process in about 60 days they told me. DRB seems to have all the standard stuff of most refinancing companies: no prepayment penalties, forbearance availability if you lose your job, no origination fees, etc. They also said that, if my income increases, I can look toward doing a pseudo-internal refinancing, to see if they’ll come down on the rate even a little more. I asked SOFI why I should consider them in light of DRB’s better offer, and SOFI came back with their community events, that they help with resume review if you lose your job, etc. All of those benefits may be important to some, but they were not for me, so I ended up refinancing with DRB. That said, I will have to wait and see whether I regret the decision as things move forward.

  • Ashley Allizzo

    Just refinanced a SoFi loan with DRB. DRB has already begun charging me interest however SoFi has not yet received a payment from DRB so they are currently charging me interest as well…I called both, was told by DRB no one was able to assist me at this time and would have to be called back tomorrow. SoFi agreed that DRB should not be charging me interest on a balance that has not been settled completely with SoFi. Apparently DRB sends paper checks through the mail instead of doing an immediate wire transfer of funds.