Note: The Citizens Bank Refinance Review was to include the latest interest rate information and a $200 new customer bonus.
Citizens Bank is one of the few remaining traditional banks left in the student loan refinance marketplace. Even though most banks have fled the student loan refinance marketplace, Citizens has found a way to remain competitive with the fin-tech lenders.
Because Citizens is a solid choice despite a couple of drawbacks, Citizens ranks in the middle of our student loan refinance company rankings.
Citizens may not be the best lender in the market, but many borrowers will find Citizens offers a competitive refinance option.
Citizens Bank Refinance: Terms and Conditions
|Citizens Bank Overview|
|Loan Terms||5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 Years|
|Variable Rate Loans||2.64% - 8.90%|
|Fixed Rate Loans||2.89% - 9.15%|
|Minimum Refinance Amount||$10,000|
|New Borrower Bonus||$200|
As you can see from the table, Citizens Bank offers a wide possible range of interest rates. On the lower end, these rates are excellent, but the higher rate loans are pretty abysmal. Whether or not Citizens ends up being the best deal will depend upon your credit score and income.
Citizens does get high marks for the length of time available to repay the loans. With up to 20 years to repay your loans, Citizens has one of the longest repayment plans in the market. Savvy borrowers know that paying the minimum over the life of the loan is a recipe to spend a lot on interest, but by stretching out repayment so far, the minimum is much more manageable for months when the budget is tight.
Finally, like other legit lenders, there are no charges for loan applications, origination fees, or prepayment penalties.
Citizens Bank Interest Rates vs. Other Lenders
When we break down the interest rates according to loan type (fixed and variable) and loan length, Citizens ranks among the best lenders in a few different loan categories. Additionally, Citizens is routinely just outside the top three in many other loan categories.
Ultimately, while Citizens advertised rates across many loan types are very competitive, the only way for an individual borrower to verify they are getting the best possible rate is to apply with several different student loan refinance companies. This is because each lender uses a unique formula when evaluating credit applications.
Red Flags for Borrowers to Review
One thing we don’t like is the emphasis on co-signers. While co-signing may be a necessity for some, it is something that most borrowers would be wise to avoid. The mandatory 36 month waiting period for a co-signer release is also one of the longest we have seen. Many co-signers will want to be able to be removed from the loan within a year or two.
Citizens seems to be targeting people with federal loans for their refinancing. Here at the Student Loan Sherpa, we think private consolidation of federal loans can be a huge mistake. However, for others is it is a good idea. Any prospective borrower must understand that if you consolidate your federal loans with a private lender, you will never qualify for student loan forgiveness or an income-driven repayment plan.
However, Citizens does a better job than most companies at pointing out some of the risks associated with private loan consolidation.
Citizens Bank Refinancing Review: The Bottom Line
The Citizens Bank refinance program claims a spot in the top half of our Student Loan Refinance Rankings, based mainly on the low interest rates advertised.
Due to the large range of possible interest rates, borrowers would be wise to apply to several different companies to find the lowest rate actually available. By working with multiple companies, potential customers also get the opportunity to directly compare the companies and how they interact with their customers before any contracts are signed. Please note, if you decide to go this route, be sure to apply to all of them in a short period of time to prevent any damage to your credit report.
Because Citizens is one of the many lenders on the Credible student loan platform, borrowers can submit one application to check their rates with many lenders. Additionally, borrowers can get a $200 bonus when they refinance through this route.