Laurel Road Review: Student Loan Refinancing and Consolidation

Michael Lux Blog, Consolidation, Student Loan Consolidation Reviews, Student Loans 1 Comment

Laurel Road Student Loan Refinancing

Interest Rates
Co-Signer Release
Loan Terms
Repayment Length

Very Good

Laurel Road offers the stability of a traditional bank, but is still able to provide interest rates competitive with the internet based lenders.

Article updated October 1, 2019, to include the latest interest rate information.

For the past five years, Laurel Road has been one of the top student loan refinance lenders. Laurel Road has built its reputation on being a top choice for healthcare professions, especially doctors, optometrists, and dentists. However, we find that Laurel Road is a solid option regardless of occupation, which is why it appears as the number one lender in our refinance company rankings.

When reviewing Laurel Road and comparing it to other lenders, Laurel Road has a track record of offering excellent interest rates in a variety of categories. Laurel Road also has recently gained a reputation for higher application approval rates.

While there is plenty to like about Laurel Road, it is not a company or a refinance product free of concerns, which we will get into below.

Laurel Road Basics

Laurel Road offers both fixed-rate and variable-rate student loans. Borrowers have the option of 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20-year repayment terms. Generally speaking, the longer-term loans have slightly higher interest rates but lower monthly payments because the loan is spread out over a more extended period. Interest rates on the variable-rate loans start at 2.25% with a current max of 6.65%. The fixed-rate loans start at 3.5% and go as high as 7.02%. The minimum refinance or consolidation loan is $5,000, and there is no maximum.

Like other legitimate lenders, Laurel Road has no loan origination fees or prepayment fees.

Additionally, Laurel Road also offers loan refinancing tailored explicitly to parents who took out loans for their children as well as physicians in their residency.

Advantages to Refinancing with Laurel Road

One of the significant benefits with Laurel Road is that it is the product of a bank, rather than a student loan company. Banks face greater scrutiny in their lending practices, meaning borrowers face a much lower likelihood of lender shenanigans when applying for a loan.

As of April 2019, Laurel Road probably has the best interest rates in the student loan refinance marketplace. Not only does Laurel Road’s starting rate of 2.43% beat everyone else, but they also have top three rates in the 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20-year loan categories.

If you are a medical professional, Laurel Road has several unique services tailored especially to your situation. This includes a residency and fellowship repayment option that allows you to pay just $100 per month until you become an attending physician. This will enable borrowers to immediately lower interest rates and keep payments down until their finances allow for the higher payments.

Finally, Laurel Road offers a $150 bonus to new customers. Borrowers should still focus on finding the lender who provides the best interest rates, but the new customer bonus is a nice perk for going through the steps to refinance.

Disadvantages and Concerns with Laurel Road

The drawbacks to Laurel Road apply to pretty much every other lender on the market.

First, they allow consolidation of federal student loans in their private loan refinance. For some borrowers, this is a very smart financial move. Reducing the interest rates on federal loans can save thousands over the life of the loan. However, taking this step could also be a huge mistake because it means that student loan forgiveness programs and income-driven repayment plans are no longer an option. Make sure you are certain you want to give up the perks of having a federal student loan before you refinance.

Second, Laurel Road does offer a co-signer release program, but borrowers should advise their co-signers not to expect or rely upon a co-signer release. For starters, borrowers are not able to even apply for a co-signer release for the first 36 months their loan is in repayment. At that point, a release application can be submitted, but won’t necessarily be approved. Because of the many steps and uncertain nature of co-signer release programs, we encourage all co-signers on all loans to plan on being on the loan until it is paid in full.

Laurel Road History and Name Changes

When Laurel Road first entered the student loan refinance marketplace, they were called Darien Rowayton Bank refinance loans, or DRB for short.

As time passed the ownership of Darien Rowayton Bank wisely decided that the name was a mouthful and that their student loan refinance product should have a more friendly name. Thus, Laurel Road was created.  Same ownership, same loans, but a different name.

The big change came in 2019 when KeyBank acquired Laurel Road. New ownership can bring new concerns, but with Laurel Road moving from one bank to another, the new issues appear to be minimal so far. The hope is that the improved interest rates continue going forward.

Final Thoughts on the Laurel Road Review

Laurel Road, has consistently appeared in the top five of our student loan refinancing rankings. Not only does Laurel Road currently advertise some of the best rates on the market, but they also have a reputation for actually offering those low rates to borrowers. For this reason, checking rates with Laurel Road is usually time well spent for borrowers looking to refinance.