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PNC Student Loan Refinance Review

PNC is the last big bank left in the student loan refinance business. Interest rates in some categories are decent, but overall PNC doesn’t stack up against the competition. Overall rating: 2.5/5.

Written By: Michael P. Lux, Esq.

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PNC’s decision to enter the student loan refinance world is an interesting one.  

The Student Loan Refinance marketplace is currently dominated by two types of lenders. The first group is financial tech companies specializing in student loans like SoFi or CommonBond. The second group is companies like LendKey and ELFI who are backed by regional banks and/or credit unions.

Large banks have nearly completely exited the student loan refinance business.

For consumers who wish to work with as few financial institutions as possible, refinancing with PNC might be appealing. Those looking for the best rates available might be best served by looking elsewhere as PNC’s refinance offer doesn’t really stack up well against the competition.

PNC Refinance Basics

PNC Bank Overview
Loan Terms5, 10, and 15 Years
Variable Rate Loans7.89% - 14.99%
Fixed Rate Loans6.99% - 13.94%
Minimum Refinance Amount$10,000
New Borrower BonusN/A

The PNC options are a bit more limited than most other student loan lenders. Other companies usually have an option for a 7-year loan and a 20-year loan.

Like most other refinance lenders, PNC does not charge any loan origination fees or prepayment penalties.

PNC Refinance Advantages

Comparing the PNC refinance interest rates to the top lenders in the various loan categories, PNC seems to be the most competitive for 15-year loans.

Even though the advertised rates with PNC are still a bit higher than other lenders, PNC comes close enough where it might make sense to check your rate with PNC.

Another perk for PNC is the .50% interest rate reduction for automated loan payments. Nearly all other lenders offer the industry standard .25% reduction, so PNC definitely gets the edge on this perk.

Finally, PNC does not require that applicants have a degree. Many other lenders impose a degree requirement, so if you have a good job but no degree, PNC might be an appealing option.

PNC Refinance Review – The Disadvantages

One area of caution with the PNC refinance loan would be the cosigner release program.

We normally encourage borrowers and their cosigners not to rely on any cosigner release program, but the PNC requirements are especially strict. Borrowers must make on-time payments for 48 consecutive months in order to be eligible for a release.  

However, meeting this requirement alone is not sufficient to get the cosigner release from the loan. The borrower must also submit proof of income and pass an additional credit check. The PNC process is similar to many other lenders, but the 4-year repayment requirement is exceedingly long.

Another concern that borrowers should consider is the fact that PNC refinances federal government student loans in addition to private loans.

Nearly all lenders refinance federal loans, so this concern is not unique to PNC, but borrowers should carefully consider their options prior to refinancing their federal loans. Federal loans come with consumer protections such as income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs, like Public Service Loan Forgiveness.

PNC Review Final Thoughts

When compared to the student loan startups and offerings from regional banks and credit unions, PNC falls short.

Due to the higher interest rates, a long cosigner release period, and limited refinance options, PNC lands towards the bottom of our refinance lender rankings.

About the Author

Student loan expert Michael Lux is a licensed attorney and the founder of The Student Loan Sherpa. He has helped borrowers navigate life with student debt since 2013.

Insight from Michael has been featured in US News & World Report, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous other online and print publications.

Michael is available for speaking engagements and to respond to press inquiries.

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