PNC Refinance Review
PNC might be a good option for some, but most will find better rates and a better deal elsewhere.
Article Updated January 1, 2019 to reflect the latest interest rate information.
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 startups 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, with the exception of Wells Fargo’s disappointing refinance offering.
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 looking elsewhere as PNC initial refinance offer doesn’t really stack up well against the competition.
PNC Refinance Basics
PNC offers both fixed-rate and variable-rate refinancing and consolidation. Loan repayment length is limited to either a 10-year term or a 15-year term. Interest Rates with PNC start at 4.69% for their variable-rate loans and 4.89% for their fixed-rate loans. These are much higher than the current best rates on the market.
Borrowers are able to refinance a minimum of $10,000 in student loans, up to a maximum of $75,000. Like most other refinance lenders, PNC does not charge any loan origination fees or prepayment penalties.
PNC Refinance and Consolidation 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 off 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 and consolidates 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. This is because federal loans come with consumer protections such as income-driven repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs, like Public Service Loan Forgiveness.
Of the two major banks offering student loan refinancing and consolidation services, PNC is the better choice. However, when compared to the student loan startups and offerings from regional banks and credit unions, PNC falls short.
Due to the higher interest rates, long cosigner release period, and limited refinance options, PNC lands in 14th out of 18 lenders in our refinance lender rankings.