Previously I was able to refinance my student loans from Federal Stafford from ~6.8-7.9% (criminal!) to SoFi, which dropped the rates to ~ a variable 3.25%, which then crept up to 3.5% after the Fed raised interest rates (better, but made me somewhat nervous when interest rates appeared to be on the rise).

Recently First Republic Bank did a pitch at our office, indicating that they have a somewhat different model than SoFi and the other student loan refi companies:

- (1) assuming you qualify (they are looking for at least 2 years of employment, student loans from good universities, and professionals working in medicine, law, dentistry and business), everyone gets the same interest rate. This is not like SoFi who gives you an interest rate based on your individual credit profile.
- (2) they claim they are not looking to make lots of money refinancing loans, but are looking to establish a relationship with high earning individuals so that hopefully you come back to them for your car/home loan in the future. This is pretty much evident from their interest rates -- for example, 1.85% variable over 5 years or 1.95% fixed over 5 years. Even at 10 years they would be my old SoFi rate by at least half a point, and they offer a
**fixed **rate that is significantly less than the SoFi **variable **rate. - (3) If you prepay your loans in less than 4 years/48 months, they will give you a rebate of the actual interest you paid up to 2% of your initial loan amount.

In my case, 2% of the refinanced $82k is $1,640. They also give a referral credit of $200, so me and my colleague were each able to pick that up.

Compare:

SoFi $82k loan @ 3.5% interest, 10 year loan paid over 4 years --> Total interest paid is ~$5,700.

vs.

First Republic $82k loan @ 1.95% interest, 5 year loan paid in 4 years (requires an additional $400 payment monthly) --> Total interest paid is ~$3200.

**Subtract $1,840 from the rebate and the referral, and the total interest paid drops to $1,360. This is roughly equivalent to a 0.8% loan.** I could work on pre-paying the loan even faster, such that the total interest paid is equal to the 2% rebate, and essentially have a zero percent loan. But with the interest rate this low, and the rate fixed, I'm leaning toward socking more money away in additional NetSpend accounts at 5% (taxable) interest, or in taxable Vanguard ETFs.

https://www.firstrepublic.com/fundyourdreamsIf anyone decides to put in an app, send me a PM and we can work out a referral. First Republic only refi's professionals with grad loans in their geographic markets, which roughly include LA to SF and Boston to NY. So far, I've been pretty pleased with their customer service. As a bonus, I got a debit card that refunds any ATM fees.