Darien Rowayton Bank (DRB) Review
Darien Rowayton Bank, or DRB, has been around since 2006. It was founded by Gary Leiberman., and is based in Connecticut. However, recently the bank announced its intention to move into New York as well.
In its first 15 months, DRB accumulated $24 million in deposits. Between 2008 and 2009, the bank was able to triple its deposits.
Since then, DRB has been expanding its student loan division. DRB also happens to hold the record for fastest lender in history to reach $1 billion in student loan refinancings. While they are a traditional brick and mortar bank, DRB is able to refinance in all 50 states.
They are able to provide the stability of a bank, and the super low interests rates potential borrowers can find with online lenders like SoFi and Earnest.
What does DRB offer to Potential Borrowers?
Though it’s a minority in the banking industry, DRB offers student loan consolidation and refinancing. Qualifying borrowers can consolidate their private and federal loans into a single loan, with a lower interest rate.
They can refinance and consolidate any federal loan out there, including Parent PLUS loans, and Direct subsidized and unsubsidized loans. However, you need to weigh your options before you decide to refinance your federal loans into a private loan. You could possibly lose your ability to make income-based payments, forgiveness, and some of the other benefits that come with federal student loans.
DRB also services its own loans. Unlike many other companies out there that use third party companies like Nelnet and Navient to service their loans, DRB takes care of that. This makes dealing with account issues and payments much easier, since potential borrowers only need to deal with one company.
The Details of DRB's Refinancing
You can also get some of the lowest and most competitive rates with DRB. They offer variable and fixed rates. The variable rates start at 2.63% for a 5 year loan, and go up to 5.72% for a 20 year loan. You do want to be careful if you choose a variable interest rate. Since it’s variable, it can change from year to year, and go up (or down)!
The fixed rates are a little higher, ranging from 3.75% to 6.85%. Borrowers can also get a 0.25% rate reduction if they sign up for automatic payments on both variable and fixed rates.
DRB also offers a diverse set of payment terms. Borrowers can have any number of years for the term, as long as the number is 20 years or below. Keep in mind, though, that the longer you set your loan payments out, the higher your interest rate will be.
Benefits of DRB's Refinancing
A great perk, depending on how you look at it, is DRB’s cosigner program. The bank actually doesn’t put an emphasis on potential borrowers getting a cosigner. However, if the borrower decides she needs one, cosigners can get released without a fixed waiting period. That means if a borrower gets a raise, and their credit score goes up, she can get the cosigner released without having to wait some arbitrary number of months before getting the cosigner off the loan.
If borrowers have a spouse with student loans, DRB also offers consolidation to combine the spouses’ loans into a single loan. This definitely has some benefits, but spouses may want to think twice before they put themselves on the hook for their significant other’s liabilities.
DRB doesn’t have any fees. While many other institutions charge 1 or 2 percent in an origination fee, which could be high in some cases, DRB takes the high road. They also don’t charge prepayment penalties for paying off loans early.
Here are some other benefits if you go with DRB:
· Loan Forbearance: they offer full or partial forbearance to qualifying borrowers for one or more three month period. You can get up to 12 months of forbearance over the life of your loan.
· Death and Disability Forgiveness: all the loan will be forgiven if the borrower dies, and some or all of the loan if a permanent disability significantly lowers the borrower’s income.
· Residents: loans are available to current medical and dental residents. Your rates will be lower if you can secure post-graduation employment before applying.
· Loan Amount: borrowers can borrow up to 100% of their federal loan balance, with no ceiling.
DRB Eligibility Requirements
All borrowers need to be U.S. Citizens or permanent residents with a valid I-551 card. However, DRB will also look at the potential borrower’s employment, employer size, debt-to-income ratio, disposable income, total student debt relative to his annual salary level, and credit history.
Additionally, potential borrowers need to have graduated from an accredited university, the loans must either be in the grace or repayment period, and they cannot currently be in default.
How to Apply to DRB
The application process is fairly straightforward. It can be done online or on the phone. All you need to do is go to their website and click on the apply now button on the top right of the screen.
Once there, you just need to fill out your profile, include employment information, and check a couple of confirmation boxes. After you fill out the information, you’ll go to a page that show you your qualified rates. If not, you’ll see a message saying you’re request was denied.
You will then have the option to continue with your application. This time DRB will run a hard credit inquiry to determine whether or not they want to offer you a loan.
All in all, going with Darien Rowayton Bank is a pretty good choice. They offer very competitive rates, and if you want to avoid it, you can get out of needing a cosigner. The bank is also a brick and mortar institution, so it can offer more security, potentially, than an online only refinance company.
The bank also offers a ton of perks, from forbearance, which most institutions don’t offer, to complete loan forgiveness, which never happens.
If you want to feel good about refinancing your loans, DRB is the place for you.