In a student loan refinancing and consolidation match off between SoFi, and DRB, two of the biggest all stars in consolidation companies; it is going to be difficult to compare them when they both are that great. Social Finance (SoFi) and Darien Rowayton Bank (DRB) reel in the lowest interest rates (currently below 2%) and a slew of other benefits that other competitors just cannot meet. While there is a host of similarities between the two, there are enough subtle differences to make borrowers lean one way or another.

Refinance Your Student Loan Easily (No Credit Score Required)

SoFi Know How to Stand Out

The best thing SoFi did to help borrowers was create a job placement program. SoFi actually hired the former Assistant Dean for Career Services at a top MBA school to lead its career services division to help unemployed borrowers get back to work. This is commendable in a loan company given most lenders want their payment now, and seem to lack insight as to why borrower’s payments are late or falling so far behind. Unfortunately, the world we live in today, people are losing their jobs. It could be in a variety of ways like outsourcing or aging out someone. SoFi made the change borrower’s needed to see. The first line of help is with job placement, and not a beeline to the collection agencies. This implemented program created by SoFi may just be the prototype for all student loan refinancing companies to follow.

SoFi offers new borrowers a nifty $150 sign up bonus as a quick little perk. This doesn’t have much to do with the loan, or the lifetime of the loan amount, but still who else is doing this?

And maybe it is not a big deal to some that SoFi runs their customer support call center out of California, but for others the fact that SoFi will spend the extra money to see their customers get the best service and treatment possible, it matters.

SoFi was actually created by a group of Stanford business students who wanted to help other business students. This concept was expanded to some other schools, and new program additions were included, until eventually SoFi became a nationwide program. This approach is commonly called crowd-sourcing or peer-to-peer lending. One of coolest things about SoFi’s goals is they encourage former borrowers to go on to become lenders. What company seeks an ongoing relationship with its customer after the business transaction has ended? This gives SoFi a huge advantage over other loan consolidation companies. SoFi has the incentive to care, groom and keep their borrowers happy.

The DRB Difference

DRB is an old school traditional bank located only on the East Coast. There is a the difference between a bank that has been around for a long time offering super low interest rates and a new loan consolidation company introducing themselves with the lowest rates. It is the trust-factor difference. This is not a company banking on internet presence, but one a borrower can actually walk inside a building and make contact with a live person.

DRB created a specialized borrower program. One such program for medical school graduates allows Residents and Fellows to pay only $100 per month towards their student loans until the end of their fellowship or residency. They then get a 6 month grace period to begin making standard payments. DRB is a nice benefit because it recognizes the initial hardships that may come early after graduation. It allows for immediate refinancing to fend off the interest while higher paying work is secured.

the biggest advantage to DRB has to be their low interest rates coming in at 1.92% is the lowest rate yet to be seen. This is perfect for those aggressive borrowers out to pay their loans off quickly. They also have a nice fixed rate of 3.5% for those borrowers who need that extra time.

They have a notable cosigner program at DRB. For one, they are not insistent on cosigners as are some other consolidation companies. Even for borrowers who require a cosigner there is no fixed waiting period for release. As soon as the borrower builds his credit and income up, the cosigner is free to go.

The Quick List for SoFi:

  • Refinancing and consolidation of private and federal student loans
  • Must have completed an eligible undergraduate or graduate degree program
  • Available for both undergraduate and graduate school student loans
  • 1.90% APR to 5.19% APR (with autopay) variable rates, capped at 8.95% to 9.95% APR
  • 3.50% APR to 7.24% APR (with autopay) fixed rates
  • 5, 10, 15, 20 year repayment terms
  • No origination fees or prepayment penalties
  • Unemployment protection – loan payments are paused and they help find new job
  • Career support – complimentary coaching for SoFi members
  • Entrepreneur program – qualified applicants can receive loan deferrals and mentorship

The Quick List for DRB:

  • Refinancing and consolidation of private and federal student loans
  • Must be an alumni of a bachelors or graduate degree program (e.g. MBA, Law, post-residency Medical/Dental, Physician Assistant, Advanced Degree Nursing, Pharmacist, Engineering, PhD, etc.) who meet the underwriting criteria
  • DRB also offers parents of Bachelor degree holders the opportunity to refinance student loans they took out to finance their child’s education as long as their child has graduated and is working. Parents can refinance Parent PLUS loans in their own name or their child’s name.
  • 1.90% – 3.98% (with autopay) variable rates
  • 3.50% – 6.25% (with autopay) fixed rates
  • 5, 10, 15, 20 year repayment terms
  • Maximum variable rates capped at 9% for 5, 10, 15 year terms. For 20 year term, maximum rate cap is 18% APR
  • No origination fee or prepayment penalty
  • 25% Interest Rate Reduction with automatic payments via ACH

SoFi or DRB: Which is the best?

Both SoFi and DRB are excellent student loan refinancing and consolidation companies. Either is going to a good choice for a borrower. The biggest hindrance is that even though they both offer the lovely lowest interest rates around, not everyone is going to qualify for it. Lenders evaluate borrowers differently, so your given interest rate is going to be based on your own personal finances. The best way to find out is to apply at both. It might be a load of extra time and paperwork, but if it saves you thousands of dollars in interest, it will be well worth it.

If you are considering federal loans for consolidation with SoFi or DRB, go to the federal student loan database. There you will be able to pull up a full list of your federal loans. If the loan is not on the list, you can be assured that it is a private loan.