Citizens Bank is a full-service retail bank that operates primarily in the northeastern United States, but offers student loan refinancing to residents across the U.S. through Citizens One, the bank’s lending division that operates nationally. Citizens Bank offers great refinancing rates to many borrowers and as with any lender, the lowest rates are available to borrowers with stellar credit; others will receive a rate based on their credit profile.
Unlike some lenders, Citizens offers refinancing to some borrowers who have not completed their bachelor’s degree. While you may not refinance while attending school, those who have stopped attending school and do not plan to complete their degrees are eligible to apply for refinancing through Citizens after making twelve full, on-time payments with their current lender. This is a minor drawback, as refinancing early will only save a few months worth of interest, but may be a letdown for borrowers hoping to get started as soon as possible.
Citizens borrowers who are struggling to make their payments due to economic or medical hardship are eligible for up to twelve months of forbearance, however If you find yourself on the other side of the spectrum and with extra money to pay down your loans, Citizens does not charge any fees for extra payments (or even for paying it off entirely).
Citizens also offers interest rate discounts of up to 0.5% to borrowers fulfilling specific criteria. Their ‘Loyalty Discount’ of 0.25% is available to borrowers who have a pre-existing Citizens Bank account when they apply (co-signers’ accounts also qualify).
Citizens bank offers an Automatic Payment Discount is just what it sounds like; a 0.25% interest rate reduction for enrolling in automatic payments. Anyone who refinances with Citizens can take advantage of the Automatic payment Discount, whereas the Loyalty Discount is limited to borrowers who live in a state where Citizens offers banking products.
Perhaps one of the biggest draws of refinancing with Citizens (apart from low rates) is for borrowers hoping to consolidate their finances. Since Citizens offers everything from credit cards to mortgages, it could (theoretically) be your bank for life. That said, some products are only offered to residents of certain states in the northeast, so this benefit won’t apply to you if you live elsewhere.
Being an older, more established bank, Citizens doesn’t offer some features that some startup lenders have incorporated into their offerings. Some newer lenders allow you to, for example, choose your exact loan term and monthly payment amount or donate money to a nonprofit. Citizens Bank has instead chosen to offer the standard term options available from most refinancing lenders.