[Update 12/3/2017: DRB is now Laurel Road. All of the review below still apply to the Resident & Fellow Refinancing program.]
If you read my previous post on student loan consolidation/refinancing and decide that refinancing is good choice for you, this post is for you. Future Proof, MD will be running a series of reviews on student loan refinancing companies that provide special programs serving young medical professionals. We're starting with Darien Rowayton Bank (DRB) because I was recently made aware of their new Resident & Fellow Flexible Financing Program.
Who is DRB?
DRB is an FDIC-insured community bank based in Darien, Connecticut. While their brick & mortar branches are in Connecticut, DRB serves customers nationwide via internet and phone.
By the numbers:
- 2nd largest student loan refinancer behind SoFi.
- Rates (APR) varies from 3.64%-7.20% [Updated 9/17/2016]
- Both Fixed and Variable loans available.
- 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 year term options.
- No origination fee or prepayment penalty.
- Covers up to 100% of loan balance ($5,000 minimum).
- Regardless of total amount of your loan, your required payment will only be $100/month during residency/fellowship + 6 months. After which, your payment will be based on the amortized schedule of your selected loan term (5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years).
- If you prefer to pay more than $100/month, there is no prepayment penalty.
- Accrued interest during training does not capitalize until 6 months after.
- Loans are dischargeable in case of death or permanent disability.
- Must be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident.
- Although DRB's website is quite modern, their online application is managed by another company CampusDoor - who offers one of the most unresponsive and frustrating web portals I've ever used. [Update 9/17/2016: DRB now controls their own underwriting - CampusDoor is no longer in the picture!]
- Lack of online tools to get a quick rate quote.
- You are required to have a DRB Bank account with them. While you are not required to keep a balance in the account, it is still a hassle. [Update 9/17/2016: Now you can qualify for the 0.25% interest rate reduction by making automatic payments from any checking account. DRB Checking no longer required!]
- If refinancing Federal loans, you forego eligibility for loan forgiveness programs such as the PSLF.
- Low rates (APRs) - although some of DRB's competitors offer the same low rates, e.g. SoFi, Earnest etc. As always, your individual rate offer will differ based on your financial qualifications.
- Attractive $100 payment option for the length of training + 6 months. No penalty if you make more than the $100 monthly minimum payment.
- Future income taken into consideration during underwriting. DRB wouldn't discuss their rate pricing guidelines with me, but I assume that's how they qualify you for #2 above.
- FDIC insured community bank at the core.
Bottom Line - Should you get hitched?
If you are decided on refinancing, I advise applying to multiple student loan refinancing companies simultaneously to see what rates you are quoted and go with the lowest offer. DRB should definitely be included in that list of companies. There's a good chance that DRB will offer one of the lowest rates. After all, the roadblocks in DRB's process is a one time hassle and your long term savings could be significant.
FPMD Readers - get a no-obligation application thru this link and receive a $300 bonus upon loan closing. Note - you must click the "APPLY NOW" button after the jump. If you navigate away from the FPMD link, your participation may not be tracked. If you would like to explore the site before applying, I recommend you do so in a separate tab.
Full Disclosure: Future Proof, MD is an affiliate of Laurel Road which means if you apply through the link provided above, FPMD may receive a referral fee payment. For details on FPMD's advertising policy see Advertising Disclosures.