Guide to Refinancing Your Student Loans (and Saving Money) With PenFed

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.

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Feeling the pinch of high student loan interest rates? If you have a stable job history, decent income, and good credit, you might be the perfect candidate for refinancing.

Despite private student loan refinancing being a relatively recent development as far as far as financial products go, the marketplace is quickly growing with viable options. As a result, student loan borrowers can choose lenders according to criteria such as interest rates, flexible repayment terms, and solid reputations – lenders such as PenFed.

What is PenFed?

In 2010, an experienced big-bank executive who realized smaller is better when it comes to financial services invested in the launch of CordiaGrad in 2010; the goal was to create a small financial institution that could focus on excellent customer service and student loan refinancing.

Recently, CordiaGrad changed its name to PenFed in order to better represent its mission to provide helpful refinancing options.

PenFed focuses on working with borrowers who have graduated and have at least two years of employment history, although they make exceptions for individuals with medical or dental degrees.

PenFed loans are originated by Bank of Virginia (member FDIC) and are serviced by University Accounting Services. In addition to student loan refinancing, PenFed also offers a checking account product for borrowers.

What PenFed does as a refinancing company

As a private student loan refinancing company and bank, PenFed can refinance federal, private, and Parent PLUS loans. The minimum loan amount is $20,000 and the maximum is $350,000 – though holders of medical or dental degrees who exceed the maximum are encouraged to reach out for a manual review.

Applicants can use PenFed’s Find My Rate tool to determine their loan’s interest rate without submitting an application or undergoing a credit check. As of this writing, variable rates range from 2.72% to 7.46% APR and fixed rates range from 3.25% to 7.03% APR.

These rates assume a 0.50% reduction for setting up auto-pay from your PenFed checking account. Checking accounts also include bill pay, mobile deposits, online banking, text banking, free ATMs nationwide, and an app to manage your money.

PenFed borrowers can opt for 5-year, 8-year, or 12-year loan repayment terms. Applications can be completed in as little as 15 minutes and you can check on the status of your application anytime by logging in to your account.

Applying for PenFed refinancing

To qualify for refinancing with PenFed, you must be a U.S. citizen at least 23 years of age. You must also hold at least a bachelor’s degree and have at least a two-year employment history.

To qualify without a cosigner, you must have an annual income of at least $42,000 and a strong credit history. If you make at least $25,000 and meet the other requirements, you may qualify to refinance with a cosigner.

PenFed now offers a cosigner release option for borrowers who have a cosigner on their refinanced PenFed loan. Borrowers may request a cosigner release after one year (12 consecutive months) of on-time payments. Like other lenders that offer cosigner release, PenFed then conducts a quick re-evaluation of the borrower’s financial and credit profile before granting the release. 

Once you use the Find My Rate tool to confirm your interest rate, you can create an account and apply for preapproval. Then you’ll need to provide the following supplemental materials:

  • Income verification: A paystub or tax return
  • Photo ID: A driver’s license, passport, or state-issued ID card
  • Payoff Verification Statements from each existing servicer: a statement that projects the payoff amount 10, 15, or 30 days into the future
  • Graduation verification: A copy or photo of your diploma or transcripts
  • Verification of two years minimum of employment: W-2s or 1099s will suffice, as well as offer letters that match up to your pay stub.

PenFed makes this process simple – you can upload a smartphone photo or screenshot directly into your application. Plus, there are no origination fees for PenFed student loans.

Making student loan payments to PenFed

If you refinance your student loans with PenFed, the most convenient method for making payments is through an auto-debit from your PenFed checking account.

As mentioned, setting up automatic payments from your PenFed account qualifies you for a 0.50% interest rate reduction. Bonus: because payments are made automatically, you don’t have to worry about being late or missing a payment.

Prefer to make automatic payments from another checking account? No problem! And you’ll still qualify for a rate discount of 0.25%.

There is never a penalty for paying your loan early. Though PenFed doesn’t offer deferment or forbearance, if you have trouble making payments for any reason, they do work with borrowers with extenuating circumstances on a case-by-case basis.

PenFed Contact Information

Phone: 202-524-1115

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If you have federal or private student loans, a high credit rating, and stable employment, you have many resources at your disposal to help you refinance your student loan debt. Is PenFed refinancing right for you? The only way to find out for sure is to apply.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

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Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.