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Tuesday, January 25th
Education Loan Finance (or ELFI for short) is a division of SouthEast Bank, located in Tennessee. Launched in 2015, this lender works strictly with educational funding: student loan refinancing, plus private undergraduate, graduate, and parent loans.
Harder to qualify for refinancing here
To see your rates with Education Loan Finance, you'll provide your name and contact information, basic details about your educational background and income, and your Social Security number so that they can perform a soft pull on your credit history. You'll find out immediately if you prequalify for student loan refinancing here, and we found their criteria to be more stringent than some rival lenders: we were told that we would need a cosigner to continue our application, even though other services were able to offer us refinancing without one.
Attractive interest rates and many terms to choose from
On the plus side, we appreciated that ELFI still showed us the rates and terms available on their refinanced loans. We could choose terms of 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 years, and interest rates we were quoted were competitive with the best lenders in our review. Of course, those rates are subject to change - based on the qualifications of our cosigner, since we didn't prequalify on our own. Still, they were very competitive and it might be very much worth your while to jump through the hoops ELFI requires in order to take advantage of those low rates.
Minimum loan amount of $15,000
ELFI has a higher-than-average minimum loan amount: $15,000. That's not very competitive with rival services who allow refinancing of student loans with a balance of just $5,000. You also can't refinance here if you didn't complete your degree, though that's not uncommon among lenders in this industry.
Education Loan Finance gets a lot of positive feedback from satisfied clients. There were no complaints registered with the BBB in the year leading up to this review, and the BBB gives ELFI an "A-" rating. More impressive are the 1,500+ five-star ratings from borrowers who name specific support reps for going above and beyond with their helpful, knowledgeable service. Across the board, customers say that this lender delivers on its promise to help them save a significant amount of money by refinancing their student loans: no bait-and-switch and no nasty surprises at any point during the process.
Better-than-average student loan refinancing if you qualify
We were on the fence between giving ELFI a rating of 3.5 or 4 stars: with that higher loan minimum and the increased likelihood of needing a cosigner, they have a few drawbacks. But ultimately this lender earned our 4-star rating because of their demonstrated track record for providing low interest rates and dependable service to their clients. It's still a good idea to shop around a bit before choosing where to refinance your student loans, but if you qualify to work with Education Loan Finance, you can trust that it will be a good experience.
If you got your student loans back when interest rates were high, you're smart to think it might be a good idea to refinance when rates have dropped. Whether you get a lower rate or take years off your loan (or both!), your savings could be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
You can typically qualify to refinance your student loans if your outstanding balance is at least $5,000, though some lenders have higher minimums. You'll often need to be in good standing and up to date on your current loan payments, have steady income and a credit score of 660 or higher. Otherwise, your refinancing may require a cosigner.
But, be careful if you're considering refinancing your federal student loans into a private loan. There are some benefits offered with government student loans that don't carry over into privately-funded ones. Do your research before you sign on the dotted line and make sure that the benefits you'd gain outweigh the perks you'd lose.
So, you've determined that it's the right time to refinance your student loan. What should you look for in a lender? Here are some factors to guide your decision-making:
To help you determine the best way to refinance your student loan, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's top lenders. We're confident that with this information, you'll easily find the right rate and term on your loan refinancing!
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