LendKey Student Loan Consolidation
LendKey is not just one company but many smaller not-for-profit credit unions who have pooled their resources in order to take on larger companies in the competition of offering the lowest rates. This means that there is a lot of variety in what they can offer. Their goal is to offer the resources of a big bank with the customer care of a smaller company.
LendKey offers student loan refinancing for both federal and private student loans. They have a reputation for treating customers with the care of a credit union as opposed to a large bank. This philosophy causes them to offer some interesting benefits. If you have not had a job for up to 6 months after graduation you are eligible for their initial interest only option which allows you to only pay the interest for the first four years.
It is common to use a co-signer with good credit to sign a loan because it allows you to have a better chance at lower interest rates. However, this is a big commitment for the co-signer. So, LendKey offers co-signer release to anyone who makes 12 consecutive payments. This means your co-signer is no longer contractually or financially obligated to your loan after you prove your ability to make payments.
The longest repayment plan LendKey offers is only 20 years for a variable rate loan, which is good if you can make the monthly payments because then you will pay less interest. However, if your debt is too large to repay in 15 years you may need a different lender. LendKey offers consolidation loans for up to $125,000 for undergradutes, $175,000 for graduates and $300,000 for medical degrees.
Interest Rates and Fees
LendKey offers variable rate consolidation loans with a variable APRs as low as 2.17% over a 5, 7, 10, 15 or 20 year term. Fixed rate loans are available for the same terms term with rates as low as 3.25% APR. As with many lenders, the best rates are available when you set up automated payments.
There are no loan application or origination fees from LendKey, but be sure to diligently check the fee policies of the individual credit union generating your loan.
The Application Process
LendKey online application process starts with their loan refinancing calculator. Plug in your remaining loan balance and current monthly payments to figure if refinancing your student debt can be done at a saving to you.
Yes? Then proceed to their online application. You'll move through several screens to determine eligibility, get your interest rate, and customize your loan. During the application process, you'll be prompted to select a credit union to fund your loan. While choosing a credit union, it's a good idea to open another browser tab and check on their reputation.
Applicants will upload the following documents during the application process:
- Proof of employment such as two recent pay stubs, two years of tax returns, or a letter of acceptance from a future employer.
- A copy of a recent loan statement from each loan that you intend to refinance, including lenders name and address, your name, loan balance and account number.
- Proof of residence, such as a driver's license, bank statement or utility bill.
You can navigate through the LendKey application process in 20 minutes or less, seeing potential savings from refinancing all the way to loan approval and choosing the loan best suited to your finances.
You should still check the loan agreement details from the credit union or community bank before signing on for the loan. LendKey brings the loan offer to you, but the actual loan agreement is between you and the lending institution.
LendKey Pros and Cons
LendKey brings together over 300 credit unions and community banks to generate loans at low rates, and can lend in all 50 states. They save borrowers a lot of time researching these institutions themselves, with an eye on the best interest rates.
It is time consuming and complicated to pay on student loans to multiple lenders each month. Consolidating loans via LendKey delivers the ease of making just one monthly payment.
LendKey offers a 30 day return policy. You can cancel the loan within 30 days of disbursement with no fees or interest due, a rarity among lenders.
Note that some federal loans have perks that private lenders don't offer, such as loan forgiveness if certain conditions are met. Federal loan programs for teacher or public employees offer loan forgiveness under specific circumstances. Other federal programs adjust payment amounts downward based on the borrower's income. You may loose those specific advantages when refinancing with a private lender but you may find better ones.
LendKey offers loan terms of 5, 7 10 and 15 years on fixed rate loans and 20 years on variable rate loans.
You can call LendKey customer service 9AM to 8Pm EST via their toll free number. Their customer care centers are located in New York and Ohio. Borrowers can also email customer care. Their Ultimate Student Loan Refinancing Guide can be downloaded as a PDF.
Verdict - Great
LendKey has an A+ rating with the BBB for their student loan refinancing service. With their access to over 300 non-profit lenders, they offer an amazing array of choices for student loan consolidation. This unique collection of credit unions and community banks offers a fresh perspective of student lending. Their interesting options are definitely worth consideration.