ELFI interest rates generally rank among the best in most loan categories.
Refinancing federal loans can be risky because borrowers have to give up benefits that come with federal student loans.
ELFI’s award-winning, US-based customer service means fewer headaches for borrowers.
Other lenders may offer better interest rates.
ELFI Exam Overview
ELFI has become one of the best student loan refinance lenders in the market.
Our review of ELFI revealed two big advantages over most other lenders. First of all, ELFI customer support is based in the USA and has won several awards. Second, because ELFI is bank-backed, its rates tend to be more stable than those offered by tech companies like SoFi and Earnest.
That being said, there is cause for concern for borrowers considering refinancing with ELFI.
Getting Started: ELFI Basics
|Loan conditions||5, 7, 10, 15 and 20 years old|
|Variable rate loans||3.53% – 7.24%|
|Fixed rate loans||4.83% – 7.64%|
|Minimum refinancing amount||$10,000|
|New borrower bonus||$150|
While the starting rates for ELFI loans are decent, the highlight for ELFI might be the 15 and 20 year fixed rate loans which are among the lowest prices on the market.
To qualify for an ELFI loan, a borrower must hold a degree and pass a credit check. Like most legitimate lenders, there are no loan application fees, origination fees, or prepayment penalties.
One area where ELFI is a bit stricter than other lenders is that they require a minimum student loan balance of $10,000 to refinance. Borrowers with smaller balances should look to lenders like CommonBond and Road of laurelswhich require a minimum of just $5,000.
ELFI offers a co-signer release program, but co-signers can only be released if the borrower can pass a credit check themselves.
Benefits of Student Loan Financing
ELFI offers more than low interest rates. Their call centers are all located in Tennessee, and borrowers have a single point of contact with a direct number to call for assistance. This should make resolving any issue much smoother.
ELFI student loans are managed by Mohela and American Education Services (AES). Mohela has one of the best reputations among student loan servicers, while AES is just average. Unfortunately, borrowers do not have a choice of repairer assigned to them.
ELFI is currently running a promotion that offers new borrowers a $150 bonus who sign up by following this link. While $150 is a decent change, we should note that shopping around is still key – borrowers with larger balances will be much better off in the long run if they’re looking for the lowest rate rather than the biggest bonus. .
Attention to borrowers: an important concern of ELFI
The concern we have with Education Loan Finance applies to almost all student loan refinance companies.
While it makes sense for some borrowers to consolidate their federal student loans with a private lender, that decision can also be a mistake. Refinancing your federal loans means you lose federal benefits such as income-based repayment plans and student loan forgiveness programs. We view these programs as an insurance policy. The cost of this insurance policy is higher interest rates.
If you think you might lose your job or not be able to pay your student loans, it’s best to keep your loans with the federal government. If you have no problem paying off the debt, locking in a low interest rate might be a smart move.
Do I have federal loans? If you are unsure whether your student loans are federal or private, visit Ministry of Education Student Help Portal. They keep detailed records of all federal student loans.
Why choose ELFI over refinance lenders like SoFi and Earnest?
After watching ELFI for several years, I have come to the conclusion that it is a lender that beats to the beat of its own drum.
Investor interest tends to drive rates from most tech-focused lenders. While student loans are a popular investment, tech companies can offer great rates. If no one wants to invest, funds dry up and lenders raise rates. Most refinance companies raise and lower rates the same way.
ELFI rates move less. There are times when ELFI is a bit behind the rest of the market, and there are times when ELFI has the best rates by far. For this reason, ELFI is worth a look for any shopping borrower.
ELFI Student Loan Refinance Review: Final Thoughts
The student loan financing option stands out because of the low interest rate offers in a variety of loan categories.
In the end, advertised rates are only a tiny part of the refinancing equation. What matters is the actual price offered. Because ELFI combines the stability of a historic bank with very low interest rates, it is a lender worthy of serious consideration.