I think just about everyone can agree that student loans kind of stink. Every month when I pay my loan off I cringe. I’ve been sitting on my student loans for a few years now and with a lower interest rate environment it was time to refinance.
I just finished up the process, spending a decent amount of time pricing out my options. I was mostly concerned with two things, 1) the borrowing rate, which was the most important factor, and, 2) the quality, responsiveness and reputation of the lender.
Not surprisingly, given the low interest rate environment, I found a lot of attractive refinancing opportunities. The market for student loan refinancing is pretty efficient as most lenders were within 15 basis points.
So how can a lender differentiate in a low rate, efficient market? Well, one way is by being on top of their game and proving that they care about the borrower. The company I went with, Earnest, was by far the best in terms of being responsive and helpful. I particularly thought their use of SMS was thoughtful and very helpful to getting me to choose them as my lender.
Moving your loans is a bit of a process. You need to submit a ton of documentation, go through an in depth application process and then spend time coordinating between lenders. As you can imagine, when digging up paperwork, finding tax statements, searching for arcane mailing addresses, lots of questions come up.
What really separated Earnest was the support they provided. Immediately after submitting my application I received a text asking for some more information.
From that point on, I was able to text with questions as they came up. Since the process is so arduous being able to text and quickly get a reply did a few things:
- Sped up the final application process.
- Helped answer questions about their program.
- Made me feel more comfortable knowing there was a reliable resource on the other end.
I love the way Earnest is using SMS. They’re the only company that I saw in the student loan space that took advantage of sms and it made a big difference.