I emailed CommonBond to ask more about what happened, and here’s what I found out:
“CommonBond entered the solar lending business in 2021 to originate new loans for homeowners who want to add solar panels to their homes.
Student loan refinancing took a hit during the pandemic. Presidents Trump and Biden imposed and extended a pause in loan payments that offered relief to borrowers and removed the need for refinancing in many cases.
They plan to continue support for all existing borrowers. Refinance loans with CommonBond are still serviced by Firstmark Services. But if you want to refinance now, you’ll have to look elsewhere: the application process for new student loan refinancing has permanently closed.
This refinance lender used to offer private student loans with a qualified cosigner and low-interest refinance loans for student loan borrowers who had an undergraduate loan, graduate loan, or Parent PLUS Loan. They offered unique perks like financial advice and generous forbearance. (CommonBond did not operate in Mississippi or Nevada.)
Now that CommonBond isn’t refinancing student loans, you’ll need an alternative student loan refinance lender. Below, you’ll find the ones I have found to be the best and most flexible.
CommonBond Alternatives for Student Loan Refinancing
Look for student loan refinance lenders without origination fees, loan application fees, prepayment penalties, or crazy late fees. Make sure your lender offers an autopay discount. Check the eligibility requirements with your chosen refinance lender before filling out an application.
Although a fixed-rate loan is easier to budget for compared to a variable-rate loan, you’re likely to pay more over the life of the loan. Although I don’t recommend one or the other, you’ll want to keep this in mind while selecting your loan type.
What this means for current CommonBond borrowers
Even though CommonBond is not accepting new applications for student loan refinance, they will continue to service the accounts of all existing borrowers. Officially, nothing is changing for current CommonBond customers.
Concerned about holding a refinance loan from a lender who no longer prioritizes student loan refinancing options? You can refinance your current refinance loan into a new refinance loan.
There’s no limit to how many times you can refinance a loan. There’s minimal downside, especially if you can find an interest rate reduction.
If you want a new refinance loan, compare different lenders for freeusing Credible. If you want a lender with comparable benefits to CommonBond and don’t want to decide between lenders, consider SoFi.
For those who fall on financial hardship, SoFi offers similar deferment and forbearance options to CommonBond’s.
How to change your private student loan servicer
You can’t change your private student loan servicer unless you refinance your loan with a new lender. Some lenders service their own loans, but not all lenders do.
You can request to change your federal student loan servicer by consolidating federal loans into a Direct Consolidation Loan. If your federal servicer has stepped out of line, you may also submit a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education.
Instead of refinancing federal loans, consider consolidating them into a Direct Consolidation Loan. This gives you one low monthly payment and retains federal loan perks.
If you want to refinance your student loans, use Credible to compare different refinance lenders at no cost.
What are the benefits of refinancing student loans?
The main pros of student loan debt refi are finding the lowest rates and getting better loan repayment plans. You may also benefit from:
Lower interest rate
Lower monthly payment
Money saved over the life of the loan
Shorter repayment term
Credit check, if you have recently built up your credit
Consolidating payments if you’re refinancing multiple loans
Are there any risks to refinancing student loans?
There are very few risks to refinancing private student loans. As long as you choose a refi loan that has a lower interest rate, manageable monthly payments, and no hidden fees, you should be able to save your hard-earned money in the long run.
Applying for a refi loan might lower your credit score for a short time because the lender has to make a “hard” credit inquiry. Credit inquiries slightly affect your credit score, but only for a year.
If you refinance federal student loans, you lose benefits like government-backed forbearance, certain loan forgiveness programs, and income-based payment plans.
If you cannot make monthly payments on your refi loan, it will impact your credit score, and late fees will likely increase your loan balance.