First Republic Bank Student Loan Refinance Review

Our Rating: D+ (Compare)

First Republic may be the best option for borrowers with high debt and reliable income. Because First Republic refinances student loans as personal lines of credit, borrowers may include debts that usually don’t qualify for student loan refinancing.

Loan Limits $65,000 – $350,000
Fixed Rates 3.95% – 8.20% (13.20%)*
Variable Rates None
Terms 7, 10 or 15 years
Min. Credit Score Unspecified
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*Lowest rates always include multiple conditional interest rate reductions totaling 2.75%; highest rate in parentheses includes a 5.00% penalty for closing the First Republic ATM Rebate Checking Account that is required for this loan.

Skip to: Rates & Fees | Eligibility Requirements | Repayment Options | Consumer Reviews & Complaints | FAQ

Loan Refinancing Options
Private student loans
Private parent loans (in parent’s name only)
Federal student loans
Federal Parent PLUS loans (in parent’s name only)

First Republic Refinance Rates & Fees

First Republic’s fixed rates start between 3.95% and 8.20%; 13.20% is the maximum fixed rate. Lowest rates always include a 2.00% interest rate reduction for maintaining automatic payments and direct deposit with a First Republic ATM Rebate Checking Account, a 0.50% reduction for depositing and maintaining a deposit balance of at least 10% of the approved loan amount into that checking account, and an additional 0.25% for depositing and maintaining a deposit balance of at least 20% of the approved loan amount into the checking account (total rate reduction: 2.75%).

In 2022, First Republic’s lowest available fixed rate for new loans has risen 75.6% (from 2.25% APR) while its highest starting fixed rate is up 31.2% (from 6.25% APR). The maximum fixed rate possible has increased 17.3% (from 11.25% APR).

Refinance Loan Rates
Term Fixed Rate
7, 10 or 15 Year 3.95% – 8.20% (13.20%)

Additional information about First Republic refinance rates:

  • Checking your rate with First Republic does not affect your credit score. To determine eligibility, they perform a soft credit inquiry instead of a hard credit check (learn the difference).
  • First Republic does offer a discount for setting up auto-pay with a First Republic checking account: 2.00% interest rate reduction.
  • Additional rate reductions include 0.50% for depositing and maintaining a deposit balance of at least 10% of the approved loan amount into that account, plus an additional 0.25% for a deposit balance of at least 20% of the approved loan amount into the account.
  • No variable rates.
  • Borrowers pay interest only on draws for the first two years.

Student Loan Refinancing Calculator

Based on advertised rates, use the calculator below to determine what your new monthly payment and potential savings may be if you refinance with First Republic.

Additional Fees

Beyond interest rates, there are a number of fees a refinance lender may charge up-front or during the loan servicing period. Below is a list of these fees that First Republic does or does not charge.

Not included is the automatic 5.00% interest rate increase for closing the required checking account.

Fee Type Amount Charged
Application Fee Undisclosed
Loan Origination Fee None
Disbursement Fee Undisclosed
Prepayment Penalty None
Late Payment Fee Undisclosed
Returned Payment Fee Undisclosed
Collection Fee Undisclosed
Insufficient Balance $25
  1. Application fee – fee to apply for rates & approval.
  2. Loan origination fee – fee to create the new loan.
  3. Disbursement fee – fee for distributing funds to lenders to pay off loans that have been refinanced.
  4. Prepayment penalty – fee for making extra payments to reduce a refinance loan balance or pay it off early.
  5. Late payment fee – fee for making a late payment.
  6. Returned payment fee – fee for failed payments due to insufficient funds, also known as a “bounced check”.
  7. Collection fee – fee for collection activity on a defaulted debt.
  8. Insufficient balance fee – a monthly $25 fee that applies when a borrower’s First Republic ATM Rebate Checking Account monthly average balance falls below $3,500.

Current Promotions & Offers

First Republic offers interest rate reductions totaling 2.75%. This lender also advertises a referral program that offers a $300 reward to both the referrer and the referee (that is, the person referred). Restrictions apply.

First Republic Refinance Eligibility Requirements

To qualify for refinancing with First Republic, all borrowers must meet the criteria below.

  • Citizenship Requirement: U.S. citizenship or permanent residence.
  • Income Requirement: no minimum income specified but borrowers must have a debt-to-income ratio below 40%.
  • Credit Score Requirement: no minimum specified.
  • Graduation Requirement: none specified.
  • Location Requirement: availablity limited to residents of California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and parts of Florida, Oregon, and Wyoming.

Additional restrictions apply for specific individuals and loans.

  • Borrowers are required to open a First Republic ATM Rebate Checking Account in order to open a personal line of credit.

First Republic Student Loan Repayment Options

Lenders vary greatly on the benefits and options provided to borrowers during the loan servicing period. Additionally, benefits may only be available on a case-by-case basis. First Republic offers some relief options.

Deferment & Forbearance

First Republic does not offer any type of deferment or forbearance for a personal line of credit.

Condition Coverage
Returning to grad school None
Disability rehabilitation None
Active military duty None
Involuntary unemployment None
Economic hardship None
Natural disaster None
Temporary hardship None

Additional Options

First Republic may offer other opportunities for relief or contract modification.

  • Co-signer release is not available with First Republic.
  • Death / disability discharge may be available in the unfortunate circumstance that a borrower passes away or suffers total permanent disability.

First Republic Reviews, Complaints & Lawsuits

Beyond our own findings, our team also collected the most genuinely insightful customer experiences we could find, including any instances of legal action against the company in which the details became public.

First Republic Online Reviews

Below are 3 samples of First Republic customer reviews we found on public forums, included here for their value as unedited, uncensored, and unsolicited user experiences. Note that these reviews are unverified, may include inaccuracies, and may provide outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.).


“Love FRB. I initially had 10% reserve for 1.95% fixed rate, but wanted to use the cash elsewhere, so I now have 2.45% without reserve.

Looks like they increased their rates and capital requirements. I would not want to park 20% earning basically 0% interest for that many years. 2.7% is still very good.”xraygoggles on White Coat Investor, 8/14/2019


“Also refinanced my student loan with FRB. Some thoughts:

They are very clear this is a personal loan and that you will lose your benefits that come with having a student loan. This is written in several places on their website.

The minimum balance is part of your loan agreement (it’s in my contract) and they do check every now and then. I recently asked if I could dip into my balance for a down payment, and was told that they don’t like to do that, especially within the first year (it’s only been 10 months for me). They said they might be willing to make an exception if I could bring the balance back up after a reasonable time. I ended up not needing to do this, so can’t tell you more.”mauigi on reddit, 12/21/2019


“In brief: It’s been an excellent experience.

I refinanced about $50,000 in federal loans with First Republic about nine months ago. I had 10 different loans with Navient, and the biggest, a graduate Plus loan, was sitting at 8.5%. Dealing with Navient always sucked.

I was approved at First Republic for an 84-month loan at 2.55%. My payment went down about $50 a month to $675. Before, half my payment went to principle, and the other half to interest. Now, it’s about $575 to principle, and $100 to interest.

There are caveats: You need to keep a $3,500 balance in a checking account, and be set up on autodebit. You also have to live in a state that has First Republic branches. But I’m happy with the checking (ATM reimbursement, free checks), and I’ve even gotten a couple hundred bucks from referring a friend for a refinance. If you refer someone and they get approved, they get $200, and you get $300. I shopped around a bunch, and couldn’t happier so far.”roncraig on reddit, 12/27/2018


More (unfiltered) customer reviews of First Republic are available at TrustPilot.com (3.2 out of 5).

First Republic Consumer Complaints

As consumer finance companies, student loan refinancing lenders fall under the jurisdiction of the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), a federal agency. As part of its mission, the CFPB allows consumers to log official complaints. These complaints are publicly available on the CFPB official website.

Since May 24, 2012, consumers have submitted 144 complaints about First Republic Bank to the CFPB. That’s one (1) complaint every 26 days, 11 hours, and 31 minutes, a complaint rate that is more than twice as high as the average daily complaint rate among reviewed lenders. Among 38 complaints with narrative explanations, five (5) or 13.2% specifically reference refinancing student loans.

In 2022, the average complaint rate is 91.5% higher (as of this writing) than it is in an average year. In 2021, First Republic received 17 complaints; that is 23.3% higher than the average annual complaint rate and equivalent to one (1) complaint for every $310.588 million of that year’s corporate revenue or two (2) complaints for every 645 employees.

The allegations made in these complaints are unverified, are not necessarily representative of all consumers’ experiences with First Republic, and may contain outdated information (about rates, bonus offers, etc.). Note that a lender with a large customer base is likely to also have a higher number of complaints when compared with smaller lenders.

Line Graph: First Republic Bank Consumer Complaints, Public Complaints Filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, from 2012 (6 complaints), 2013 (7), 2014 (7), 2015 (9), 2016 (14), 2017 (10), 2018 (20), 2019 (18), 2020 (14), and 2021 (17)

Below we’ve included three (3) of the most recent complaints (as of this writing) in which the consumer consented to share their details.


Complaint 6024954
9/27/2022
California

“I submitted a complaint on this issue but the bank did not address the issue. First complaint info : COMPLAINT ID XXXX SUBMITTED ON XX/XX/2022 I have requested information related to how exactly my ARM interest amount is being calculated as I am entitled to discounts- but I have yet to see how the bank is taking this into consideration. The bank ‘s statement that they are giving me what I am entitled to is not sufficient – I want the breakdown and transparent communication regarding my rate.”


Complaint 5893505
8/18/2022
California

“I applied for a home mortgage loan with XXXX XXXX, XXXX Director and XXXX Manager at First Republic Bank ( FRB ) in XXXX XXXX, CA. I submitted my loan application and all supporting documents on XX/XX/2022. XXXX XXXX confirmed that the application and all supporting documents are complete. He informed me that because I am self-employed the loan will undergo an underwriting review prior to approval. On Wednesday, XX/XX/XXXX I informed XXXX XXXX that I was in contract to purchase a property and I need to know if I will be approved for a loan with FRB because if not, I will proceed to work with another lender that has already approved my loan. XXXX XXXX informed me that my file in still in underwriting review and he will inform me when it is complete. He then asked me if I have decided whether I will choose FRB as my lender. I informed him again that I am already approved for a loan with another lender and I would like to see a loan approval and loan estimate from First Republic Bank before I make my final decision. At this point XXXX XXXX informed me that it requires a lot of effort on his part to process my file and to send it to underwriting and that he is not interested in pursuing the process unless I express my commitment to FRB as my lender of choice. I informed XXXX XXXX that I can not make a commitment unless I know that I am approved for the loan and unless I am provided a written loan estimate. XXXX XXXX then informed me that he expects the loan to be approved by the evening of XX/XX/XXXX and he verbally provided me an interest rate on the loan and a dollar amount of closing cost credit he expects to provide. XXXX XXXX further stated that he will not provide me with a written loan estimate until I am in contract and not until I have decided to commit to FRB as lender of choice. He further stated that he does not wish to provide me a loan estimate because I may use it to shop for better terms with another lender. XXXX XXXX further state that I need only to focus on the interest rate he is offering me ( verbally ) and that he does not need to provide me a written loan estimate before I commit to FRB as my lender of choice. I expressed again to XXXX XXXX that I can not accept a verbal loan estimate as this will not provide me any legal protection in case the terms of the loan change later, in the final stages of my purchase contract. XXXX XXXX still refused to provide me with a written loan estimate. I followed up with XXXX XXXX via email on XX/XX/XXXX to ask if the loan had been approved and I again expressed my demand to receive a written loan estimate. I informed him that if he does not provide me a written loan estimate along with the loan approval, I will seek to work with another loan officer at First Republic Bank or I will pursue another lender altogether. XXXX XXXX emailed me back shortly after, stating that my loan application had been rejected. I believe XXXX XXXX did not act ethically or transparently during our time working together. XXXX XXXX falsely stated that he does not need to provide me with a loan estimate before I commit to receiving a loan from FRB. I believe XXXX XXXX attempted to confuse me regarding my rights as a consumer to shop for the best terms from multiple lenders. I also believe that XXXX XXXX did not act in good faith when he processed my loan application.”


Complaint 5699907
6/23/2022
California

“On Wednesday XX/XX/2022, I fell victim to a scam call that started around XXXX and lasted until about XXXX. During this time I was put under a lot of stress, manipulations, threats, intimidation from the scammers ( man & woman, although man was doing all the talking, the woman was making commentary in the background ) to the point that I was coerced to send them money, {$5000.00} ( two separate payments of {$2500.00} ) was taken out of my checking account via XXXX. The con artists called me from this number XXXX. The money was transferred to someone named XXXX XXXX who apparently is enrolled at receiving bank institution as XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXX XXXXXXXX ” I called the bank to report the fraud as soon as the phone conversation ended and soon after I also reported the incident to the police. The bank representative mentioned via email that it was unlikely that I would receive funds back.”


For a full list of complaints made against First Republic in the CFPB’s Consumer Complaint Database, click here.

First Republic Lawsuits

First Republic Bank has not been subject to any recent major litigation.

M&M Consulting Group LLC v. First Republic Bank, Case No. 8:20-cv-01318

While not considered significant legal action, a California consulting group has accused First Republic, among other banks, of theft. Representatives of M&M Consulting Group LLC claim M&M is owed around $35,000 in fees that First Republic Bank refused to pay.[1]

As of July 2020, the case is moving through the Central District Court of California. Note that while this information is updated regularly, ongoing legal action is subject to change.


Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most common questions consumers have about student loan refinancing with First Republic.

  • What is a personal line of credit?
    First Republic’s personal line of credit allows borrowers to repeatedly draw on their own funds; these funds may be used to pay off both student loans and other debts, related or unrelated. This means that for tax purposes, this is considered a personal loan and not an educational or student loan.
  • Is First Republic good for refinancing student loans?
    First Republic may be good for borrowers with a high amount of debt and a steady, reliable source of income.
  • Does First Republic require a minimum credit score?
    First Republic does not specify a minimum allowable credit score.
  • Are First Republic loans federal?
    First Republic loans are not federal. First Republic has no affiliation with the federal government or the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Does First Republic charge a prepayment penalty?
    There are no penalties for early payments or repaying a loan in full before its term is over.
  • Does checking your rates with First Republic hurt your credit score?
    For their prequalification process, First Republic performs a soft credit check, which will not hurt your credit score. If you proceed with an application, however, First Republic will perform a hard credit check that may affect your credit score.
  • Can I refinance a First Republic loan?
    No, you cannot use this personal line of credit to repay a First Republic loan. You may repay a federal loan or a student loan from another private lender. You may also use this line of credit to pay certain other debts that may or may not be directly related to your education.
  • Can I refinance just some of my loans with First Republic?
    Yes, you can refinance some, all, or just one of your qualifying student loans with First Republic. You may choose to refinance your private loans only or refinance private and federal loans together.
  • Can I refinance loans that have already been refinanced?
    Yes, you can refinance loans as many times as you want with First Republic. Note that each time you refinance, you will have to submit a new application; every application requires a hard credit check that may affect your credit score.
  • Can my spouse and I refinance our loans together with First Republic?
    First Republic does not offer a PLoC to multiple borrowers, but borrowers may use credit to pay off a spouse’s educational debts.
  • How long does it take to refinance with First Republic?
    First Republic does not specify a timeline.
  • Who services First Republic refinance loans?
    First Republic presumably services its own loans and PLoC.
  • Does First Republic offer a grace period?
    No, First Republic does not offer a grace period.
  • How often do variable rates change?
    First Republic does not offer variable rates.
  • Can I get any special rates or discounts with First Republic ?
    First Republic does offer the opportunity for interest rate reductions.
  • What happens if I file for bankruptcy?
    In the event of bankruptcy, you may still be obligated to repay this loan.
  • Does First Republic partner with any major student refinance lender marketplaces?
    Credible advertises First Republic as a featured lender in their multilender marketplace.

Compare Student Loan Refinance Reviews

Lender Rating
RISLA A+
Brazos A
CommonBond A
Credible A
Advantage A-
ELFI A-
Laurel Road A-
Mpower Financing A-
Splash Financial A-
Purefy B+
UW Credit Union B+
LendKey B+
College Ave B
PenFed B
SoFi B
Earnest B-
EDvestinU B-
INvestEd B-
MEFA B-
Sparrow B-
Yrefy B-
Citizens Bank C+
ISL C+
Lend-Grow C+
SELF Refi C+
SuperMoney C+
First Tech Federal C
BECU C-
Navy Federal C-
First Republic Bank D+
iHelp D+
Discover D
Nelnet Bank D
PNC Bank D-
NaviRefi F

Sources

  1. Bloomberg Law, Chase Kept Pandemic Loan Fees Owed to Accounting Firm, Suit Says (1)
  2. First Republic Bank, Refinance Student Loans and Other Debt with a Personal Line of Credit
  3. CFPB, Consumer Complaint Database
  4. Dun & Bradstreet, Business Directory: First Republic Bank
  5. Better Business Bureau, Search Businesses and Charities