CommonBond Review - Student Loan Refinance

Application & Approval Process
8.0/10
Rates & Fees
8.0/10
Payment Terms
8.0/10
Customer Support & Benefits
8.0/10

About CommonBond

CommonBond is an award-winning private lender offering world-class refinancing services (including student loans). The company does not finance the loans itself and rather operates as a marketplace for Bank of Lake Mills, the Trust Company of Lincoln, and Union Bank. The brand is synonymous with the lowest APR for applicants who have a high credit score. It competes with the likes of SoFi, Ernest, and Credible and is widely preferred for its low rates and generous repayment terms. However, there is an entry barrier, and community feedback suggests that getting loan approval from CommonBond can be a tough nut to crack.

The company has its headquarters situated in New York and has a formidable share in the US student loan refinancing market. Most of CommonBond’s lenders are from an MBA background since the brand started off in the MBA financing niche in 2011. The company was founded by David Klein, who was stressed with his own loan repayment while pursuing an MBA at Wharton. CommonBond does its share of good in society by helping students in underdeveloped countries through an ongoing collaboration with Pencils of Promise.

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Good

8.0/10

Pros

  • Competitive rates
  • Social outreach
  • Community benefits
  • Flexible repayment terms

Cons

  • 5% late payment charges
  • Unavailable in some states

Key Highlights

  • Low APR on Fixed, Variable, and Hybrid models.
  • Range of student loan products available including undergraduate, graduate, MBA, dental, medical, and student loan refinancing.
  • Co-signer release after 24 regular EMI payments.
  • 1-For-1 social promise of promoting education in underdeveloped countries.
  • Minimum/Maximum refinance of $5000 to 500000 covering full attendance costs.
  • Flexible forbearance options for up to 24 installments over the entire loan term.

Application & Approval Process

Initial Quotation

CommonBond has an easy application process which is divided into two halves; getting your pre-qualified rates after a soft credit check and the actual approval and funding of your loan after document verification and a hard credit check. The first part requires minimal information.

To get the initial quotation from CommonBond, you need to open an account with the platform and have the following information ready:

  • School/Degree Information
  • Income Details
  • Refinance Loan Amount
  • Other Active Debts
  • Estimated Monthly Expenses
  • Personal Details
  • Social Security Number

Based on this questionnaire, CommonBond conducts a soft credit check and presents you with pre-approved rates and terms. Once you select your preferred repayment option, you can proceed with the loan application for which you need to give your consent for a hard credit check.

Once you apply for a loan, you need to share the following details:

Education Details

  • Institute Name
  • Educational Degree
  • Field of Study

Income Details of Borrower/Co-Signer

  • Number of Year at Present Job
  • Annual Income before Tax
  • Refinance Loan Amount
  • Active Loan Details
  • Estimated Monthly Expenses
  • Monthly House Rent
  • Financial Aid (scholarships/federal student aids)

Personal Details of Borrower/Co-Signer

  • Date of Birth
  • Social Security Number
  • Address

As with many other student loan refinancing companies, CommonBond requires additional documents to complete the application process:

  • Identity Proof Certificate of citizenship/nationalization, social security card, driver’s license, US passport, birth certificate
  • Last 3-month Income Proof
  • Last 3-month Loan Statement
  • Last 3-month Savings/Bank Statement
  • Proof of Address
  • Proof of Educational Qualification

Applicants have to digitally sign certain documents like demand promissory note, sanction terms, etc. and upload it with the application.

Approval

CommonBond provides its pre-approved rates instantaneously, but there are no specific timelines available for any of its lending services. However, based on market reviews, the actual funding process takes somewhere from 2-10 days. Funds are directly underwritten with the previous lender. Agreement
CommonBond refinancing is subjected to certain agreements that need to be agreed upon by the borrower. Here are the agreements that bind the CommonBond refinancing:

  • Credit Check Agreement
  • Patriot Act Information
  • Information Sharing Agreement
  • Lender Privacy Statement
  • Loan Disbursement Agreement
  • Income and Employment Agreement
  • Consent to Verify Graduate Information

The refinancing application process is completely transparent and self-explanatory.

CommonBond Rates & Fees

The primary appeal of CommonBond is its low interest rates while staying moderately generous with its terms. The second-best thing is the hybrid rate which gives you the best of both the worlds. CommonBond Hybrid Loans enjoy fixed rates for the first five years and are then linked with market rates for the rest of the term. It can be a good alternative in times when interest rates can be seen rising for the foreseeable future. The APR available ranges between the following extremes:

Fixed – 2.83% to 6.74%
Variable – 1.99% to 6.84%
Hybrid – 3.63% to 5.66% (Fixed interest for first 60 instalments and variable thereafter)

All rates include a 0.25% autopay discount. A variable rate is the total of the margin plus 1-month LIBOR.

Do not be solely enticed by the lowest value in the APR range since it is seldom offered. Applicants who have a good credit score and low debt, compared to their income, can consider taking advantage of CommonBond. The company is best recommended for students who have already served a major portion of their debt. Applicants with high debt – pushes the debt-to-income ratio beyond 0.3 – are less likely to get the best interest rates, even if their income is more than sufficient.

CommonBond doesn’t charge origination fees for a loan refinance and you can make extra payments on your loan account at no extra cost. There is a late payment charge of 5% of the overdue amount or $10, whichever is less. Check bounce/return also incurs a $5 charge.

Payment Terms

CommonBond has above-average terms and conditions for its refinancing segment. It has good forbearance policy and deferment options that are comparable to federal loans. The loan terms offer quite a lot of flexibility for lenders to be comfortable with their EMIs. The repayment terms are as follows:

  • Undergraduate/Graduate loans – 5, 10, or 15 years
  • Dental and medical school loans – 10, 15, or 20 years
  • MBA loan – 10 or 15 years

Students can prepay any amount to their loan account throughout the entire term, free of cost.

The repayment options available that you will come across are: full, interest-only, fixed, and deferred.
CommonBond offers up to 24 months of forbearance for the entire loan term without any extra cost, in 3 months tranches. The company is quite liberal in its listing of forbearance circumstances that include:

  • Discretionary Forbearance – Inability to pay installments due to serious illness, temporary hardship due to unavoidable circumstances.
  • Mandatory Forbearance – This applies to lenders serving in an AmeriCorps position, National Guard Duty, and medical/dental residency.
  • Economic Hardship – Available for lenders facing prolonged financial hardships. Loans must be at least 60 days from delinquency while filing for forbearance.
  • Administrative Forbearance – A set of 12 circumstances like bankruptcy due to injury while serving the nation, forbearance initiated by the Department of Education, etc.
  • Natural Disaster Forbearance – Loan put on forbearance due to any natural calamity that affects the borrower’s income or ability to pay.

Lastly, they offer co-signer release after 2 years and 24 months forbearance flexibility.

Customer Support & Benefits

CommonBond prides itself on its award-winning customer support team. In 2017, they obtained a Stevie Award in the Sales and Customer Service for professionalism and super quick responses. The customer care hours are available from 9 AM to 8 PM (EST), Monday to Friday. The company has a live chat facility that caters to queries from registered users. The majority of feedback on CommonBonds’ customer support across different online forums is quite positive. In addition, the company also has an informative and regularly updated blog section where you can find plenty of self-help articles on student loan refinancing.

The company offers a wide range of benefits to its current users such as:

Money Mentor – A division that helps users with scholarships, job hunting, FAFSA submissions, resume editing, personal budgeting, and improving credit score.
Social Commitment – CommonBond promises to fund annual tuition fees of a student in need for every degree it funds. This initiative is launched with the support of Pencils of Promise, a New-York based organization working in schools of Ghana and Laos.
CommonBridge – Common Bridge was a 2017 initiative which was launched to bridge the gap between employers and jobseekers. However, the program has been dormant in news for some time now.

i

Good

8.0/10

Contact Details

Headquarter Address: 524 Broadway, 6th Fl., New York, NY 10012
Phone: 800-975-7812
Email: [email protected]
Live Chat
Social Media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn

“Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. If you choose to complete an application, we will conduct a hard credit pull, which may affect your credit score. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.13% effective Dec 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.”

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Good

8.0/10

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