2017 update: DRB is now known as Laurel Road.
Admittedly, I do not have much experience with Darien Rowayton Bank (DRB) as I’ve never banked nor refinanced my loans with them. However, several of my classmates have worked with them, so this review is based off of their personal experiences.
The application can be filled out on the Laurel Road website and usually the process takes about 25-30 minutes. I’ve been told that Laurel Road requests a voluminous amount of information about your loans as well as your identity, so make sure you have all of your information readily accessible to help streamline the process. The interface of the online application is somewhat limited, but is still functional.
Varying accounts have been shared with regard to the length of time required to process the loans. One classmate revealed that it took approximately 3 weeks for his loan application to be processed with an additional 2 weeks before his loans were paid off. Another classmate shared that her application took 2 weeks to be approved and 45 days before her loans were paid off.
The consensus with regard to Laurel Road’s customer service department is that it is serviceable, but could use some improvement. This may be due to longer than expected wait times to speak with a representative (~10 min). That said, their experience with Laurel Road representatives have been positive and helpful.
Student Loans (updated as of January 2018)
While the interest rates are a little higher than many of their competitors, one advantage Laurel Road offers is the length of their loan terms. Laurel Road is very flexible with the loan terms offered with their products. They offer 5 7, 10, 15, and 20 year terms, so if you’re looking for a loan with a longer term so that you can focus on other financial priorities, Laurel Road may be a potential company to work with.
Criteria to Qualify
Typical borrower profiles involves an individual with a medium credit score (700s) and annual income that is in the low to mid $100K. Additionally, Laurel Road will evaluate your debt to income ratio. They have a fairly fluid underwriting process, so any concerns you may have about your history, you should contact a Laurel Road representative and have a discussion on how best to proceed. More than likely, given that you’re a CRNA, you most likely will be approved for a loan at a great interest rate. I encourage individuals to shop around and compare rates and terms to better understand what’s available out there before making a decision.
Origination and Early Payment Fees
Laurel Road does not assess an origination fee to cover the cost of processing the loan nor do they assess a fee if you end up paying off your loans earlier than the term you signed up for.
Grace Periods From Previous Loans
Laurel Road will honor grace periods up to 6 months from your prior loans.
If you sign up for an automatic monthly electronic funds transfer from ANY checking account to pay your loans, you will receive a 0.25% reduction from your monthly payment.
Again, because I’ve never actually had a relationship with Laurel Road, I can’t really give you an accurate description of what their products are like. Everything I have written in this post is from my classmates’ personal experiences. As far as I can tell, they are satisfied with their relationship with Laurel Road given the flexibility in loan terms as well as the 0.25% reduction in monthly payments the company offers.
However, it sounds like improvements need to be made with their customer service as well as streamlining their online application process. If you’re looking for a product that has great flexibility in the loan terms offered, Laurel Road is a great option. If you’re looking for a product that has the lowest interest rate among other benefits, you may want to consider what the other competitors are offering.
*As of September 2016, Laurel Road no longer allows spouses to combine their loans.