I’m not even gonna try to pull any punches when it comes to who I think the best student loan lenders for 2020 are, whether looking for a private student loan to get started in supplementing your federal student loans or for student loan refinancing on existing loans. Community Banks & Credit Unions are tops for us here at Loan Camel in the student loan / student loan refinancing market for 2 primary reasons:
We believe in these institutions and their missions so much that we have aligned ourselves with them 100% on the student lending side at Loan Camel, as their values align closely with our stated mission of Helping People Over the Hump.
Traditionally, these lenders were harder to get access to online for student loans and refinancing, due to their localized nature, as most loans are coming from the standard “big bank” financial institutions which dominate the online lending market. Now you can shop low interest rate community bank & non-profit credit union private student loans & student loan refinancing here at Loan Camel through one source.
That being said, a little background on who you would be giving your student loan or student loan refinancing business to, will go a long way to place things in perspective as you get some of the best rates available while supporting these community-driven institutions. And no worries, I’m proudly an ADHD success story so I’ll keep it brief (& mostly to the point) for all of us – Daddy Poorbucks included.
I actually never knew what Credit Unions did and what they were about all the way into my 40’s – when I joined one – so I had no idea of their mission and benefits until later in life. So if you don’t already no then no shame… I’ll accept all the shame for everyone.
Credit Unions do what banks do except they are not-for-profit financial institutions which are owned and controlled by their members. In joining a credit union, the things you notice most are that the focus is on customer service and providing benefits to you as a member whereas traditional banks operate on a profit-driven model.
As a credit union member, access to loans and funding is generally easier than it would be with a big national or regional bank, based on their non-profit business model. So members with lower or even bad credit scores have a better chance of getting financed through a credit union. Interest rates on loans and fees are generally lower while interest rates paid on interest-bearing accounts are generally higher – after all, they really are here to benefit their members… who also make up their boards – or a significant portion of their boards.
Credit union deposits are insured up to $250,000.00 through the National Credit Union Association (NCUA) much like the same amount of deposits at banks are insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). This provides depositors with confidence in the safety of their deposited funds.
The biggest challenge when banking with a credit union for me was the lack of numerous ATM’s and branch locations. While my credit union did not charge me a fee for using other financial institutions’ ATM machines for cash withdrawals, those banks charged me each time. This of course is not an issue for you in seeking a loan
Qualifying for credit union membership is based on the guidelines set forth in the operating documents of each individual credit union. Personally, I was able to join through a former place of employment but there are many types of credit unions out there based on workplace, government employment (state, federal…), military membership (by branch even such as Navy Federal Credit Union for the Navy), religious groups, geographical location, industry… like there’s a lot of sh-t out there that you might qualify for as a credit union member that you might not even know you could qualify for.
But we gotcha there too, as our loan search includes credit unions that you might match with and qualify to join. I think when I joined a credit union it required that I make a $5.00 deposit and I was a member for life. You got this, you can do it! But what if you can’t qualify for credit union membership, then what?
No worries people in the back, we’ve got you too and we’re moving you up to the front row as well through community banks, the other component of our private student loans and student loan refinancing love match we provide you here at Loan Camel.
And yeah, Daddy Poorbucks knows a lil somethin somethin bout community banks too as I’ve held accounts at and banked with them as well. For really realz, I’m starting to realize and ask myself what the F’n hell haven’t I done or experienced, both good and not so good, in my personal financial life? It gets crazy over here sometimes yo so let’s get to it.
Community banks are… well… community banks. Seriously, that’s their focus and nature, serving the local communities in which they operate. They operate in a local area, even if they have more than one branch. The community bank I belonged to serviced an exurban and rural area close to a larger city.
While unlike credit unions, community banks are for profit institutions, like credit unions, community banks are service-driven in support of local communities. You will often find high ranking bank officers working on site and loan decisions are made locally, by local people, as opposed to the more detached, further removed decision makers associated with large banks.
Local banks support and want local businesses as opposed to targeting the massive corporations that large banks target. Local businesses and community members as a whole are their bread and butter. Participation in and sponsorship of local community events are a staple in the community bank marketing plan as well as an underlying linchpin in their support of community service. They are loyal to their communities and work to build trust, confidence and loyalty the old-fashioned way.
Community banks often provide lower interest rates on loans, pay higher interest rates on deposits, have favorable credit card programs and invest in their communities because investing in their communities means reinvestment back into these banks. And, yes, like credit unions, a disadvantage is the number of branches and ATM fee charges at other banks and potentially ATM charges from the community banks as well. Keep in mind that a number of credit unions have reciprocity agreements with each other so that their customers can use each other’s ATM’s free of charge. That said, as it relates to finding the best student loan lenders for private student loans and student loan refinancing, this is not really relevant for you as a potential borrower.
And no need to search out community banks in person for a loan as we’ve got you here too at Loan Camel where, like credit unions, we help you find a community bank love match through one application. We make this easy and efficient for you. It beats the old way, right?
If you didn’t know, the old way was to either apply in person or via mail to select institutions where you were limited in your options just by the nature of the logistics involved in the application process. That’s how I did my student loans ions ago. I mean I’m old-ish, so that’s what we did. I also knocked on doors with resumes when I graduated, so there’s that too.
And if you are thinking that things have changed because you can apply on line, even with companies that search for you, yes you can, but these companies are dominated by the bigger lenders. At Loan Camel, we are providing you that same online search function right here, but we are aligned with non-profit credit unions and community banks.
As a result, we are matching you up with whom we feel are the best student loan lenders out there. And lenders who match the Loan Camel mission of Helping People Over the Hump.
When you fill out a loan application for either a new private student loan or for existing student loan refinancing at loan Camel, the application is submitted here through Loan Camel. Our partner, who will also service your loan, matches your needs and community lender-driven attributes to community lenders who you align with. You then have an opportunity to pick and choose who and what works best for you.
This is a real opportunity to secure low interest student loans and /or student loan refinancing from non-profit credit unions and community banks. You are, in essence, now able to shop multiple local lenders with ease and convenience, from wherever you are – online.
Access the best student loan lenders online right here at Loan Camel, securing low interest rate private student loans and / or student loan refinancing while supporting credit unions and local community banks near you.
Loan camel makes the process of applying easy for you through one source where you can begin right here. You will be matched with community banks who are often closer to you as well as credit unions, both local and national.