So I applied to Earnest and was turned down (see my extensive reivew about that process) and then applied to Sofi and to LendKey. I live in the rural south and figured LendKey wouldn't be able to match me to a credit union but there were two in entirely different states that were responsible for the majority of the offers they gave me. So here are my stats: 735 credit score, no lates, no defuncts, no negative marks on my reports; 65k govt loans, 25k private loans, 12k credit cards all 0%... so my monthly debt to income is low... maybe 30% or less. I claimed 60k for income (though it's probably higher - depends on how much additionally I work for the rest of the year). I work in the medical field as an RN, will have most of my govt loans written off in chunks over the next years and just wanted to refi my private loans. Graduated in December and started working in May. Submitted application to LendKey in late June.
I HAD 9.5% 10yr fixed with Citizens ($25k).
LendKey approved me for 5% variable for 15yrs with the option of paying interest for the first two years then paying more for the remaining 13 years. They break it down for you, give you a comparison, you can pay $200/ month for the entire 15 years assuming interest rates stay the same OR you can pay $115/ month for 2 years and then $265/ month for the 13 years... and they total it for you (it's the same amount you pay in total, in THEORY bc of the interest rate fluctuation). they offer best case/ worst case breakdowns as well. I opted for the interest only for 24 months, even though I pay more than the minimum each month because that keeps my overall debts listed with credit agencies low and thus, gives me greater options.
LendKey is VERY EFFICIENT and even though the loan is through a credit union (which I had to pay $20 towards a charity to join), LendKey is ther servicer and has made everything very seamless. Initially I was thinking to go with SOFI because this is their specialty and when I read the credit union reviews they were mixed and it made me nervous, but there was actually no need to look at the CU reviews bc LendKey is the manager. Also, Sofi has a live customer service rep that is your point person, which I really liked, but because they needed additional information from Human Resources (medical personnel income is challenging to ferret out because of all the differentials), LendKey had my loan agreement ready to sign before Sofi was even able to reach Human Resources so I just went with LendKey. I did have a few questions along the way (for example, is there a cap on the variable rates-- there is but it's really high, like 18% - Sofi is low at 10%) and representatives responded to all my questions at LendKey very quickly.
I case it helps others, my logic in selecting the loan that has the 18% variable rate cap over the loan with the 10% variable rate cap is entirely because I do not expect to keep this loan long and I like the fact that LendKey offers the interest only option for 2 years. Again, I pay my bill like it's NOT interest only, but the fact that my minimum is so low offers maneuverability say should I need a new car loan etc. ALSO, it means I'm more likely to be approved for a better loan in < 2 years because my debt to income (monthly) will look great... and that's the plan, REFI yet again in a year and a half. I want 5% FIXED. That's my goal. At that time I'll probably return to Earnest and Sofi. I just wanted out of that 9.5% loan FAST. I should have opted for the lesser variable rate when I initially took out the loans BUT I was just feeling scared about the variable rates and didn't have time to research and so I went with the fastest and most seamless option.
I am super happy with LendKey. I LOVE that they are the servicer! I'd stay with them if they managed to finagle a MUCH lower maximum on the variable rates BUT for that reason, I'll be looking at a peer to peer lender in a few years. Still, for my place in life and my situation, they really came through and they came through FAST. Loan monies were dispersed within days and registered with Citizens/ Nelnet (?) between 15-18 days (so Citizens only got one loan payment outta me!).