At a Glance:
Student loans make up approximately 30 percent of Bank of North Dakota’s portfolio. BND offers private student loans as well as student loan refinancing. Not every student will qualify for Bank of North Dakota student loans—they have to meet certain requirements.
The Bank of North Dakota, also known as BND, became the country’s first publicly owned state bank in 1919 when it was set up by the North Dakota government. The bank works in conjunction with other local financial institutions.
When someone applies for a loan, it will be originated by a bank or local credit union, and BND helps fund it. Because of the funding provided by BND, the local institutions can compete with bigger national banks. BND offers business loans, student loans, home mortgages, and farm loans. They are all disbursed with the help of local institutions except for student loans. BND lends that money directly to students, cutting out the middleman.
In the past 20 years, BND has generated more than $1 billion. Of that, around $400 million has been donated to the state for improving education and public services while reducing taxes.
Getting to Know Bank of North Dakota Student Loans
With both private funding for student loans and refinancing options for existing student loans, BND can be a good choice for affordable student loans whether you’re just starting school or you’ve been out of school for years.
They offer DEAL student loans that can be used for any expenses, including room and board, books, tuition, or other school supplies you might need. Their flexibility regarding what the money can be used for is a big benefit of BND student loans.
It’s easy to apply for this private student loan, but one requirement is that applicants have to fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) just as students pursuing federal student loans would have to complete.
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The minimum loan amount that can be borrowed for the DEAL student loan is $500, and the maximum loan amount that can be borrowed is $50,000. If that maximum amount isn’t enough for the school you’re hoping to attend, you can cut down on your loan needs by getting a work-study job and pursuing scholarships and grants.
Interest Rates & Fees
The interest rates are competitive through DEAL loans, starting at 3.70% for the variable annual percentage rate and 5.48% for the fixed-rate loans. Before immediately deciding the lower interest rate for the variable rate is the better option, keep in mind it will fluctuate over time and potentially end up higher than the fixed rate.
There is also a 3.75% administration fee for the loan that is added to the total payment amount, but BND covers that fee for North Dakota residents and those who attend a North Dakota school.
Those who don’t make a payment on time after their repayment portion of the loan begins will be charged a 6% late fee, which isn’t allowed to exceed $15 per late payment.
Borrowers are allowed to choose between three repayment plans for their loan while in school. They can make full payments, interest-only payments, or hold off on making any payments until after graduation.
The best student loans are ones that offer extra benefits for borrowers. Here are some of the perks BND offers.
- A 0.25 percent discount for borrowers who sign up for automatic payments.
- Borrowers can choose which day of the month they want their payments due.
- Once borrowers have made 24 consecutive, on-time payments, they may be eligible for a cosigner release from the loan responsibility.
To be eligible for the DEAL student loan financial aid option, borrowers must have an existing BND student loan, or they have to live in or attend an eligible school in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, Wyoming, or Wisconsin. They also can’t have any student loans in default, and they must be U.S. citizens.
Pros and Cons of Bank of North Dakota Student Loans
Like any student loan you’d get elsewhere, there are pros and cons to using BND for student loans.
- Competitive interest rates
- Flexible repayment term options—getting to choose whether you start making payments while in school or after school.
- A discount for signing up for automatic payments.
- This loan is only available to students living in or attending school in the northern region of those six states.
Can You Refinance Bank of North Dakota Student Loans?
Not many banks offer both student loans and refinancing options, but BND does. Its student loan refinancing option is called the DEAL One Loan. Borrowers can refinance private or federal student loans with this loan, and it also offers a .25% interest rate reduction for borrowers who sign up for auto pay. For the refinance, the rates are the same as they are for the DEAL student loan.
Alternatives to Bank of North Dakota
Before committing to BND, you should do your homework by comparing the rates of other lenders. A small difference in the interest rate can save you big money over the long life of a student loan. Contact several student loan providers and ask for quotes before making any commitments.
>> Read More: Best Student Loan Refinance Options
You should reduce your education costs by searching for as many grants and scholarship opportunities as you can. Finding low-interest student loans is a good choice, but it certainly doesn’t beat free money. Give yourself time to apply for as much free money as you can, which means you should start months in advance.
For state residents or students attending school in one of the six states in BND’s student loan service area, it’s an attractive option for obtaining a student loan or refinancing your existing student loans. They have competitive fixed interest rates and variable interest rates, as well as a payment due date selection option for more flexible repayment options. BND also offers a small interest rate reduction for signing up for automatic payments.
Before locking into anything or starting the official application process, make sure to fully explore your options so you can get the best rate available to you and reduce the cost of your college experience.
Author: Shannon Serpette
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