Venture-backed startup, CommonBond has teamed up with Nelnet, an industry giant that holds over $25 billion in student loans and is committed to financing at least $150 million in loans through CommonBond's platform. CommonBond plans to fund $1 billion in loans in the next two years.
CommonBond, like other online lenders, uses a mix of data that helps it project a borrower’s future income — like what school she graduated from — and uses that to underwrite loans in partnership with an actual bank, Lake Mills, that, it says, will save its borrowers about $10,000 over the life of the loan. It then passes on the loan payments to investors. The more forward-looking data along with what it says is superior (and far more personalized) customer service, is what distinguishes it from traditional student lenders. Its also basically the pitch for much of the rest of the industry, including SoFi and Earnest, which recently started offering student loan refinancing. The rates CommonBond offers — starting at 1.92% for variable rate loans and 3.89% for fixed, are comparable to Earnest and other online student lenders.