Alert: In honor of Juneteenth, we will be closed Wednesday, June 19th. Learn more

Loan Refinancing

By Jennifer Tucker
June 7, 2024 | 6 Min. Read

Refinancing your loan can be a game-changer for your financial well-being, giving you opportunities to save money and achieve your long-term goals.

Refinancing is the process of replacing an existing loan with a new loan that has different terms, often with the goal of obtaining a lower interest rate, reducing monthly payments, or changing the length of the loan.

At Marine Credit Union, we’re here to help you make informed decisions about your loans. Here, we’re exploring what it means to refinance a loan and how it might benefit you.

You might be wondering, “Is refinancing a good idea?” The answer will depend on your individual circumstances and financial goals, so it’s important to determine what you want to achieve by changing your loan terms. Do you want to lower your interest rate? Make your monthly payments more manageable? Pay off your loan sooner?

As you settle on your goals, consider these potential benefits of refinancing a loan:

If interest rates have dropped since you took out your original loan, refinancing to a lower rate could save you money by paying less interest over the remaining life of the loan. You may also be able to save money if you have an adjustable-rate loan and want to switch to a fixed-rate loan to lock in a more stable interest rate.

Refinancing can reduce your monthly payments through a lower interest rate or an extended loan term. Lowering your interest rate or extending your loan terms may help you pay less in interest over the life of the loan. Lower monthly loan payments can free up cash flow for other expenses or savings goals.

Refinancing may give you the opportunity to either lengthen or shorten your loan term. If you extend your loan term, you may lower your monthly payments but increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. If you shorten your loan term, you may save money on interest but increase your monthly payments.

Refinancing may allow you to consolidate multiple debts into a single loan, simplifying your finances and reducing overall interest payments. Learn more about debt consolidation and how it works.

If your home has appreciated in value, refinancing can give you access to your home’s equity. That equity can be used for home improvements, emergency expenses, or other financial needs. Learn about how to use home equity the right way.

As you consider whether refinancing is right for you, it’s also important to calculate the costs associated with refinancing. Refinancing may require you to pay closing costs, appraisal fees, and origination fees. Ultimately, refinancing can be a smart financial move if it helps you save money, pay off debt faster, or achieve other financial goals.

Before you refinance an existing loan, you want to understand what the process looks like. You might experience a bit of déjà vu—the steps to refinance a loan look similar to the steps you took to first get a loan.

Unsure what you can refinance? The most common types of loan refinancing are student loans, auto loans, and mortgage loans.

Here’s what the process looks like:

  1. Credit check. Your credit score is an important factor that lenders consider when you apply for a new loan. Before you start the refinancing process, it’s a good idea to check your credit score and make sure it’s in good shape.
  2. Review current loan. Assess your current loan terms, including the interest rate, monthly payment, and remaining balance. Determine your financial goals for refinancing, such as obtaining a lower interest rate, reducing monthly payments, or accessing cash.
  3. Research lenders and loan options. Shop around for lenders and loans and compare rates and fees. Working with a mortgage broker can help you find the best deal, and your local bank or credit union can help out, too.
  4. Application and underwriting. Once you’ve chosen a lender, you’ll fill out an application and provide documentation like pay stubs, tax returns, and bank statements. The lender will review your application, assess your creditworthiness, and determine if you qualify for refinancing.
  5. Loan approval and closing. If your application is approved, you’ll receive a loan offer outlining the terms and conditions of the refinanced loan. You’ll sign the necessary documents, pay any closing costs or fees, and then the lender will use the proceeds of the new loan to pay off your old loan.

Here are the most common terms you’ll likely hear when you’re refinancing a loan:

Annual Percentage Rate (APR). APR is the amount of interest and fees you’ll pay to borrow money, stated as a yearly percentage. Learn more about APR.

Interest Rate. Interest rate refers to the annual cost of a loan. It is the fee you pay for borrowing money, expressed as a percentage of the loan amount. Learn about the difference between APR and interest rate.

Loan Term. The loan term is also sometimes called loan duration. This is the length of time you have to pay off your loan.

Monthly Payment. Your monthly payment is the amount you will pay on your loan each month. It includes principal, interest, and other fees that might apply.

Principal. Principal is the loan amount you’re borrowing minus any fees, penalties, interest, or other costs associated with your loan.

Total Cost. Total cost is the full loan amount—including principal and interest—that you’ll pay over the life of the loan.

Refinancing is the process of replacing an existing loan with a new loan that has different, more favorable terms. A refi can help you obtain better interest rates, reduce your monthly payments, change the length of your loan, or access cash.

Refinancing a loan means restructuring your existing loan. This could involve adjusting the interest rate, extending or shortening the loan term, or accessing equity.

A mortgage refinance specifically refers to replacing your current mortgage with a new one. By doing so, you might secure a lower interest rate, change the loan term, or tap into your home’s equity. Learn more about how to refinance a mortgage.

Yes, you can refinance an auto loan. Refinancing an auto loan involves taking out a new loan with better terms to replace your existing auto loan. This could result in lower interest rates, reduced monthly payments, or a shorter loan term.

Yes, you can refinance a personal loan. Refinancing a personal loan involves taking out a new loan to pay off your existing personal loan. This can help you secure a lower interest rate, reduce monthly payments, or consolidate debt.

Yes, you can refinance your student loans. Refinancing student loans involves obtaining a new loan to pay off one or more existing student loans. This can result in lower interest rates, simplified repayment terms, and potential savings over time.

Refinancing involves replacing your existing loan with a new one with more favorable terms. The process of refinancing will feel familiar, as it’s similar to the process you followed to obtain your original loan.

  1. Check your credit score
  2. Review your current loan
  3. Research lenders and loan options
  4. Application and underwriting
  5. Loan approval and closing

Refinancing a loan can be a great way to take control of your money and improve your financial well-being. When you refinance an existing loan, you can potentially:

  • Obtain a lower interest rate
  • Reduce your monthly payments
  • Pay off your loan sooner
  • Take out equity and pay off high-interest debt

Ultimately, the decision to refinance should align with your long-term financial goals and provide benefits in terms of cost savings, improved cash flow, or debt management.

Different goals call for different types of loans. When you’re looking for a car loan, we’ll find the right solution to meet your unique needs.

We don’t think anything should stand in the way of your dreams of ownership. If you’re ready to purchase a car, we’re ready to discover a way to make it possible.

Some lenders have rigid lending guidelines and qualifications that are tough to meet. If you’ve been told “no,” we can help you find the path to “yes.”

All loans subject to Marine’s approval process. Membership eligibility required. Federally insured by NCUA. Equal Housing Lender.