Okay, so I know everyone here is rational and if we are applying for loans, we will likely go with the lender that offers the best rate, but I thought I'd add my two sense here about a rather unpleasant experience I've had with CitiBank.
After weeks of researching, I came down to Total Higher Education and CitiAssist for private loans. Two perks about CitiAssist not found in THE are longer payment period (20 vs. 15) and option to consolidate
I don't know if by some freakish coincidence I keep getting the same representative, but I've found the Citi Reps to be some of the most rude customer service people I have ever dealt with.
Yesterday, I called to ask about loan consolidation- I asked if I were to apply for consolidation now, what would be entailed, what factors would be considered and what would be the range of interest rates that are generally settled upon.(speaking in present terms since these reps are super anal about quoting anything in the future)
First of all, the woman kept cutting me off and acting like she had somewhere else to be, she pretended like my questions were so above her. She said she couldn't give any information about consolidation, she couldn't give me a present range, and that the factors change every year so she couldn't tell me anything specific. By the end of the conversation I was so frustrated that I just told her she was being unbelievably rude b/c this was the first time I was applying for loans, and the consolidation option was my deciding factor between the two lenders. She said that it was my opinion, and that she wasn't and when I said excuse me, she just said "have a good evening" and hung up the phone without even letting me speak.
This was an extreme case but I've noticed the general demeanor of a lot of the customer service reps at CitiBank are akin to this woman. The rep I spoke to a few weeks ago told me that consolidation was not even available yet when in fact, it became available last October.
The next rep I called was a little nicer and explained to me that I need to have at least 2 private loans outstanding above $7500 and within 2 years of graduating in order to be eligible for consolidation. Additionally, she said the range of consolidation rates are 9% to 13%.
Maybe I sound elitist, but I suppose if I were a customer service rep getting phone calls from people actually making something of their lives by trying to receive a better education while I chose to answer phones all day, I might be a little short fused too..but geez, seriously, I'm not even a customer yet, and they treat me like this?
I get better rates with THE as is and personally, if they treat prospective customers like this, I shudder to think how they treat the ones they already have.
Hope this helps someone and if my experiences are not the norm, then please do share.
I apologize for the vent...I was just so unnerved but figured you'd all understand