Alliant is a nonprofit credit union located in Chicago, Illinois. It was founded way back in 1935 and is currently one of the largest credit unions in the United States, with a turnover that would make your eyes water.
They offer a variety of services aimed solely at their members, including banking, loans, and loan consolidation. They are known for providing some of the best customer service in the industry, as is to be expected from a major credit union, and they provide customers with a number of ways that they can get in touch.
Alliant also offer some of the lowest rates in the credit sector, with interests rates that are determined by a loan amount, as well as factors like a person's credit score, and loan repayment history. To qualify, customers (or the cosigner acting on their behalf) must have an annual income of at least $40,000, which is the only downside. But as we shall discover in this review of Alliant Credit Union, there are plenty of positives to offset that negative.
About Alliant Credit Union
If you focus purely on assets, Alliant is the fifth largest credit union in the United States, with assets to the value of more than $8 billion. They serve over a quarter of a million customers and generate hundreds of millions of dollars every single year.
- Address: 11545 W Touhy Ave, Chicago, IL 60666-5000
- Web Address: http://www.alliantcreditunion.org/
- Date of Founding: 9/30/1935
- Contact Number: (773) 462-2000
- BBB Accredited? Yes, since 2004.
Alliant provide loans, consolidation loans, student loans, and other banking services. They offer competitive rates across the board, but they also have strict eligibility requirements and these can rule a lot of potential customers out. We discuss this in more detail during our review of the Alliant credit union below.
For such a big company that turns over so much money, it's a surprise to learn that Alliant hire fewer than 350 employees. However, they have many highly specialized members of staff working hard for their members and we have heard nothing but good things about the working environment that they foster.
There have been a few complaints, but nothing more than we would expect and on the whole it seems like Alliant is a very good place to work for anyone looking to get involved with the financial sector.
As a credit union that works for the good of its members, you might expect there to be nothing but good reviews for Alliant, but this is not the case. In fact, their BBB profile has nothing but bad reviews and it is a similar story on user review aggregate websites.
There are complaints about programs not working, customer support not being as helpful as they could be, and rates not being as low as they should be. This is all fair and well, but we feel that the biggest issue with Alliant is one that stops people from becoming members in the first place, as opposed to one that frustrates customers when they do become members.
To see what this issue is, take a look at our Alliant review below.
Alliant Credit Union Review
Now that we have seen what others have to say about Alliant, it is time for our own Alliant review. If it turns out that this isn't the service for you and you still need help with student loans, checkout our honest review of WSFS, as well as our detailed analysis of Wells Fargo.
Excellent Customer Service
Alliant is basically a small bank, which means they are able to provide excellent customer service, answering any questions that a customer may have and dealing with them in a way that feels very personable. Alliant customer service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so whenever you have an issue they are on hand to help.
You can find their contact details in the “About Alliant” section above. There are also more phone numbers and contact addresses on their website.
Alliant Services the Entire United States
Alliant offers student loan services to students in all 50 states. This makes them unique when you consider that many of the providers we have reviewed focus on just a handful of states, including those that seem relatively large and widespread.
Alliant are selective in regards to what schools they provide their services to, but the fact that they cover the whole of the US ensures they are more accessible than other providers.
Big Savings to be Made
Alliant has earned a reputation for saving their customers substantial amounts of money. They claim to be able to save customers an average of $10,000, and we have heard from previous customers who have claimed much bigger savings. This plays a huge role in every customer's decision, which is why Alliant are at the top of the pile for many.
No Upfront Fee
Alliant Credit Union does not charge prepayment or application fees, but we were unable to verify whether they charged origination fees or not. This is another factor that sets them apart from others in this industry, and another factor that means they are deserving of praise.
Difficult to Qualify
Alliant has some of the strictest eligibility requirements in the industry, which puts a major dampener on everything and negates many of their good points in the eyes of most customers. The restrictions on Alliant are as follows:
- Minimum Annual Income: The borrower or the cosigner must earn a minimum annual income of $40,000. This is greater than the industry average, but it's also greater than the average personal income in the United States. The household income is an average of around $52,000, but the average American earns less than $33,000, and students will struggle to make anywhere near that amount. This essentially renders Alliant's services useless for a significant percentage of the US population.
- Must be a Member: To qualify for loans and refinancing services for student loans, prospective borrowers must be members of the Alliant Credit Union. This is, of course, true of all credit unions. Their goal is to use their profits to benefit their members, and you need to be a member if you want to take advantage of that. But this is still not ideal for potential customers as it adds extra steps to the whole process.
Fees for Protection
While many other companies in the student loan refinancing industry provide disability, death, and unemployment protection at no extra cost, Alliant Credit Union charges a fee for those interested in purchasing this additional, protective service. It's not a large cost, but it's an additional fee nonetheless.
Lack of Transparency
Alliant Credit Union doesn't have the most intuitive website, and it's seriously lacking in information.
Their website provides no information on variable and fixed rate interest loans, and it does not have any in-depth information regarding loan terms either. And even though they list the lowest rate currently available, there is no information as to whether the rate is fixed or variable. Additionally, their website does not clearly list information on pricing, and their FAQ page seems to be growing at a snail's pace. For such a major company making so much money and serving so many people, you think they would have put some money aside to pay a content writer and serve their members that way.
Lack of Information on Discounts
There is no information on the Alliant website regarding how prospective customers can get discounts on student loan interest rates. For example, most other companies provide a discount for signing up for automated payments.
It's small, at an average of just 0.25%, but it's a welcome discount nonetheless. Maybe there is something like this on Alliant maybe not, but if they don't advertise it then we can't know.
The Bottom Line
There is a lot to love about Alliant’s student loan refinancing program and about the company in general. They have 24/7 support, low interest rates, and a personalized feel that you will not find elsewhere in the industry. It is also available in all 50 states, which is something we don't fid ourselves saying too often.
However, there are some red flags and these reduce our score for Alliant significantly. They have strict eligibility requirements, a website lacking in information, and no rewards programs for members to get lower interest rates.
Although they have some great benefits, we believe that borrowers can do better than Alliant. We suggest looking elsewhere for student loan refinancing services.