The National Institutes of Health Federal Credit Union (NIHFCU) was founded on January 11, 1940 by nine federal employees with only $75 in pooled funds. The founders had a vision of a more economical bank alternative that could better meet the financial needs of their family and friends. Today, NIHFCU is the largest credit union to serve the biomedical industry. The not-for-profit credit union has over 40,000 members and claims to offer lower and more affordable interest rates than traditional banks.

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The Good

  • Education loan refinancing
  • Well-established
  • Flexible terms
  • No prepayment fees
  • Education loan check-up

Education Loan Refinancing

NIHFCU's education loan refinancing program aims to help college students and their families manage secondary education expenses. The education loan refinancing program is mostly geared toward medical and healthcare professionals. Borrowers can combine multiple student loans into one convenient loan. NIHFCU claims that its program is a great way for customers to pay off loans faster and take advantage of lower monthly payments. Customers can choose between variable and fixed interest rates. They may also add on life and disability protection if they would like.


NIHFCU has been in the industry since 1940. The company is experienced and well-known, especially in Maryland.

No Prepayment Fees

NIHFCU states that it does not charge any prepayment fees. However, it is unclear if the company charges application, late, annual, or origination fees.

Education Loan Check-Up

Borrowers can request a free and noncommittal education loan check-up. To make this request, a borrower must simply complete an online form. From there, an NIHFCU representative will review the borrower's education loans and determine whether or not they can lower their payments or pay at a faster rate.

The Bad

  • Lack of social media presences
  • No rate information
  • No fee information
  • No cosigner information
  • Must be a credit union member

Lack Of Social Media Presence

Even though the company is well-known, NIHFCU is not especially active on social media. The company's LinkedIn page is not updated regularly, and its Facebook page has little customer interaction. NIHFCU's website does not provide clear links to its social media profiles.

No Rate Information

The company does not disclose any specific rate information. There are no rate ranges, numbers or percentages listed on NIHFCU's website. Top companies in the industry almost always provide average high and low variable and fixed interest rates.

No Fee Information

Even though NIHFCU does not charge prepayment fees, the company may charge application, late, annual, or origination fees.

Must Be A Credit Union Member

To be eligible for the education loan refinancing program, one must be a NIHFCU member. Eligibility requirements are as follows:

  • A healthcare or biomedical industry employee, independent contractor, or self-employed person
  • Must work in MD, DC, NC, VA or WV
  • A medical doctors or specialist, dentist, nurse, licensed therapist, pharmacist, medical researcher or other healthcare professional
  • A credentialed NIHFCU contractor who works in biomedical research/services
  • NIH or NIHFCU employee
  • Full-time retired from one of the positions listed above
  • A family member of an NIHFCU member

The Bottom Line

The National Institutes of Health Federal Credit Union is a well-known company that serves healthcare and medical professionals. Its education loan refinancing program does not include any prepayment fees. Borrowers choose between variable and fixed interest rates and have the option to add life or disability protection to their plan. However, NIHFCU's website is not as transparent as it could be and leaves out a lot of key information, including rate percentages and cosigner information. Additionally, the company's education loan refinancing program is only available to NIHFCU members.

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Heather Nguyen

November 15th, 2016 Germantown, MD

Nih fcu did not disclose the demand loan information upfront to borrower. They lured borrower into their scam with their appealing rate. They took borrower money to do appraisal and other services. They refused to provide borrower a copy of the appraisal. They claim appraisal is their property with borrower's expense. Be extremely careful when doing business with nih fcu. They are dishonest, deceiful and untrustworthy. Relay this review to anyone that you know, so you don't lose money to untrustful lender like nih fcu.

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