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Just checked with my lender (a credit union). Reducing the monthly payment via a substantial prepayment is not an option. I can reduce the number of years remaining but cannot reduce the monthly payment. Oh,'s just as I thought but I didn't realize that other lenders provided that option.

With some lenders, it's a matter of how you phrase your question. If you start with, "I'm thinking of paying my loan off," and then say, "but I really just want to lower my payment by paying it down by X, without the hassle of a refi," you put them on notice that they may lose your loan. Depending on the rate you're paying, they may take the bait. Since credit unions are member-owned, they are probably less likely to do this, but it's worth a try.

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