If you start shopping for a mortgage today, you will see some new names and faces from a decade ago. The mortgage industry has changed and there are a lot of choices out there. But which ones are good and not so good? Us News and World Report recently issued a report of some of the best mortgage lenders in the country, including their benefits and drawbacks. It is important to get an idea which companies are truly good because the ones that are marketed the most are not necessarily the best.
Bank of America
Bank of America currently is the second largest bank in the US and has been operating since 1904. Some of the best features of Bank of America’s mortgages is its Home Loan Navigator that offers a very easy way to apply online and submit your financial documents digitally. The Navigator will give you the status of your mortgage application and whether you need more documents.
Bank of America also offers up to a $600 discount off your origination fees for existing clients in the Preferred Rewards program. A home buyer can qualify for the preferred rewards program with an account balance average of at least $20,000 in a Bank of America account.
On the downside, Bank of America has a limited selection of mortgage loan terms. It does offer 15, 20 and 30-year loans, but does not offer USDA loans.
Citigroup is the #4 largest bank in the US. It does its home loans through the CitiMortgage division, and that has been operating since 2000. Its best feature is if you want to make a down payment less than 20% for your home loan, you usually need mortgage insurance. But the Citibank HomeRun program lets you buy a home with a 3% down payment without mortgage insurance. Citibank also offers a .25% discount on your mortgage origination fee for Citibank customers.
On the downside, you cannot complete your loan application online with Citibank. You must work with a loan officer in person or by phone to finalize the application. It has fixed rate mortgages, ARMs with four options, does FHA and VA loans but not USDA loans.
PNC is the #8 largest bank in the US. It has retail loan offices in 15 states and the District of Columbia. It has several mortgage products including jumbo loans. It offers jumbo loan options up to $5 million, and it offers fixed and adjustable rate jumbo loans with terms from 10 to 30 years. It is possible to get a jumbo loan in some cases with only a 10% down payment.
On the downside, you cannot do your entire mortgage application online. But if you want a jumbo loan with a low-down payment PNC is probably your best bet.
This is the largest online mortgage lender in the United States. It also was the #3 largest mortgage lender in 2016 by volume. It is known for fast processing of applications online. Its best feature is its 5-star rating with JD Power, which is the highest possible rating for customer service satisfaction. The company processes mortgage applications online quickly and easily with its user-friendly system that verifies your financial and personal information quickly.
On the downside, Quicken does not have a brick and mortar business where you can meet with a loan officer. You must apply on the online system. Loans can be customized in length from eight to 30 years.
For FHA financing, Wells Fargo is known as one of the best choices. It operates more than 6000 bank branches in all 50 states. The best feature is it offers many types of mortgages for different credit profiles, including FHA. Wells Fargo loan officers are accustomed working with FHA and know how to get such loans approved quickly. Conventional loans are available with as low as a 3% down payment.
On the downside, there is no online application process. You must apply in person or by phone.
For adjustable rate mortgages, which are coming back as mortgage rates rise in 2018, TD Bank is a good choice. TD Bank offers the biggest variety of adjustable rate mortgages out of all lenders on this list. It has seven different ARM loans.
TD Bank mortgages are a good choice for people who want a flexible ARM with many options. It also is a good choice for buyers on the east coast and who want to apply in person or on the phone. TD Bank only offers loans on the east coast at this time.