Recession USA 2020
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Nations Lending Review: A Human Home Loan?

While tech has taken center stage in the mortgage world, Nations Lending still strives to make home loans human.

That’s their motto, and it means looking beyond the numbers and at the individual themselves to determine their needs.

They believe the key to a successful mortgage starts with a good conversation, which should ultimately ensure you wind up with the right home loan.

So far, their approach seems to be paying off, with excellent customer reviews fueling a rapidly growing business.

Nations Lending is also pretty ambitious – their goal is to become a top-10 independent mortgage banker in the next five years. Let’s discover more about them.

Nations Lending Fast Facts

  • Retail direct-to-consumer mortgage lender founded in 2003
  • Offers home purchase loans and refinance loans
  • Headquartered in Independence, Ohio (suburb of Cleveland)
  • Employs more than 1,000 people, with 90+ branches across the United States
  • Licensed to do business in all 50 states and the District of Columbia
  • Funded more than $2 billion in home loans last year

Nations Lending is a retail direct-to-consumer mortgage lender that offers home purchase financing and refinance loans.

This means you can call them up on the phone or visit a branch to apply for a mortgage.

They were founded in 2003, but since that time have grown from a small local lender to a billion-dollar national originator with aspirations to become a household name.

The company mustered more than $2 billion in loan origination volume last year, with nearly $300 million coming from California and $160 million from their home state of Ohio.

Nations Lending is also quite active in the states of Colorado, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, and Texas.

But they’re licensed in all 50 states and D.C., so no matter where you live, you can work with Nations Lending.

In terms of what they specialize in, they did about 45% of volume in home purchase loans, with the remainder nearly evenly split between rate and term refinances and cash out refis.

So whether you’re a prospective home buyer or a seasoned homeowner, they may have a suitable product for you.

How to Apply for a Mortgage with Nations Lending

  • First select an office near you using the online branch directory on their website
  • Then browse local loan officers who work at that branch and select one you like
  • Next click on “Apply Now” and you’ll be directed to the digital mortgage application
  • The Blend-powered app allows you to eSign disclosures, link financial accounts, and get real-time updates

Nations Lending makes it easy to apply for a mortgage, and though they are concerned about you as a human (not just a number), you can accomplish most tasks sans assistance if you wish.

While they recommend that you call them first to have a conversation about your home loan needs, it’s entirely possible to forgo that step and get right into the application on your own.

They turned to fintech company Blend to power their digital mortgage experience, which lets you get started from any device, whether it’s your smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer.

You’re able to quickly link financial information by providing your bank account or payroll credentials to save time and improve accuracy, or simply scan and upload necessary documents.

Additionally, you can eSign most disclosures to speed through the more monotonous aspects of the process, and log into the borrower portal at any time to see real-time loan status.

At any point along the way, your lending team will be standing by to assist with anything you might need help with.

All in all, Nations Lending makes it easy to apply for a mortgage because they’re partnered with one of the biggest tech companies in the industry.

As noted, they’ve also got branches in many states nationwide, so if you prefer to do business in person, that may also be a possibility.

Loan Programs Available at Nations Lending

  • Home purchase loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term, cash out, and streamline
  • Home renovation loans: FHA 203k and Fannie Mae HomeStyle
  • Conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Government-backed home loans: FHA, USDA, VA
  • Manufactured home loans
  • Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options available

Nations Lending offers all the usual stuff you’d expect from a big mortgage lender, including home purchase loans, home renovation loans, and refinance loans.

They can help you whether you’re a first-time home buyer, or a long-time owner looking for a cash out refinance.

You can get all types of different loans, including conventional home loans backed by Fannie/Freddie, FHA loans, VA loans, and USDA loans.

However, it’s unclear if they offer jumbo home loans, those which exceed the conforming loan limit.

But they do offer a variety of manufactured home loan options if you happen to own or are buying a manufactured home.

In terms of loan programs, you can get a fixed-rate mortgage such as a 30-year or 15-year fixed, or adjustable-rate mortgage, such as a 5/1 ARM or 7/1 ARM.

Nations Lending Mortgage Rates

For whatever reason, Nations Lending does not advertise their mortgage rates on their website or elsewhere as far as I know.

While not necessarily an indicator of whether their rates are low, high, or just plain average, you’ll need to get in touch with a loan officer to discuss pricing.

The one piece of good news is many of their reviews highlight their excellent interest rates, so that might give us a hint.

Still, take the time to discuss pricing with them and other lenders and/or mortgage brokers to ensure you get a good deal.

Also inquire about any lender fees they charge, such as an application fee, loan origination fee, and so on.

Once you know both their mortgage rate and fees, you can adequately compare their Loan Estimate to other lenders.

Nations Lending’s 5-Year Rate Lock Guarantee

Like some other mortgage lenders, Nations Lending offers a so-called “5-Year Rate Lock Guarantee” whereby they’ll refinance your loan sans lender fees and some third-party fees if rates drop within five years of your mortgage closing.

Specifically, if fixed mortgage rates fall at any point in the five years following your loan closing, you can refinance to that lower rate and pay no lender origination fees or appraisal fees.

This is similar to the deals offered by Lower Mortgage and Intelliloan.

Of course, you’ll still need to shop around with other lenders if and when you refinance since closing costs aren’t everything.

Nations Lending Reviews

On Zillow, the company has a solid 4.86-star rating out of 5 from more than 1,300 customer reviews. A lot of the recent reviews noted that the interest rate received was lower than expected.

Similarly, they have a 4.84-star rating on SocialSurvey from nearly 21,000 reviews, which is impressive for the sheer number of reviews received.

They’ve got an even better 4.9-star rating on LendingTree from close to 9,000 customer reviews, with a 98% recommend rate. And both interest rates and closing costs were rated as excellent.

It’s the same story with their Google reviews, which at last glance was a 4.9-star rating from 1,000+ reviews.

Lastly, they are a Better Business Bureau accredited company, and have been since 2017. They currently have an ‘A+’ rating.

In summary, Nations Lending seems to offer a good blend of technology and human touch, and is very well-liked by their customers.

Because they have physical branches and a tech-powered website, they could be a good fit for both home buyers and existing homeowners looking to refi.

Nations Lending Pros and Cons

The Good Stuff

  • They’ve got physical branches throughout the country
  • But you can also apply for a home loan online without speaking to anyone
  • Offer a digital mortgage application powered by Blend
  • Plenty of loan programs to choose from
  • Excellent customer reviews
  • A+ BBB rating, accredited company
  • Service 96% of the loans they originate

The Not-So-Great Stuff

  • Do not publicize mortgage rates
  • No breakdown of lender fees

(photo: Chris Cox)

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