If you’ve driven the 405 freeway lately, you may have seen a billboard from “ChangeFi,” a bank that’s looking to eliminate social and racial inequity in banking/lending.
That means growing Black and Latino homeownership, while serving underbanked businesses and individuals.
In the process, they hope to empower all Americans to pursue their dreams by working to close the wealth gap.
Aside from operating as a bank, ChangeFi is big on home loans, offering a ton of products via their “Change Home Mortgage” brand.
Let’s discover more about them to see if they might have a solution others don’t.
Change Home Mortgage Fast Facts
- A Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)
- Offers banking, small business loans, and home loans
- Specializes in lending for non-traditional borrowers (gig workers, immigrants, etc.)
- Founded in 1994 (rebranded in 2021), headquartered in Irvine, CA
- Licensed in 27 states and the District of Columbia
- Originated more than $7 billion home loans last year
- Also operate a wholesale lending division called Change Wholesale
As noted, ChangeFi operates a residential home lending division known as Change Home Mortgage.
They were formerly known as “Commerce Home Mortgage,” and also do business under the name “Change Home Loans.”
The company offers both home purchase financing and refinance loans, with a large variety of loan programs available.
They’re unique because they operate as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), which allows them to offer mortgages to non-traditional borrowers.
Simply put, they enjoy certain regulatory exemptions related to Regulation Z and risk retention.
For example, they can approve those who operate all-cash businesses, who own cryptocurrencies, who invest in gold, immigrants, foreign nationals, freelancers, self-employed borrowers, and so on.
At the same time, they’re happy to serve traditional borrowers too, including W-2 employees and those able to document their income with tax returns.
At the moment, they are licensed to do business in the following states: AZ, CA, CO, DC, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, KS, KY, LA, MD, MI, MN, MS, MT, NE, NM, NV, OH, OR, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, and WA.
Change Home Mortgage appear to be most active in their home state of California, where roughly 75% of loan volume came from.
If you’re a mortgage broker, the company operates a wholesale lending unit called Change Wholesale.
How to Apply with Change Home Mortgage
- First get in touch with a loan advisor by phone or in-person to discuss pricing/eligibility
- If you like what you hear they’ll send you a link to the formal loan application
- Their digital mortgage app is powered by fintech company Blend
- Allows you to complete many tasks electronically and check loan status 24/7
One advantage of working with Change Home Mortgage is their many branch locations.
Because they operate like a brick-and-mortar bank, you have the option of visiting an advisor in person.
Or you can simply visit their website, click on the “Find an Advisor” tab, and then locate someone nearby to get in touch with by phone or email.
Either way, you’ll want to first get acquainted with a loan advisor to discuss loan programs, pricing, and so on.
If you’re happy with what you hear, they’ll provide a link to formally apply for a mortgage. There’s also a link to apply on each loan officer’s webpage online.
Their digital mortgage application is powered by Blend, a leading fintech in the mortgage space.
It allows you to complete most loan tasks paperlessly from any device quickly and conveniently.
Once you apply, you’ll also be able to sign in via the same website to check loan status, upload any necessary documents, or to get in touch with your lending team.
All in all, Change Home Mortgage makes it easy to apply and manage your loan, and gives you options if you prefer in-person consultation.
Loan Programs Offered by Change Home Mortgage
- Home purchase loans
- Home renovation loans
- Refinance loans
- Conventional loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
- FHA/VA/USDA loans
- Jumbo loans
- Reverse mortgages
- Alt-doc loan programs
- Investor loan programs
- Programs for gig workers, freelancers, immigrants, and foreign nationals
- Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate programs available
One area where Change Home Mortgage really excels is loan choice. They offer a ton of loan programs, including home purchase loans, renovation loans, and mortgage refinances.
You can get traditional stuff like a conforming loan backed by Fannie/Freddie, a jumbo loan, a government-backed mortgage including FHA/VA/USDA loans, and even a reverse mortgage.
They offer both Fannie Mae HomeReady and Freddie Mac Home Possible for those looking to put just 3% down on a home purchase, along with HomeStyle Renovation and FHA 203k for those buying a fixer-upper.
Additionally, they offer a suite of loan programs for non-traditional borrowers, such as gig workers, freelancers, real estate investors, immigrants, foreign nationals, and more.
Their so-called “Community Mortgage” might be helpful if your income fluctuates or you’re unable to provide a full two years of tax returns.
They also have an Alt-Doc program that allows for asset depletion and bank statements to qualify.
And their Prime Plus program could be a solution for those who fall just outside conventional financing guidelines.
Lastly, they’ve got an Investor program for real estate investors who want to use their property’s rental income cash flow to qualify.
You can get a fixed-rate mortgage like a 30-year or 15-year, or an adjustable-rate mortgage, such as a 5/1 or 7/1 ARM.
Change Home Mortgage Rates
One slight negative to Change Home Mortgage is their lack of pricing information. I couldn’t find anything pertaining to mortgage rates on their website.
No sample rates or daily rate table, and nothing about lender fees either. As such, you’ll need to gather this information from a loan advisor before you apply.
Yes, get pricing first before you decide to work with a certain lender. While they may offer loan programs the other guys don’t, still take the time to shop around and negotiate.
There might be another lender out there with liberal underwriting and better rates.
Change Home Mortgage Reviews
At the moment, there aren’t many reviews because they are a new brand. I couldn’t find much of anything online.
However, once you speak to a loan advisor, you might be able to google that individual and find personal reviews.
Often times, seasoned loan officers have their own reviews online, which may come from companies they used to work for in the past.
This can give you a little something to go on if you’re unsure of their history. You might also be able to find reviews for their old brand Commerce Home Mortgage.
As time goes on, we’ll be able to gather more data to see determine how they’re performing as a company.
To sum things up, Change Home Mortgage might be a good pick if you’ve got a unique loan scenario.
We’re talking self-employed borrowers with uneven income, those with blemished credit history, or perhaps an immigrant or foreign national.
Their large selection of proprietary loan programs is what truly sets them apart. The only questions are service and pricing, which we don’t know a lot about.
Change Home Mortgage Pros and Cons
- Can apply online or in person via their physical branch network
- Offer a digital mortgage application powered by fintech Blend
- Most tasks can be completed electronically from any device
- Tons of loan programs to choose from including reverse mortgages
- Operate as a CDFI which allows more flexible underwriting
- May be able to approve you for a mortgage if others couldn’t
- Goal is to level the playing field for Black, Latino, and underserved communities
- Not licensed to do business in all states
- No mention of mortgage rates or lender fees
- Limited customer reviews because they are a new brand
- May transfer your mortgage to a third-party loan servicer after closing
(photo: Conal Gallagher)