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CIT Bank Mortgage Review: Good Rates, But Where’s the Tech?

CIT Group

CIT, which stands for “Commercial Investment Trust,” is probably best known for NOT being Citibank.

Yes, you heard right; while the names look very similar, they are two entirely different companies despite operating in the same business sector.

That confusion aside, CIT’s main subsidiary CIT Bank is a nationally licensed mortgage lender.

If you’re shopping for a home loan, they might be an option to consider, so let’s discover more about the company.

CIT Bank History

  • Parent company CIT founded in 1908 by Henry Ittleson
  • Originally offered financing/capital to other businesses including railcar leasing
  • Subsidiary CIT Bank launched in the year 2000
  • Offers checking accounts, saving accounts, mortgages, and more

While CIT is over a hundred years old, its consumer-facing subsidiary CIT Bank is just over 20 years old.

In 2000, CIT Bank was launched in Salt Lake City, Utah to offer retail banking services to the general public.

The company eventually got into the origination of student loans and mortgages before exiting both businesses in 2008 as the Great Recession materialized.

To save themselves, they converted into a bank holding company later that year, while also relying on funds from the Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP).

In late 2011, they launched an online bank offering things like certificates of deposit (CDs), savings accounts, and IRAs.

And in 2015, acquired OneWest Bank (formally IndyMac), along with its network of 70 retail branches throughout Southern California.

Their corporate headquarters is now located in Pasadena, California.

What Types of Mortgages Does CIT Bank Offer?

  • Purchase, rate and term, and cash out refis
  • Conforming, jumbo, and FHA loans
  • Fixed-rate mortgages and ARMs
  • Interest-only options also available

Now let’s talk about the home loans, which are offered by the direct-to-consumer retail lender in all 50 states.

Like most lenders, they originate home purchase loans, along with mortgage refinances, including rate and term refis and cash out refis.

You can get a mortgage on a primary residence, vacation home, or investment property.

They offer conforming mortgages backed by Fannie Mae with low down payment options (just 3%), along with jumbo loans that exceed the conforming loan limit.

In terms of government mortgages, FHA home loans are available, but not VA loans or USDA loans. So they are a bit limited in that department.

However, you can get an interest-only loan from CIT Bank, including a 30-year fixed with IO option and several interest-only ARMs.

They also offer a CIT Bank portfolio program that doesn’t require private mortgage insurance on loan amounts as high as $2,000,000.

With regard to their fixed-rate mortgages, you can get a 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- or 30-year loan term.

For their adjustable-rate mortgages, they come in the common 5/1, 7/1, and 10/1 terms.

How to Apply for a Mortgage with CIT Bank or OneWest Bank

  • You have to either call or fill out a short form on their website
  • Then a mortgage lending specialist will contact you
  • The lack of an online application is a negative given the many digital lenders operating today
  • You may be able to apply on the CIT Bank website or the OneWest Bank website

When it comes to applying for a mortgage, CIT is a bit more old school than other lenders.

While you are able to set up a CIT bank account on their website, it appears you have to call them to get a mortgage.

Or perhaps visit a OneWest Bank branch if located in SoCal.

OneWest Bank May Operate CIT Bank’s Mortgage Division

It seems OneWest Bank basically runs the CIT Bank home loans unit, so you might be able to apply via the OneWest Bank website also.

However, their product availability and pricing may differ somewhat. For example, OneWest offers loan amounts up to $5 million, while the CIT Bank website says $2 million.

If you’re wondering who OneWest Bank is, know that they were created from the ashes of IndyMac, which had been a top-10 mortgage lender nationally before the mortgage crisis took place.

So there’s clearly a strong mortgage pedigree here, especially since IndyMac was originally spun off from Countrywide Financial, once the nation’s largest mortgage lender.

Still, you’re only able to fill out a short form with your name, contact info, and loan amount, at which time a mortgage lending specialist (loan officer) will get back to you.

It’s unclear what their mortgage loan process is like (e.g. does it use digital verification of income/assets like Better or Rocket Mortgage?), but it’s certainly possible.

In any case, the process seems to be hands-on with that individual, who will guide you from start to finish.

CIT Bank Mortgage Rates

While you won’t find mortgage rates posted on the CIT Bank website, they do appear on the OneWest Bank website.

Assuming the pair offer similar or perhaps even the same exact rates, we can get an idea of how competitive they are.

OneWest Bank’s mortgage rates (including jumbos) appear pretty low relative to other lenders, and they openly disclose the amount of discount points necessary to obtain said rates.

The points required are minimal on their sample rates, which means the APRs are also similarly low, an important detail you should take note of when shopping your mortgage.

Their rate assumptions are also pretty reasonable, requiring a 740 FICO and LTV of 75% for their conforming fixed-rate mortgages.

In other words, you don’t necessarily need a perfect loan scenario to get the low rates advertised.

As always, shop around to ensure their interest rates meet or beat the competition.

CIT Bank/OneWest Bank Relationship Pricing

If you have a CIT Bank or OneWest Bank deposit account, or open one before doc drawing, you can snag a $525 cash back deposit.

It’s only available on new, first lien residential refinances or purchase loans funded by CIT Bank or OneWest Bank.

The funds will be deposited into your corresponding bank account within 45 days of loan closing.

Additionally, you can reduce your mortgage rate depending on how much you’ve got deposited in the bank.

They offer the following relationship discounts:

0.10% with 10% of the loan amount in new deposits
0.20% with 25% of the loan amount in new deposits

So you can shave either 10 or 20 basis points off your mortgage rate if you happen to have a large sum of money deposited in a CIT Bank or OneWest bank account.

Of course, their rate discounts may call for quite a bit of money, depending on how large your loan amount is.

For example, you’d need $30,000 in new deposits to lower your rate by 0.10% if the loan amount were $300,000.

And $75,000 in new deposits to lower it by .20%.

The good news is they offer some of the highest yields on savings accounts in the country, what they refer to as 19X the national average.

Pros and Cons of CIT Bank Home Loans

In terms of reviews, they have 4.5/5 stars on Zillow, which is focused solely on their home loans business.

Most the reviews tend to highlight their attractive mortgage rates, low closing costs, and quick turn times.

That being said, always be sure to compare their rates and fees to other lenders to ensure you get the best deal on your mortgage.

The negative reviews tend to be case-by-case involving borrowers who felt misinformed or left in the dark, a common issue in the mortgage industry.

Other CIT reviews you may come across are for the bank as a whole, not their home loan division.

Lastly, CIT Bank provides loan servicing to its customers via LoanCare, LLC. You can make payments, set up autopay, view/update escrow information, and see your loan amortization schedule.

The Good

  • Mortgage rates look to be competitive for both conforming and jumbo loan amounts
  • Offer $525 cash back if you have a bank account with CIT or OneWest Bank
  • Relationship pricing (lower mortgage rate) if you maintain deposits with either bank
  • Seem to have good reviews for their home loans business

The Possible Bad

  • No online home loan application
  • Do not offer USDA loans or VA loans
  • No home equity loans/lines
  • Unclear what lender fees are charged

(photo: Ernst Moeksis)

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