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Guild Mortgage Review – A Mortgage Lender Big on Customer Satisfaction


Guild Mortgage is one name you may have come across lately while searching for a mortgage.

They’re a rapidly growing independent mortgage banker with over 350 physical, retail branches nationwide.

Those branches are located in 49 states nationwide, with their employee headcount around 4,200 at last glance. New York seems to be the one state missing.

In years past, they beat out Rocket Mortgage (formerly Quicken Loans) for the number one spot in customer satisfaction for primary mortgage originations by J.D. Power, which was a very big deal given Quicken’s hold on the top spot.

Let’s learn more about this privately held company to determine if they might be a good choice for your home loan needs.

Guild Mortgage Got Started in San Diego in the 1960s

  • Founded in 1960, originally known as Guardian Mortgage
  • Initially offered FHA loans and financing for homes built by American Housing Guild
  • Now a top-30 mortgage lender nationwide focused on retail lending
  • Offers all types of home loans including mortgage refinances and renovation loans
  • A publicly traded company under the symbol NYSE: GHLD
  • Funded $15 billion in home loans during 2023
  • Licensed to do business in 49 states and the District of Columbia

Originally known as Guardian Mortgage, the company launched in 1960 in San Diego, California, founded by Martin Gleich.

In the beginning, they offered FHA loans to first-time home buyers and home purchase loans to buyers of homes built by American Housing Guild.

Today, they are a top-10 mortgage lender by purchase loan volume that offers everything from conventional loan programs to USDA loans and jumbo loans, and everything in between.

They are also a correspondent mortgage lender with banking relationships in 47 states, and a major home loan servicer with a loan portfolio worth more than $85 billion.

In 2023, the non-bank mortgage lender originated $15 billion in loan volume, and now services more than 345,000 mortgage loans. That means they keep many of the loans they fund.

Guild Mortgage Quick Facts

  • Retail direct mortgage lender headquartered in San Diego, CA
  • Has 4,200+ employees and 350+ retail branches in 49 states and D.C.
  • Licensed to do business in all states except New York
  • Did a roughly 90/10 split of home purchase loans and mortgage refinances
  • Operates a correspondent banking division with credit unions and community banks in 43 states
  • Services more than 345,000 home loans throughout the nation

They’ve grown a staggering 27X from 2007, making them one of the fastest growing mortgage companies around.

This included acquiring smaller companies along the way, such as Cherry Creek Mortgage, Wisconsin-based Inlanta Mortgage, and Cornerstone Mortgage out of St. Louis, Missouri.

Guild is one of the top mortgage lenders in the Northwest, including Portland and Seattle.

They also have a growing presence in places like Austin, Texas, Columbia, South Carolina, and Reno and Las Vegas, Nevada.

In 2021, Guild Mortgage acquired Portland, Maine-based Residential Mortgage Services (RMS) to expand their footprint in the Northeast.

And in February 2024, Guild acquired Utah-based lender Academy Mortgage. This could eventually make them a top-20 lender overall.

Loan Types Available at Guild Mortgage

  • Conforming loans
  • Conventional loans
  • Jumbo loans
  • FHA loans
  • VA loans
  • USDA loans
  • Reverse mortgages
  • 1% down loans
  • Renovation loans
  • FHA Solar
  • Manufactured home loans (via Fannie Mae MH Advantage)
  • Doctor mortgages
  • Bridge loans
  • Buydowns

Guild Mortgage offers all types of home loans, including government and non-government mortgages, along with both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages.

You can get a purchase loan, or a refinance loan, including a rate and term refinance or cash out refinance, and also streamline refinances.

You can apply for a home loan online or visit a local branch, of which there are many (338 at last count).

In the fixed-rate loan department, you can get anything from a 10-year fixed mortgage to a 30-year fixed up to 97% LTV. And they also let you choose your own loan term if you’re looking to refinance without extending the term of your mortgage.

They also offer a 1% down mortgage via their 3-for-1 equity program whereby Guild provides a 2% grant.

When it comes to ARMs, you can choose between 3-, 5-, 7- and 10-year adjustable terms, up to 95% LTV.

If a conforming loan amount isn’t large enough to suit your needs, you can also get a jumbo loan from Guild, including a loan amount as high as $850,000 with just 5% down payment known as the Guild Mortgage Elite Jumbo Program.

They also offer the full spread of government loans, including FHA loans, USDA loans, and VA loans, the latter two of which offer no down payment mortgages.

And while many of these loan options allow for very low credit scores, Guild seems to require higher scores than most competitors.

For example, they want a minimum credit score of 600 for a VA loan, though they allow loan amounts as high as $1 million. Their minimum score for a USDA loan is 620.

What Else Do They Offer?

Guild Mortgage recently launched a loan program called “FHA Solar” that allows borrowers to finance their home and solar panels in one transaction.

Like normal FHA loans, the minimum down payment is 3.5%, which is based on the purchase price of the home before the panels are added to the total cost of the mortgage.

You can also get an FHA 203k renovation loan if you’re buying a fixer-upper.

If you’re looking to finance something other than a single-family home, it might be possible to get a mortgage on a non-warrantable condo, something not all lenders offer.

And if you’re a medical professional, their doctor mortgage program allows you to exclude student loan debt and get a mortgage with no money down.

Their most recent offering is a buydown loan that provides a lender-paid 1% interest rate reduction the first year, known as Payment Advantage.

Lastly, Guild offers the Unison HomeBuyer program, which allows home buyers to borrow a down payment in exchange for future home price appreciation. It is available for properties in Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington.

Guild 3-2-1 Home Program

  • They also offer a special for first-time home buyers known as the 3-2-1 Home program
  • It requires just a 3% down payment to purchase a home
  • And provides a $2,000 Home Depot gift card
  • Lastly it features a grant ranging from $1,000 to $2,500 to offset closing costs or increase down payment

Guild Mortgage recently launched its “3-2-1 Home Program” to help more first-time buyers get their hands on some house keys, even if the property needs a little bit of work.

It allows home buyers to bring in just three percent down payment (which can be funded with a gift) and only requires a minimum 620 credit score.

Additionally, eligible borrowers will receive a $2,000 gift card to The Home Depot and another $1,000 to $2,500 in grant money that can be applied toward closing costs.

The property has to be located within 100 percent of the area median income for the family size of the borrower, unless it’s in an underserved area.

Guild LockNow and Sell

Recently, Guild launched a program called “LockNow and Sell” that allows a home seller to lock in a rate sheet for 60 days on their property.

This allows a home buyer to secure a mortgage rate based on a specific day’s pricing, whether it’s a conventional loan, FHA, VA or USDA (not offered on jumbo loans),

If mortgage rates rise from that date, their buyer still gets pricing from the day the rate was locked in.

To do so, the seller must pay a non-refundable $1,500 upfront lock-in fee, while also committing to a 2% seller credit based on the list price.

This 2% credit is then used to fund a permanent buydown for the home buyer to facilitate the sale of the property.

The home buyer must agree to use Guild Mortgage, and their interest rate will still be determined based on their individual loan characteristics, such as down payment, LTV, credit score, etc.

The aim is to make the property more affordable in a rising mortgage rate environment, and avoid any surprises.

But if rates do fall, the home buyer can still utilize a float-down option to take advantage of any improvement.

Guild Mortgage CashPass

The lender recently launched “CashPass,” which is their take on the quasi-all-cash offers many mortgage companies have rolled out in recent years.

The way it works is fairly straightforward. When obtaining your mortgage pre-approval, Guild goes a step further by providing a fully underwritten credit approval and a so-called “CashPass Certificate.”

This allows you to shop for a home and then make an offer with no appraisal or financing contingencies.

Guild will then work to close your loan with a traditional home loan before the close of escrow.

If financing isn’t in place by the escrow closing date, Guild or one of its affiliates will guarantee to pay cash for the property and provide permanent financing thereafter.

Simply put, CashPass enables home buyers to compete against other all-cash bidders and/or multiple offer situations.

CashPass is available on primary residences, second homes, and investment properties.

A minimum credit score of 680 is required and it must be a conventional loan.

It’s currently available in the states of AZ, CA, CO, MA MO, NV, OR, PA, SC, TX, and WA.

There is a $1,350 participation fee, which is not charged in the state of Washington.

It can also be combined with Guild’s proprietary bridge loan offering so you can buy before you sell.

Guild Mortgage Rates

  • Guild mortgage rates aren’t publicized online
  • Unlike some of the other major banks out there that do openly share them
  • Hard to know if they’re good, bad, or average without getting a quote and comparing it to other lenders
  • Also be sure to pay attention to any lender fees charged to determine APR

In terms of mortgage rates, it’s hard to say what their current rates are because they don’t advertise them on their website, nor do they have a ratesheet available to the public.

This counters other major lenders like Wells Fargo and Chase, which both advertise their daily mortgage rates on their respective websites.

Of course, advertised mortgage rates make a lot of assumptions, and aren’t necessarily the rates you’d receive anyway. To that end, it might not matter.

My guess is they’re probably on par with or close to what other major home loan lenders offer, though I can’t be sure without seeing them.

As always, take the time to shop around with other lenders to see how they match up. And factor in the closing costs as well when you do.

Mortgage rates aren’t everything (customer service and the ability to close loans also matter a great deal), but they’re certainly very important.

Guild Mortgage eClose Option

The lender recently launched a so-called “eClose option” that allows customers to electronically sign most of their loan documents and substantially reduce the typical paperwork burden seen at loan signing.

Aside from saving more than 250 trees per year, the eClose option comes with enhanced security protections to ensure only those who are authenticated have access to the documents.

The eClose process, which is powered by DocuSign, seems to be a hybrid of sorts with not all documents available for e-signing. Some will still require an ink signature at closing, at least for now.

However, another perk is that loan documents can be viewed as soon as they are released by Guild, meaning customers can review them at any time they desire to avoid feeling rushed at the closing table.

This means they can go into the closing appointment feeling confident and also reduce the time spent there to just minutes instead of potentially hours.

Guild Mortgage Reviews

Guild Mortgage has a 4.96-star rating out of 5 on Zillow based on roughly 7,300 customer reviews.

That near-perfection aside, many past customers indicated that the interest rate they received was lower than expected.

When searching the reviews on Zillow, you can see who the customer worked with, then click that loan officer’s name to see all their personal reviews.

Handy if you’re trying to determine who you want to work with at Guild Mortgage.

On Google, they have a perfect 5-star rating from nearly 2,000 customer reviews, which is pretty impressive given the volume.

Guild Mortgage currently has an A+ BBB rating and has been an accredited business since 2016. Their BBB customer reviews aren’t great, but they often aren’t for any company.

As noted, they also frequently top the J.D. Power mortgage originator rankings, so you should be good in terms of customer service.

Why Choose Guild Mortgage?

  • The number one reason seems to be customer satisfaction
  • They recently topped Quicken in the J.D. Power rankings
  • Guild also offers lots of different home loan options to choose from
  • And their loan officers may be better educated than the competition thanks to GuildU
  • Also boast an A+ BBB rating and is an accredited business
  • Can get started online via a digital mortgage application in minutes

There are lots of options when it comes to obtaining a mortgage. So why choose Guild Mortgage?

Well, as noted, they’ve got a variety of home loan programs available, including some unique offerings, so they’ve probably got you covered in most situations.

This is especially true if you have little or nothing in the way of a down payment, though they may require higher credit scores than other lenders.

They are also one of the top rated mortgage companies in terms of customer satisfaction, topping Quicken Loans in the 2021 rankings from J.D. Power.

The company also scored well in 2022. But dropped off a bit in 2023. However, they remain a top ranked loan servicer.

That doesn’t guarantee a good loan experience, but it means something compared to other large lenders that rank below them.

Part of that might have to do with their GuildU corporate university that educates its loan officers in an effort to make them more knowledgeable than the competition.

But loan officer quality can vary within a single company, especially a large one with thousands of employees.

Guild Mortgage also has a helpful website, complete with tips and a variety of mortgage calculators to help guide your decisions.

All in all, they’re certainly worth including in your home loan search seeing how popular and large they’re becoming. My guess is they’ll be a household name in the near future.

Lastly, because Guild Mortgage is a major home loan servicer, they may not sell off your loan to another company, which can be nice to avoid any confusion in making future monthly payments.

(photo: Sean O’Neill)

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