One of the largest nonbank mortgage lenders in the country is loanDepot, typically landing on the top-10 list overall year after year.
In fact, they’ve even cracked the top five in some years as well, so they’re certainly a big time player in the mortgage world.
At one time, they were even the subject of speculation that they’d be acquired by mega retailer Amazon in its effort to enter the mortgage business.
And in early 2021, they became the Official Mortgage Provider of Major League Baseball (MLB). So expect to see their name and brand around a lot more this year.
Let’s get some history on loanDepot and determine if they’re a good fit for your home loan needs.
Table of Contents
– loanDepot Fast Facts
– How to Apply at loanDepot
– mello smartloan technology
– What Loan Types Do They Offer?
– loanDepot Lifetime Guarantee
– loanDepot Mortgage Rates
– loanDepot Reviews
– loanDepot Pros and Cons
– loanDepot vs. Rocket Mortgage
loanDepot Launched in 2010
- Direct mortgage lender that offers home purchase and refinance loans
- Founded in 2010, headquartered in Foothill Ranch, CA
- Offers industry’s first end-to-end digital mortgage
- Ranked 2nd largest nonbank lender and a top-10 retail mortgage lender
- Also the 8th largest VA lender in the country
- Over 200 retail branches nationwide and growing
- Went public in early 2021 under ticker symbol NYSE:LDI
Despite being a very young company, Foothill Ranch, CA-based direct lender loanDepot has funded more than $300 billion in consumer loans since 2010.
In 2021 alone they funded over $137 billion in home loans, which speaks to their massive growth.
They are led by industry veteran Anthony Hsieh, their CEO and chairman who previously worked at LoansDirect.com, E*TRADE Mortgage, and LendingTree.
The company refers to themselves as the nation’s fifth largest retail mortgage originator, and second largest nonbank consumer lender in the country (Quicken Loans is first).
They employ some 6,400 team members, including 2,000+ licensed loan officers, across 200+ branch locations nationwide.
In 2015, loanDepot began offering personal loans as well, which do not rely on collateral such as real estate.
In recent years, they’ve also launched several joint ventures with home builders and real estate brokerages to expand their purchase loan business.
Their latest is LGI Mortgage Solutions, a partnership with LGI Homes, Inc. that will serve customers in Arizona, Colorado, and Florida.
A prior one is named Farm Bureau Mortgage, a JV with Farm Bureau Bank that will serve homeowners in America’s Heartland.
They also recently launched Henlopen Mortgage, a partnership with Schell Brothers, a premier home builder.
Previously, they created BRP Home Mortgage, a collaboration between loanDepot and Brookfield Residential Properties Inc.
In November 2020, they announced plans to go public after lots of speculation, and in early 2021 were trading under the NYSE ticker symbol LDI.
At last glance, the mortgage lender had a valuation of about $2 billion.
loanDepot Powers MTH Mortgage for Meritage Homes
If you’re a Meritage Homes customer, you may have been referred to their affiliated lender “MTH Mortgage.”
This company is actually a joint venture backed by loanDepot, meaning they are the ones who provide the financing.
So if you apply for a home loan via MTH Mortgage, you’ll get access to all the same tools and loan programs offered by loanDepot.
And you’ll get the added bonus of working with loan officers that are attuned to the new home sales process employed by Meritage Homes.
Meritage Homes is a top-10 home builder in the United States based out of Scottsdale, Arizona.
They build new homes in the states of Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Utah.
Like other builder-affiliated lenders, they’re currently offering big mortgage rate buydowns to their home buyer customers.
How to Apply for a Mortgage at loanDepot
- You can apply online via a digital mortgage process from their website in minutes
- Those who prefer a face-to-face meeting can visit one of their many retail branches
- Or you can call them directly and deal with someone over the phone
- They also have a wholesale lending division that works with brokers
In terms of applying for a loan, you can visit one of their 150+ branches nationwide, or call a representative at a branch near you. Some folks may still prefer a face-to-face sit down.
Their website features a search by branch or by loan officer if you’re looking for some place or someone specific, similar to the process over at New American Funding.
You can also start the process online at their website by hitting the “apply now” button. It will ask you if you’re currently working with anybody at loanDepot to ensure you are connected to the right person.
They also have a major wholesale division available in 46 states and the District of Columbia, meaning it’s possible to get a mortgage from loanDepot via a mortgage broker as well.
loanDepot Is Big on Technology
- Company employs their proprietary mello smartloan technology
- Uses data verification to digitally connect income, employment, and asset information
- Fully digital experience from application through closing
- Can shave 17 days off loan process and get you to clear-to-close in 8 days
In early 2019, loanDepot released its mello smartloan technology, which it bills as “the smarter way to mortgage.”
Instead of having to gather lots of financial paperwork and upload it to the lender’s website, mello allows you to digitally connect income, employment, and asset information.
This makes it both fast and secure— and once connected, their proprietary loan engines will determine the best loan options available, similar to the tech over at Rocket Mortgage.
You can also lean on their “expert loan consultants” if you need assistance in making a choice.
While the digital mortgage and data verification isn’t entirely novel or unique to loanDepot, they say mello smartloan is the “first-of-its-kind end-to-end digital home loan.”
That’s because it’s a fully digital experience from application through closing, not just part of the way.
For example, it comes with mello smartdecision, which instantly determines if you can qualify for an appraisal waiver, just minutes after submitting your online application.
What Loan Types Does loanDepot Offer?
- Fixed-rate mortgages: 30-year, 20-year, 15-year, 10-year
- Adjustable-rate mortgages: 3/1, 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 ARMs
- Jumbo loans: Borrow up to $2 million
- Government loans: FHA and VA loans
- Home equity loans: up to 90% of home value
Like most large mortgage lenders, they offer home refinance loans, home purchase loans, and home equity loans.
Additionally, you can get a home equity loan or a renovation loan (FHA 203k loan).
And as noted, they also offer personal loans, which are funded by Cross River Bank, an FDIC-insured New Jersey commercial bank.
loanDepot Lifetime Guarantee
- Only pay lender fees the first time you get a mortgage with loanDepot
- They waive the fees when you refinance your original home loan
- And reimburse the home appraisal fee as well
- Must apply directly with loanDepot to qualify
If you get home loan financing from loanDepot once, you won’t have to pay lender fees if you use them again, for life.
With the loanDepot Lifetime Guarantee, they waive lender fees and reimburse your home appraisal fee when you refinance your existing loan with loanDepot in the future.
They say the average homeowner will refinance their mortgage every seven years, which they break down as four times over the span of a 30-year mortgage, and twice over a 15-year mortgage.
The guarantee doesn’t apply to loans obtained to purchase a new property, home equity loans, renovation loans, bond loan programs, down payment assistance programs, or personal loans.
Additionally, the guarantee only works if you submit your application directly to loanDepot (no wholesale or third-party applying such as through LendingTree).
loanDepot Mortgage Rates
Unfortunately, loanDepot does not openly advertise their mortgage rates like some other mortgage lenders.
This makes it very difficult to know where they stand price-wise relative to other mortgage companies.
Additionally, they don’t mention any of their lender fees on their website, further complicating the whole shopping around process.
However, mortgage rate quotes are available by phone or online if you fill out an application.
Once you get a quote, you may want to compare it to other mortgage companies. This may be the only way to comparison shop because their rates/fees aren’t openly advertised.
Be sure to consider other banks, nonbanks, credit unions, and independent mortgage brokers.
100% of Loan Servicing Is Now In-House
In late February 2023, loanDepot said it migrated 100% of the mortgage loans serviced by its third-party sub-servicer to its in-house platform.
The move move is part of loanDepot’s Vision 2025 strategy that aims to eliminate mortgage sub-servicing costs and reduce third-party vendor spending.
This allows the company to improve its brand affinity and tap into its existing client base more easily.
For example, they can market products and services (such as a refinance opportunity) to their existing customers more easily.
Perhaps more importantly, it gives them full control of the “entire customer journey” to ensure they can provide a consistent experience from start to finish and beyond.
On Zillow, the company has a very impressive 4.88-star rating out of 5 from more than 4,700 customer reviews, which says a lot about their consistency.
Many of the recent reviews indicated that the interest rate was lower than expected, a good sign if you’re looking for a low-cost mortgage.
Over at LendingTree, they have a slightly lower 4.3-star rating out of 5 from about 4,500 reviews, which while not as strong as the Zillow rating, is still considered great.
Additionally, the company is recommended by 86% of those who reviewed them on LendingTree.
loanDepot has a less impressive 3.6-star rating on Trustpilot from over 3,000 customer reviews, some of which you want to read to get a better idea about customer service.
loanDepot Pros and Cons
- Tons of digital technology to make loan closings fast
- Waives lender fees on subsequent refinance transactions
- Has retail branches if you prefer to meet in person
- Licensed in all 50 states and DC
- ‘A+’ rating with the Better Business Bureau
- Mostly positive customer reviews
The Potential Bad
- Don’t let you view mortgage rates without calling them or filling out a form
- Don’t offer USDA loans
- Doesn’t publish lender fees (unclear if high or low)
- High closing costs seem to be a common complaint among reviews
loanDepot vs. Rocket Mortgage
|Loan types offered||Conventional, FHA, VA, jumbo||Conventional, FHA, VA, jumbo|
|Minimum FICO score||580||580|
|Will service your loan?||Yes||Yes|
|Licensed to do business in…||All 50 states and D.C.||All 50 states and D.C.|
|Zillow rating||4.88/5 from 4,700 reviews||4.48/5 from 7900 reviews|
loanDepot ranks #7th nationally in terms of overall home loan volume, while Rocket Mortgage is #1 in the country.
Last year, loanDepot funded just over $100 billion and Rocket originated a whopping $314 billion.
So while both are very large mortgage companies, Rocket does about triple the business.
However, loanDepot CEO Anthony Hsieh is intent on catching up and taking the top spot eventually.
One distinction between the two is that loanDepot has 200 branch locations, while Rocket simply operates a massive mortgage call center.
This means you can apply in-person with loanDepot, but not with Rocket.
Other than that, they both offer the latest digital mortgage technology, and the same loan programs.
But loanDepot offers a Lifetime Guarantee in which you won’t pay lender fees again if you refinance with them in the future. Rocket doesn’t have a loyalty program.
Lastly, both are accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and have A+ ratings. loanDepot edges Rocket with a higher Zillow rating though.
(photo: Brad Montgomery)