PrimeLending Mortgage Review: Committed to Customer Satisfaction

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Today let’s talk about PrimeLending, a PlainsCapital Company, which is a top-10 mortgage lender that does business in all 50 states.

Perhaps their biggest claim to fame is their 96% customer satisfaction rating given to their fleet of 1,500 loan officers.

They certainly seem to pride themselves on making their customers happy, with the slogan “Home Loans Made Simple.”

They also have a mascot named “Mo,” short for momentum, that is a real live buffalo living near Ft. Worth, TX.

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In 2017, the direct lender originated more than $14.5 billion in home loans, making them a major player in the mortgage space.

Let’s learn more about who they, what types of loans they offer, and why you might use them on your next purchase or refinance transaction.

Who Is PrimeLending?

  • They are a PlainsCapital Company that has been around since 1986
  • And a wholly owned subsidiary of PlainsCapital Bank
  • That is also a wholly owned subsidiary of Hilltop Holdings Inc.
  • Which is publicly traded under the symbol (NYSE: HTH)

First a little bit about their history – PrimeLending started out back in 1986, which if you’re good at math, is just over 30 years. Back then, they had just 20 employees.

Today, they’ve got more than 3,000 employees throughout the nation. And since that time, they’ve apparently helped more than 500,000 Americans purchase a home, fix up a property, or refinance an existing mortgage.

They seem to excel in home purchase lending, as evidenced by the fact that they’ve been a top-10 purchase lender from 2012 to 2017, per data from Marketrac, a CoreLogic company.

They’re also ranked 6th for retail home loan volume by Scotsman Guide, and 11th in volume overall. It’s unclear if that’s overall or a specific category of lender.

If you’re curious who owns them, they’re a PlainsCapital Company that is also a wholly owned subsidiary of PlainsCapital Bank, which is owned by Hilltop Holdings Inc.

Confused yet? Yeah, there’s a lot of corporate structuring going on, but basically their a billion-dollar financial holdings company based out of Dallas, Texas with thousands of employees.

Hilltop actually acquired PlainsCapital and PrimeLending as recently as November 2012.

Applying for a Mortgage with PrimeLending

  • They are a consumer direct lender with no middlemen
  • You get connected with one of their loan officers nearby
  • And can apply online, by phone, or in-person
  • Their loan process technology seems limited to uploading documents so nothing too special there

The company relies on a network of mortgage loan officers throughout all 50 states to help borrowers apply for a mortgage.

If you’ve already made contact with a loan officer, you enter their name on the PrimeLending website and it’ll populate a list. Once selected, they become your point of contact.

If you don’t yet have an assigned loan officer, you can enter your zip code or city and choose one near you.

The website will list a variety of locations near you (assuming you live next to a lot of PrimeLending offices). Then you can then see all the loan officers at that branch and choose one based really on name only.

While the loan officers have their own mini websites, they don’t seem to feature any unique qualities, other than contact information, which I feel would make them stand out more.

They could show their strengths and specialties, but at the moment they seem to have boilerplate content that doesn’t differ from one loan officer to the next.

Anyway, from there you’d just hit the “apply now” button or you could call their direct phone line to get the home loan process underway.

You can also apply in person if that’s your thing, though most folks these days like to do things remotely.

In terms of technology, they allow you to email or upload key documents to complete the process. But other than that, nothing jumps out at me.

What PrimeLending Offers to Its Customers

  • Home purchase loans and refinance loans
  • Home improvement and renovation loans
  • New construction loans
  • Conforming and jumbo loans
  • Government loans including VA, FHA, and USDA loans

In the fixed-rate department, they advertise both the 30-year and 15-year fixed, which are by far the most popular. It’s unclear if they offer other terms in between and beyond.

For ARMs, they discuss the 3/1, 5/1, 7/1, 10/1, which happen to be the most popular ARM offerings available. All are hybrids with a fixed period followed by an adjustable period.

They’ve got the usual conforming stuff backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, along with a variety of government loans like FHA, VA, and USDA.

PrimeLending also advertises an FHA cash-out refinance, which is a little less usual.

When it comes to jumbos, they offer LTVs as high as 95% with both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options.

The company seems to have the new construction and renovation market well covered, with lots of offerings including an FHA 203k loan, lot loans, HUD REO and USDA with repair escrow, Fannie Mae HomeStyle, and jumbo renovation loans.

PrimeLending Mortgage Rates

  • They don’t advertise their interest rates
  • Nor can I find a ratesheet to get more information on their pricing
  • So if/when you get a quote from PrimeLending
  • You may also want to comparison shop with other lenders to see where they stand

Sadly, the company doesn’t openly advertise their mortgage rates, so it’s impossible to know if they’re good, bad, or just plain average.

I prefer companies that advertise their rates, though you can argue that they aren’t all that meaningful because rates can vary tremendously from borrower to borrower at the same company.

However, it does mean that if you apply with PrimeLending, you may want to shop your rate with other lenders to see where you stand.

And to determine if you can do better elsewhere, assuming you are interest rate-sensitive, which you generally should be.

Of course, many mortgage borrowers choose lenders for things other than the lowest rate, so it may not be super important to you.

The ability to actually close your loan on time can be just as important, if not more so.

Why Choose PrimeLending for Your Mortgage Needs?

  • They are big on customer satisfaction and survey every customer after their loan closes
  • Some 40% of customers actually complete the surveys vs. the industry average 10-15%
  • Their 96% approval rating outperforms the usual 89% average seen with other lenders
  • The company also seems to keep things simple and stress-free

While they lack some of the eye-catching technology other companies offer, such as Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans, they do seem to excel in customer satisfaction.

For those who might favor a personal touch, as opposed to speaking to no one and just using a smartphone app to get through it, they could be a good choice.

Perhaps you need more guidance to make your loan decision, or simply like having someone on call to help you along the way.

As noted, their slogan is “Home Loans Made Simple,” meaning the process should be an easy one despite any obvious technology claims.

They also have a wide range of products to choose from to suit most borrowers in lots of different situations.

But PrimeLending is kind of missing that special quality that differentiates themselves from other lenders, so it’s unclear why a consumer would seek them out versus another bank for their mortgage needs.



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