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Reliance First Capital Review: Are They a Mortgage Lender You Can Rely On?


Reliance First Capital out of Melville, NY says it makes custom mortgages to ensure its customers obtain a home loan that fits their specific financial goals.

In short, they want you to rely on them and their years of experience for your home loan needs.

And they seem to be achieving a high level of customer satisfaction, recently making it into the coveted top-10 list for customer satisfaction on the LendingTree platform.

They’re also one of the few “certified lenders” you’ll find on LendingTree, which is an accolade given out for outstanding performance. Read on to discover more about this direct mortgage lender.

Reliance First Capital Fast Facts

  • Retail direct-to-consumer mortgage lender
  • Founded in 2008, headquartered in Melville, NY
  • Offers home purchase loans and refinance loans
  • Licensed in 41 states and the District of Columbia
  • Funded over $1 billion in home loans last year
  • Nearly 75% of total volume was cash out refinances
  • Did the most business in their home state of New York

Reliance First Capital is a retail direct-to-consumer mortgage lender that operates six regional loan origination centers throughout the country.

Those offices are in Charlotte, Cleveland, Dallas, Nashville, Pittsburgh, and their headquarters in Melville, NY.

To that end, they basically operate remotely like an online lender so you won’t be visiting a branch to get your mortgage. Instead, you’ll deal with someone over the phone, via email, etc.

At the moment, they are licensed to do business in 41 states and D.C., with Iowa, Nevada, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Missouri, South Dakota, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin the exceptions.

Based on their HMDA data, they are big on cash out refinances, with nearly 75% of total volume coming from such transactions.

This means they mostly serve existing homeowners with plenty of equity who wish to tap into it by way of refinance.

However, they also offer home purchase financing and rate and term refinances as well, they just aren’t as prevalent.

The company is most active in its home state of New York, unsurprisingly, followed by North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Tennessee.

The remainder of their loan volume is scattered across the United States, with lending taking place in nearly all 50 states.

Applying for a Mortgage with Reliance First Capital

  • They say they’ve got a proprietary loan origination system
  • It’s a digital mortgage loan experience with a personal touch
  • You must first fill out a contact form on their website, then a mortgage analyst will contact you
  • Once signed up you’ll be able to access a borrower portal to upload documents and check loan status

Reliance First Capital offers a digital mortgage experience with a personal touch, aka a human loan officer standing by to assist.

They strive to provide superior customer service and work to determine your desired level of service (e.g. lots of personal interaction, mostly borrower portal, or a mix).

From what I gathered, you first need to fill out a short contact form on their website, at which point you’ll be contacted by a member of their team.

They say you’ll be matched with one of their licensed mortgage analysts, who will be your main point of contact throughout the loan process.

This individual will work alongside your loan processor to evaluate and gather the items needed to submit your loan to underwriting.

Their online customer portal known as myReliance allows borrowers to view/manage their loan application and upload necessary documents.

You can fill out the loan application online, save your work, and revisit it along the way to check loan status.

The same goes for scanning and uploading documents, signing disclosures, and so forth. They refer to this process as a “proprietary loan origination system.”

It’s also possible to simply give them a call to get the balling rolling. In any case, you will likely need to speak to someone before you begin, which these days isn’t always the norm.

There are online mortgage lenders that let you get going right away without any human interaction.

In summary, your unique needs will dictate how much of the loan process is self-serve versus directed by their lending team, but you get options either way.

Loan Programs Available at Reliance First Capital

  • Home purchase loans
  • Refinance loans: rate and term, cash out, and streamline
  • Conforming home loans backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
  • Government-backed loans: FHA, USDA, and VA
  • Jumbo home loans
  • Manufactured home loans
  • Reverse mortgages
  • Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate loans with various loan terms

While Reliance First Capital offers home purchase loans, they seem to specialize in refinance loans, and cash out refis specifically.

That means they might be best-served for the existing homeowner looking to tap their home equity to pay for other expenses and/or reduce more expensive debt.

However, they offer a full slate of loan programs, whether you want a conforming loan backed by Fannie/Freddie, a government loan with zero down, or a jumbo home loan.

They say they offer FHA loans and VA loans with credit scores as low as 500, along with jumbo loans as large as $3 million.

Additionally, they offer both manufactured home loans and reverse mortgages, so they’ve got something for just about everyone.

It’s unclear if they offer home renovation loans, such as the FHA 203k or the Fannie Mae HomeStyle renovation loan.

Based on their HMDA data, they mostly originate fixed-rate mortgages, but ARMs are also available if you’re looking for something a little different.

My assumption is you can get financing on a single-family home or condo/townhome, and the occupancy can be primary, secondary, or investment.

Reliance First Capital Credit Coach Program

One neat feature that Reliance First Capital offers that others might not is their free Credit Coach program, which can help borrowers boost their credit scores prior to application.

For example, if your credit scores are just shy of good enough to get approved for a certain type of home loan, they might be able to offer suggestions to improve them.

The Credit Coach program features a one-on-one conference call that involves an in-depth credit report analysis.

This expert will work to explain how credit scoring works, what’s on your credit report, and what you might be able to do to raise your credit scores.

They apparently provide “time-tested recommendations” that can lead to a credit score boost, whether that’s paying off debt or attempting to remove negative information.

Regardless, it can certainly be beneficial to raise your scores over certain key thresholds because of the many pricing adjustments related to credit scores and mortgages.

Reliance First Capital Mortgage Rates

You won’t find mortgage rates posted on the Reliance First Capital website. Instead, you’ll need to call them and speak to a mortgage analyst to discuss pricing.

The same goes for lender fees – while making that call, be sure to get both mortgage rate quotes and a list of lender fees they charge, such as loan origination fee, processing/underwriting, application, and so.

Once you’ve got all these numbers, you can determine your mortgage APR and use it to shop your home loan with other banks, brokers, and lenders.

While it’s unclear how competitive Reliance First Capital is relative to other mortgage lenders, their customer reviews on both LendingTree and Zillow are favorable, with many reviews indicating lower interest rates than expected.

But don’t just take anyone’s word for it – put in the time and truly shop to ensure you get the best deal on your loan.

Reliance First Capital Mortgage Reviews

They are one of just nine certified lenders on the LendingTree platform and currently have a 4.8-star rating out of 5 from over 2,000 customer reviews.

A certified lender is apparently “recognized for outstanding performance on the LendingTree network.”

Additionally, they landed in the top-10 list for customer satisfaction in the first quarter of 2020 and currently have a 96% recommend rate.

On Zillow, they have a 4.81-star rating out of a possible 5 from about 70 reviews, with many saying the interest rate received was lower than expected.

Their Google reviews are somewhat mixed based on physical location, with a 4.3-star rating in Charlotte, a 4.8-star rating in Dallas, a 2.9-star rating in Franklin, TN, a 4.1-star rating in Pittsburgh, a 4.8-star rating in Independence, Ohio, and a 3.2-star rating at their Melville headquarters.

So you may want to check your local office first and scour individual loan officer reviews if you want to work with someone specific, as experiences seem to vary.

They are accredited with the Better Business Bureau and currently have an ‘A+’ BBB rating based on customer complaint history.

To sum it up, they might be a good fit if you’re an existing homeowner looking to refinance, but be sure to get multiple quotes from other lenders to ensure they offer a competitive rate and lender fees.

Reliance First Capital Pros and Cons

The Good

  • Online borrower portal to manage your loan
  • Plenty of loan programs to choose from
  • A+ BBB rating, accredited business
  • Free mortgage glossary on site
  • Free Credit Coach program to help boost borrowers credit scores
  • They may service your loan as opposed to transferring it

The Maybe Not

  • Do not lend in all states
  • Do not publicize mortgage rates
  • No mention of lender fees

(photo: Josh)

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