U.S. Bank Mortgage Review: Is Their Smart Refinance a Wise Choice?

Last updated on August 25th, 2020
U.S. Bank Mortgage Review: Is Their Smart Refinance a Wise Choice?

While there are thousands of mortgage companies nationwide, only a select few land in the top 10.

Today, we’ll examine U.S. Bank Mortgage, which ranked 9th in 2019 for total home loan origination volume.

Being a very large depository institution, they’ve got advantages that other, smaller competitors don’t have.

Namely, lots of liquidity and the ability to keep loans on their books, instead of having to sell them off and rely on short-term financing.

This means they can offer mortgage products that the other guys can’t, and potentially lower mortgage rates too.

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Let’s learn more about U.S. Bank’s mortgage division.

U.S. Bank Mortgage Fast Facts

  • 9th largest mortgage lender in 2019 based in Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Operates both a retail direct-to-consumer and correspondent lending business
  • Funded $32 billion in home loans last year
  • A third of total loan volume took place in California
  • Nearly half of their volume consisted of jumbo loans
  • Originate a large share of adjustable-rate mortgages
  • Available in all 50 states and D.C., branches located in 40 states

How to Apply for a Mortgage with U.S. Bank

  • You can apply online or by phone via digital mortgage application powered by Blend
  • A faster pre-qualification or loan estimate is also available if simply shopping around
  • Can request a call from a loan officer or visit a retail branch if located near you
  • Once approved you can track loan progress via the U.S. Bank Loan Portal

Those who want to apply for a mortgage with U.S. Bank can do so via their website, without human interaction.

So if you’re the impatient type, or simply know what you’re doing, you can get started straight away.

Their digital mortgage application is powered by Blend, a fintech vendor used by many of the top mortgage companies in the country.

Known as the U.S. Bank Loan Portal, it allows you to link financial accounts and speed through the application process without having to gather paperwork and upload documents.

You can connect payroll, tax, and bank account information securely to ensure your application is accurate and complete.

And once approved, you can track loan progress, get status updates, and send messages to your loan team if you have questions.

Alternatively, you can call them up or request a phone call, or visit a brick-and-mortar branch if you want a more hands-on, personal touch.

If you’ve been referred to someone specific, or want to work with someone in your neck of the woods, they have a loan officer directory as well.

You can filter by both address or by name to find someone you know or an individual who works nearby. Then you can apply for a mortgage directly from their personal website.

It’s also possible to generate a quick pre-qualification via their website if you’re not quite ready to apply, but want to see where you stand.

Or if you’re just shopping around, they offer the ability to generate a loan estimate using limited borrower information (look out for a link to this option on the bottom of the application page).

All in all, U.S. Bank makes it easy to get pricing or apply for a home loan.

What Does U.S. Bank Mortgage Offer?

  • Home purchase loans, refinance loans, home equity loans/lines
  • Conventional financing (Fannie/Freddie) and government (FHA, USDA, VA)
  • Fixed-rate mortgages and ARMs
  • Jumbo home loans up to $3 million loan amounts
  • Construction home loans and lot loans
  • Portfolio loans (non-QM)
  • Physician mortgages
  • Available on primary homes, second homes, and 1-to-4-unit investment properties

One thing that separates U.S. Bank Mortgage from other mortgage lenders is its expansive menu of home loan offerings.

You can get a home purchase loan, a refinance loan, both rate and term and cash out, a streamline refinance such as a VA IRRRL, or a home equity loan/line.

As noted, they are a large depository bank, which allows them to offer things their competitors can’t.

Namely, portfolio loans that they keep on their books, with their own set of rules and guidelines that may go above and beyond what others have available.

Sure, you can get a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage from U.S. Bank, like anywhere else. But you can also get a 10/1 ARM, a jumbo loan, a construction loan, or a physician’s mortgage.

Additionally, they’ve got a full menu of adjustable-rate mortgage options, such as a 3/1, 5/1, or 10/1 ARM. It’s unclear if they offer interest-only mortgages at this time.

Those looking to purchase a home can sign up in the U.S. Bank Loan Portal and apply for a mortgage eligibility letter, which is their version of a mortgage pre-approval.

Existing homeowners can take advantage of both home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and home equity loans if you’re happy with your first mortgage but want to tap equity.

You may also be eligible for a discount on closing costs if you’re an existing U.S. Bank customer or if your company participates in the U.S. Bank Corporate Employee Mortgage Program.

Ultimately, they’ve got you covered no matter what type of financing you need.

U.S. Bank Smart Refinance

U.S. Bank Mortgage also offers a so-called “Smart Refinance,” which is their take on the no closing cost refinance.

It allows you to refinance an existing home loan without incurring the typical closing costs, at least out of pocket.

Interestingly, you can only get a loan term as long as 20 years on the Smart Refinance, which is probably intended to keep your loan payoff on track.

But you can take cash out, so even if your loan balance grows as a result, your payoff should come faster, or at least not be extended.

This can save you interest, though monthly payments will be higher to compensate for the shorter loan term.

And there’s a good chance the mortgage rate will be higher to offset the lack of closing costs, unless those are rolled into the loan.

U.S. Bank Mortgage Rates

One plus is that U.S. Bank openly advertises its mortgage rates right on their website. And they are updated daily as the market changes.

You can see both purchase and refinance rates, along with rates by loan type, such as 30-year fixed or 5/1 ARM, or an FHA loan rate.

I checked them out and their fixed mortgage rates seemed pretty competitive relative to what other lenders are offering.

Their jumbo loans were priced only a little bit higher than their conforming loans, and their government home loans were similarly priced.

Their adjustable-rate mortgage rates were actually pricing higher than their fixed offerings, which is a bit of an oddity, though common at the moment.

Typically, these would be offered at a discount, so if applying with U.S. Bank, a fixed-rate mortgage may be the way to go.

Be sure to pay attention to the loan assumptions – when I checked, many of the loan rates required discount points of 0.862% for the advertised rate.

Additionally, they assumed you were buying or refinancing a single-family, primary residence with 20% down and a FICO score of 740+.

U.S. Bank Mortgage Reviews

U.S. Bank Mortgage has a 4.98 rating out of 5 on Zillow, which is as close to perfection as I’ve seen, especially since it’s based on over 4,000 customer reviews.

That’s a pretty large sample size for such as high rating – many customers indicated that the interest rate and fees were lowered than expected.

The nice thing with the Zillow reviews is you can also see how an individual loan officer performs since most of the reviews show who the customer worked with.

You may want to search for specific loan officers since U.S. Bank is such a large company to ensure you’re matched with one of their best employees.

Their reviews on Trustpilot aren’t nearly as good, though some are for products other than mortgage. Be sure to filter reviews for home loans to get a better idea of what to expect.

They are Better Business Bureau accredited, and have been since 1970. While they have an A+ BBB rating, they’ve only got a 1-star and change rating based on customer reviews.

Again, with a mega bank you’re going to have mixed experiences, which is why comparing individual loan officer reviews is key.

U.S. Bank Mortgage Pros and Cons

The Good Stuff

  • Available in all 50 states and D.C.
  • Completely digital loan application with ability to link financial accounts
  • They advertise their mortgage rates (and provide daily pricing updates)
  • Discounts for existing U.S. Bank customers
  • Lots of home loan programs to choose from
  • Free mortgage calculators to determine affordability
  • They may service your loan as opposed to selling it off to a different company

The Possible Bad Stuff

  • No mention of lender fees (may have to pay an origination fee)
  • May need a high FICO score to get approved
  • Customer experience may vary since it’s such a large bank
  • Possibly bureaucratic since you’re dealing with a huge company

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