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Sunday, June 26th
Never heard of Truist, and yet now this bank seems to be everywhere? This financial services company is the brand that emerged from the merger of two big-name banks, BB&T and SunTrust. It's now a top 10 US commercial bank, with headquarters in Charlotte, NC and over 2700 branches in 15 states plus Washington DC.
No problem seeing mortgage rates now
We like that Truist shows you right away what the current rates are for the mortgages they offer: 15- and 30-year fixed, 30-year jumbo, 30-year FHA, and 30-year VA. There's also a toggle to see how the rates change if you apply a point (if you pay 1% of the loan amount in exchange for a lower interest rate). At the time of our review, their mortgage rates were competitive with other big names in banking.
Not much help during preapproval
You can then decide if you're ready to apply for a home loan or if you'd rather prequalify, remembering that a formal application will impact your credit score while prequalification uses a soft pull that won't touch your credit report. However, if you choose the "Get preapproved" option, all you can do is submit your information (name, address, timeframe for home purchase, and name of real estate agent)...and wait for a Truist loan professional to reach out to you. That's a huge disadvantage compared with other home loan providers that let you get prequalified right away and provide a letter you can hand over to your agent to make an offer. Even if you're just in the "researching" stage of the home-buying process, why wouldn't you want even a preliminary idea of what you can afford without having to talk to a loan officer to get it?
Good reputation with the BBB
Nonetheless, at first we thought Truist was going to come out a winner among home loan providers. We were encouraged by their "A+" and accreditation from the Better Business Bureau and not overly dissuaded by the 1500+ complaints filed there in the last 12 months: after all, with over 2700 branches, that works out to fewer than one complaint per location. Not so terrible, right?
Things have changed - and not for the better
Unfortunately, it seems like any positive feedback for Truist is a remnant of its two merged companies: thousands and thousands of people say that customer service has tanked since they were switched to Truist from BB&T and SunTrust. It doesn't matter if you bank online or go into a branch, plan to wait a long time before getting any help - and don't expect much when you do finally get to talk to a representative. One homeowner said it took three calls and four reps to finally restore access to their mortgage account online after the merger. Another described it this way, and we think it's a good representation of the many other complaints we read: "Truist Bank creates problems they can't solve."
Not recommended for home loans - or banking
If you already have a banking relationship with Truist and there's a significant financial advantage to adding a mortgage to your accounts there, maybe it would be worth asking at your local branch to see what they could offer. Otherwise, we don't recommend applying for a home loan here (or, really, doing any kind of banking with this financial institution).
Your first thought might be to visit your local bank or broker, but think again. Why? You're not likely to get the very best rates and terms there. True, you might get a promo or slightly lower interest rate for being a current customer, but will your financial institution shop around to find you the ideal loan for your situation?
More than likely, they'll fit you with whichever mortgage is convenient (or profitable) instead of working to get you a home loan with the best possible terms. With interest rates constantly fluctuating, it's never a bad time to start looking into your financing options if homeownership is your goal. Even if you're just curious to see how much you can ultimately afford when the time comes, that will help you start budgeting and saving to have enough to secure your new home when you're ready.
Some mortgage terms stipulate that the funds can't come from a last-minute gift or contribution from a well-meaning family member, so plan ahead!
The easiest way to know how much you can borrow is by shopping for a home loan online. While some lenders require you to enter your personal information to show you their rates, others post sample rates online or let you choose your credit score range and other details to preview a more personalized quote. Be mindful that there's a difference between a "soft pull" on your credit - usually used to prequalify you, and only uses your address and phone number to verify your identity - and a "hard pull" that will impact your credit history.
The latter usually happens only when you've got a home under contract and you're ready to secure a mortgage, but pay attention to the fine print when you're checking out a lender's rates. You don't want to be "just browsing" and find out that your credit score took a nosedive with an unintentional hard inquiry on your report!
With many lenders interested in your business, how can you decide which one to use for your mortgage? Here are a few factors to look at before you complete a loan application:
To help you finance the home of your dreams, TopConsumerReviews.com has evaluated and ranked today's most popular mortgage lenders. We're confident that this information will be useful on your journey to home ownership. Congratulations!
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