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Navy Federal Mortgage Review 2022

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) is a direct mortgage lender serving members of the U.S. armed forces, veterans and their families. Founded in 1933 and headquartered in Vienna, Va., Navy Federal has more than 11 million members and 350 branches worldwide. It offers several types of mortgages, including conventional loans, VA loans and special 0% down mortgage programs.

Who is this lender for?

Navy Federal is a good fit if:

  • You qualify for membership
  • You want to put 0% down
  • You want one organization that can meet all of your lending and banking needs

8.5/10 LendingTree’s mortgage lender rating

LendingTree’s mortgage lender rating is based on a 10-point scoring system that factors in several features, including digital application and closing processes, available loan products and online and in-person accessibility. LendingTree’s editorial team calculates each rating based on a review of information available on the lender’s website. Lenders receive a half-point on the “standard product offerings” criterion if they offer at least two of the four standard loan programs (Conventional/FHA/VA/USDA). In some cases, additional information was provided by a lender representative.

= 1 pt = 0 pts

  1.   Application online: Yes
  2.   Product info online: Yes
  3.   Rates listed online: Yes
  4.   Helpful articles about mortgages and homebuying: Yes
  5.   Standard product offerings Yes
  6.   Special programs: Yes
  7.   Info about how to qualify for products offered online: Yes
  8.   E-closing availability: No
  9.   Licensed in at least 35 states: Yes
  10.   After-hours and weekend access to loan officers: Yes

Pros

NFCU is best for people with ties to the military community.

  Military focus. Navy Federal has loan programs tailored for the military community, and more than half its branches are located on or near military installations.

  PMI is often not required. Most lenders require private mortgage insurance (PMI) when conventional borrowers put down less than 20%. Several Navy Federal mortgage programs feature small down payment requirements and don’t charge PMI.

  Rate matching. The interest rate match program guarantees Navy Federal will beat a competing lender’s rate or pay you $1,000.

Cons

As a credit union, NFCU has a few limitations compared to large bank competitors.

  Restricted membership. Navy Federal mortgages are only available to members of the credit union. Membership is limited to military members and their immediate family.

  Fewer physical locations. Navy Federal has fewer than 400 branches, while some large banks have thousands.

  No FHA or USDA loans. Navy Federal doesn’t offer loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or backed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

Minimum credit scoreNot published
Minimum credit score
  • Not published
Minimum down payment
  • 0% VA, Military Choice, Homebuyers Choice
  • 5% Conventional
Available loan terms
  • 10- to 30-year terms on most purchase and refinance loans
  • 5-, 10-, 15- and 20-year terms on home equity loans
  • 20-year draw period followed by a 20-year repayment period on HELOCs
Available loan types
  • VA
  • Conventional
  • Jumbo
  • Second-home financing
  • Investment property
  • Home equity loan
  • HELOC

Navy Federal publishes all of its mortgage rates online. Its quoted interest rates include 0.5 to 1.625 mortgage points, also called discount points, which allow borrowers to “buy down” the interest rate to a lower percentage.

For closing costs, NFCU states homebuyers can expect to pay between 2% and 4% of the total loan amount. It also provides a closing costs calculator.

Purchase

Navy Federal offers several types of purchase mortgages with repayment terms ranging from 10 to 30 years.

VA loans. Backed by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), VA loans offer benefits like low interest rates and 0% down payments, but homebuyers must be an eligible service member, veteran or surviving spouse to qualify.

Conventional loans. For the traditional, fixed-rate mortgage option, Navy Federal requires 5% down. (Here are some tips on how to save for a house.) The credit union also offers adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), which are available as 5/5 ARMs. These loans have the same interest rate for five years and then the rate adjusts every five years for the remaining loan term. Down payment requirements range from 0% to 10%.

Jumbo loans. For those eligible homebuyers shopping in high-cost areas, NFCU offers jumbo loans, which allow for loan amounts above the $647,200 conforming loan limit.

Military Choice loans. This mortgage type is designed for homebuyers who have exhausted their VA loan benefits but still desire similar loan features. This is the only NFCU mortgage program with terms ranging from 16 to 30 years, rather than 10 to 30 years.

Homebuyers Choice loans. Aimed at first-time homebuyers, this mortgage offers 100% financing and doesn’t require PMI.

Refinance

Similar to its purchase mortgages, Navy Federal offers mortgage refinance programs: VA rate-and-term, VA IRRRL, conventional, Military Choice and Homebuyers Choice. In particular, the Homebuyers Choice allows for cash-out refinancing.

Home equity

NFCU offers fixed-rate home equity loans and variable-rate home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). Here’s a guide on the differences between the two types. Both have no application or origination fee, and allow loan amounts of $10,000 to $500,000.

NFCU’s home equity loan offers terms of 5, 10, 15 and 20 years. The HELOC offers a 20-year draw period, followed by a 20-year repayment period.

Special programs

Besides its Military Choice and Homebuyers Choice mortgage programs, which allow 100% financing with no required PMI, Navy Federal also offers the following special programs.

Rate match guarantee. This program promises that NFCU will match a better rate offered by a competitor. Otherwise, they’ll pay you $1,000 if they can’t match it and you close on the mortgage with another lender.

RealtyPlus cash back. When you sign up for the RealtyPlus program and work with a designated agent to buy or sell a house, you could receive $400 to $9,000 for each transaction.

Rate locks. You can freely activate the Freedom Lock or “float down” rate option, which allows you to lock in your interest rate for 60 days, so if market rates go up, your rate doesn’t. On the flip side, it also allows you to request a lower rate if market rates go down before you close on the property.

How does Navy Federal compare to other lenders?

Navy FederalRocket MortgageBank of America
Minimum credit score
  • Not published
  • 580 FHA and VA
  • Not published
Minimum down payment
  • 0% (VA, Military Choice, Homebuyers Choice)
  • 5% (Conventional) 
  • 0% (VA)
  • 0% (VA) 
  • 3% (Conventional)
Loan products and types 
  • VA
  • Conventional
  • Jumbo 
  • Second-home financing
  • Investment property
  • Home equity loan
  • HELOC
  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • Jumbo
  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • Jumbo 
  • HELOC 
Special programs offered 
  • Military Choice
  • Homebuyers Choice 
  • Rate lock float down  
  • Rate match guarantee 
  • RealtyPlus cash back 
  • Personal loans
  • Repayment terms ranging from eight to 29 years
  • Affordable Loan Solutions
  • Down payment grants
  • Doctor loans
Lender reviewRocket MortgageBank of America

 

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