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Ally mortgage review

This online-only lender offers a lot of conventional options but no government-backed loans.

Ally provides a fair selection of fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and refinancing options. While it works with a program assisting first-time homebuyers, Ally doesn’t offer any government-backed home loans. If you’re not a first-time homebuyer and are considering government assistance, you may want to look elsewhere.

Details

Loan products offeredConventional, Jumbo, Refinance
Minimum credit scoreConventional: 620
Minimum down payment (Conventional)3%
State availabilityNot available in: AK, HI, MD, MA, MN, NV, NH, NY, VT, VA, WY
NMLS #181005

Our take on Ally

If you have a good credit score and are looking for a conventional or jumbo loan, Ally offers a straightforward, online application process with quick preapprovals. Any tech-savvy homebuyer will appreciate that.

Plus, Ally doesn’t charge any lender fees. This is a move we’re seeing more and more of among online lenders, but it’s in no way common practice just yet. For that, Ally gets a big thumbs up.

Now for the downsides: Ally’s mortgage products are surprisingly limited. It doesn’t offer government-backed loans, so veterans or first-time homebuyers looking for an FHA loan will have to look elsewhere. And its reviews are wildly mixed.

Reviewers on Zillow are largely favorable, whereas reviewers on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot don’t really have anything positive to say about the company. But, it’s worth mentioning, Zillow’s reviewers seem to focus more on the bank’s mortgage services, which may give you a clearer indication of what you can expect.

Either way, shop around and compare lenders. Mortgage lenders can drastically vary when it comes to fees, customer sentiment and available loan options, so make sure you’re settling on a lender that’s right for your unique situation.

Ally requirements

To apply, you need to be a US resident and ready to purchase in a state where Ally is licensed. Though Ally doesn’t list any credit score requirements on its site, apply for preapproval online or over the phone to see if your finances might meet its underwriting criteria.

Documentation

The documents you need vary based on your circumstances, but you may want to prepare any of the following that apply to you:

  • Pay stubs
  • Employment records and former employer information
  • Bank statements
  • Tax returns
  • Proof of other income or assets
  • Rent payment receipts
  • Student loan payment history
  • Divorce decree or separation agreement
  • An explanation for any employment gaps over 30 days
  • Proof that all judgments or liens are paid

Costs and fees

Ally doesn’t charge any lender fees, so you won’t find any application, origination, processing or underwriting fees if you decide to do business with them. In comparison, many banks charge lender fees that typically cost between 1% and 2% of the total mortgage amount.

While Ally doesn’t charge any lender fees, expect to pay any third-party fees normally associated with getting a mortgage. These include:

  • Appraisal fees
  • Title fees
  • Survey fees
  • Closing costs

Ally pros and cons

Pros

  • Clear timeline. Ally offers time estimates for each part of the application process, so you won’t be stuck wondering.
  • Customer discount. If you’ve had an account with Ally for over 30 days, you may be eligible for a $500 discount on closing costs when you prequalify.
  • First-time buyers guide. Access a free set of articles and resources on buying a home for the first time to learn more about the process.
  • No lender fees. Ally doesn’t charge any application, origination, processing or underwriting fees.

Cons

  • No government-backed loans. You can’t get an FHA, VA or USDA loan through Ally.
  • No branch locations. While it’s convenient to bank online, sometimes it’s easier to deal with financial matters in person.
  • No home equity line of credit (HELOC) options. If you’re looking to capitalize on the equity of your home, you can’t through Ally.

How to apply for a mortgage with Ally

The application starts online or over the phone, and it’s generally best to start by prequalifying.

  1. Go to the Ally website and select Home loans.
  2. Select Get Pre-approved.
  3. Enter information about your location and where you are in the process, and answer questions about the property you’re interested in purchasing. Select Next when prompted.
  4. Enter your email address to create an account, then enter your information and agree to the terms and conditions to allow a credit check. Choose Next when prompted.
  5. Wait for your credit check to complete. Then, you’ll either go to an application powered by Better or be presented with a form to fill out. Have your email, credit score range, cost estimate and the type of house you want to purchase ready for this section.
  6. Wait for an Ally representative to contact you to find out if you prequalify.

If you prequalify, send in the required documentation and Ally completes the underwriting process. This process can take anywhere from three to five weeks, but you can track the progress online or talk to your loan team over the phone.

What types of mortgages can I get through Ally Bank?

  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • USDA
  • Jumbo
This company accepts mortgage refinance applications.

Other mortgage products Ally offers

  • Refinance. If you think you could get a better rate or terms on your mortgage, you could refinance it with Ally. The terms are 15, 20 or 30 years for fixed-rate loans — same as a conventional loan, and you can complete your full application online.
  • HomeReady by Fannie Mae. Ally works with Fannie Mae’s HomeReady mortgage program to assist first-time buyers. You’re required to take an online course, but you can potentially get a 30-year mortgage with as little as 3% down.

Ally reviews and complaints

As of November 2021, Ally is not accredited with the BBB. It’s closed more than 1,600 complaints in the past three years but has a D- rating for failing to respond to complaints and due to the high number of complaints filed against it compared to its size. The lender has 394 customer reviews averaging 1.06 out of 5 stars.

The lender doesn’t fare much better on Trustpilot, where it has 48 reviews, 77% of which are 1-star, and has a TrustScore of 1.9 out of 5 stars. Complaints generally focus on poor customer service experiences, misinformation and mishandling of funds.

In contrast to the BBB and Trustpilot, reviews on Zillow tell a bit of a different story. Reviews have rated Ally 4.4 out of 5 stars based on a total of 265 reviews. Satisfied customers point to friendly, responsive and helpful customer service and a smooth and pleasant home loan experience.

What is Ally?

Ally is a financial services company that operates completely online. It was established back in 1919 as the General Motors Acceptance Corporation but was rebranded in 2010 as Ally.

In addition to mortgages, Ally provides a number of personal banking products — including checking and savings accounts, CDs, IRAs, investment accounts and auto loans. In August 2019, Ally made an equity investment in the fintech car subscription service, Fair, becoming a minority shareholder.

Alternatives to Ally

Ally’s mortgage products are surprisingly limited, and you can’t get a government-backed mortgage or any home equity products. If you prefer the convenience of an online lender but are interested in getting a government-backed mortgage, there are plenty of options available.

For instance, Better is a highly rated digital mortgage lender that offers FHA loans in addition to conventional, jumbo and refinance mortgages. And just like Ally, it doesn’t charge any lender fees.

Then there’s Rocket Mortgage. Unlike Ally, Rocket Mortgage is available nationwide, offers a fully online mortgage application process and both VA and FHA home loans. But Rocket Mortgage charges an origination fee of $1,250 on its conventional mortgages.

Alternatively, compare top brands by home loan type, state availability and credit score. Select See rates to provide the lender with basic property and financial details for personalized rates.

Name Product Loan products offered State availability Min. credit score
Rocket Mortgage
(NMLS #3030)
Rocket Mortgage
Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, Refinance
Available in all states
620
Streamline your mortgage from quote to final payment — all from your computer or phone.
AmeriSave
(NMLS #1168)
AmeriSave
Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Refinance
Not available in: NY
620
Great customer reviews and customized rate quotes in three minutes with no SSN needed.
Veterans United
(NMLS #1907)
Veterans United
Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, Jumbo, Refinance
Available in all states
620
Veterans United stands out from other lenders for its focus on serving the military community.
Better
(NMLS #330511)
Better
Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, Refinance
Not available in: HI, MA, MN, NV, NH, VT, VA
620
Online preapproval in minutes and no origination fees with this direct lender.
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