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.
|Loan products offered||Conventional, Jumbo, Refinance|
|Minimum credit score||Conventional: 620|
|Minimum down payment (Conventional)||3%|
|State availability||Not available in: AK, HI, MD, MA, MN, NV, NH, NY, VT, VA, WY|
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, you can apply for preapproval online or over the phone to see if your finances might meet its underwriting criteria.
The documents you need vary based on your circumstances, but you may want to prepare any of the following that applies to you.
- Pay stubs
- Employment records and former employer information
- An explanation for any employment gaps over 30 days
- Bank statements
- Tax returns
- Proof of other income or assets
- Verification of rent payments
- Student loan payment history
- Divorce decree or separation agreement
- Proof that all judgments or liens are paid
Costs and fees
While Ally doesn’t directly list its home loan fees, closing costs are typically between 2% and 5% of your loan amount and include the following fees.
- Points. To get a discounted rate, pay an upfront fee to Ally. Points are calculated as a percentage of the loan.
- Underwriting. This fee goes towards your documentation review and evaluation.
- Ongoing. It’s possible to settle this with an account maintenance fee. Most lenders also have fees for returned and late payments.
- Third-party. Appraisal, title company and survey fees — along with taxes — are only a few of the potential third-party fees you could shell out for.
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.
- Go to the Ally website and select Home loans.
- Select Get Pre-approved.
- Enter information about your location and where you are in the process, then select Next.
- Answer questions about the property you’re interested in purchasing and select Next.
- Enter your email address to create an account and select Next.
- To continue, Ally executes a soft credit check. Choose Next to enter your information and agree to the terms and conditions to allow the check. Then choose Next again.
- Once your credit check is complete, you’ll either go to an application powered by Better or be presented with a form to fill out. In either case, you’ll need to give several pieces of information and submit them for review. Have your email, credit score range, cost estimate and the type of house you want to purchase ready for this section.
- 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?
Other mortgage products offered by Ally
- 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.
How Ally’s mortgage products compare to other lenders
Ally’s mortgage products are surprisingly limited. The bank offers a standard set of fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages offered by most lenders, as well as a first-time homeowner’s loan. But you can’t get a government-backed mortgage through Ally or any home equity products.
Customers with accounts over 30 days old can receive $500 towards closing costs. While not an extravagant discount, it’s still $500 you can put towards moving costs, paint or new decor.
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Ally reviews and complaints
Reviews across Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB) are overwhelmingly negative. But they number relatively fewer compared to bigger-name financial institutions — with only 82 and 274, respectively.
As of January 2021, Ally is not accredited with the BBB and has a D- rating for failing to respond to complaints. The average customer rating is 1.25 out of 5 stars.
Complaints generally focus on poor customer service experiences, misinformation and mishandling of funds. While the reviews are mostly negative, keep in mind that people generally aren’t as likely to go out of their way to leave positive reviews.
Pros and cons of Ally
- 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 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.
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.
Rhys Subitch is the loans editor at Finder, guiding Americans toward smart borrowing decisions. With over half a decade of experience researching, editing and writing for a Fortune 500 company, university and several independent publications, Rhys brings readers the most up-to-date and curated info in the lending sphere. They make frequent appearances on Finder's YouTube channel to talk through loan topics that range from the very basics to the latest government assistance programs. Before specializing in lending, Rhys was a personal finance writer for Finder’s credit cards, insurance, banking and mortgage verticals. They hold a BA in sociology and a certificate in editing from the University of Washington, Seattle.
If you have a good credit score and are looking for a conventional or jumbo loan, Ally offers a straightforward, online application process. Current Ally bank customers can even get $500 towards closing costs. However, it doesn’t offer government-backed loans, so veterans or first-time homebuyers looking for an FHA loan may have better luck with another bank.