Bank of the West mortgage review
It offers the charm of a local bank with big financial backing, but loan requirements are vague.
Bank of the West offers all the standard conforming and government-backed loans you’d expect from a regional bank. But the lack of qualification information on its website makes it difficult to research if this bank is right for you.
|Loan products offered||Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Refinance|
|Minimum credit score||620|
|Minimum down payment||3%|
|State availability||AZ, CA, CO, IA, ID, KS, MN, MO, ND, NE, NM, NV, OK, OR, SD, UT, WA, WI, WY|
Bank of the West requirements
For conventional loans, this lender doesn’t disclose its credit score requirements — or other requirements such as loan-to-value (LTV) or debt-to-income (DTI) limits — on its website, forcing you to apply to find out if you qualify.
You can get prequalified, which provides a letter of how much of a loan you can afford based on your credit score. But this letter doesn’t indicate that you’ll be approved for a loan and is mostly informational.
Preapproval is a longer process that includes both your credit score and an analysis of your income, and can help boost your offer more than a prequalification can. While it’s still no guarantee, a preapproval indicates how much of a loan the lender might offer, pending the full underwriting process. Bank of the West offers both prequalification and preapproval letters as a free service.
This lender doesn’t provide a specific list, but you generally need the following documentation to apply for a loan:
- Asset information
- Employment and income history, including pay stubs
- Documentation of any debts you owe
- Social Security information
Costs and fees
Bank of the West doesn’t specify its mortgage closing costs, but you can expect to pay application fees, title-related fees, the cost of an appraisal, documentation fees and for any required insurance and taxes. You should get an estimate of the fees associated with your loan within three days of your completed application.
How to apply for a mortgage with Bank of the West
To apply for a loan, you can contact a bank loan officer or fill out the online application to get started. Once submitted, a loan officer should contact you to complete the application process. Use your account to check on its status using the Loan Dashboard.
- From the Loans page on the website, select Apply Online.
- Choose the type of loan you want and sign up for an account.
- Enter your personal information and current living arrangements.
- Select your desired loan terms and answer questions about the house you want to buy.
- Enter information about your assets, any owned properties or other liabilities.
- Answer questions about your employment and income.
- Accept the disclosures and declarations, including your demographic information.
- Review your information and select Submit.
What types of mortgages can I get through Bank of the West?
Other mortgage products offered by Bank of the West
In addition to standard loan types, this lender offers:
- Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC). Access your home’s equity with a line of credit with several interest rate discounts available.
- Refinancing. Refinance your mortgage with either a fixed- or adjustable-rate loan and get a discount on your interest rate if you’re already a Bank of the West customer.
- Fannie Mae HomeReady. This loan offers a low down payment option to borrowers with low-to-moderate income and qualifying credit scores of 620 or higher.
- Construction loans. Finance the building of your home and then convert your loan to a permanent loan once construction is complete.
How Bank of the West’s mortgage products compare to other lenders
Bank of the West offers most standard mortgage loans, including conventional and government-backed options, but very few specialty loans.
Most of the special programs focus on lowering interest rates. Its banking and investment customers could get an interest rate discount of up to 0.125% off the standard rate. Jumbo mortgage customers could get up 0.375% off the standard rate, depending on their loan amount.
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Bank of the West reviews and complaints
This bank is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB). But as of October 2020, it has an A- rating for failing to respond to one of the 246 complaints closed in the last three years. Additionally, Bank of the West has a 1.07-star rating from 44 customer reviews at the BBB and a 2.1-star rating from only 14 reviews on TrustPilot. Most customers complained about inadequately trained customer service and slow responses to concerns.
Pros and cons of Bank of the West
- Interest rate discounts. Get a relationship discount on your HELOC or regular mortgage rate for having another account with the bank; get discounts for autopay, for making large draws and for using the money to increase the energy efficiency of your home.
- Award-winning workplace. Support the push for more diversity in the financial industry with Bank of the West. The bank’s commitment to diversity has earned it several awards for being one of the best places to work for women and the LGBTQ community.
- Bolstered by a strong parent company. The size and stability of this lender’s parent company — BNP Paribas — provides a strong financial base for Bank of the West. Fitch ratings has given the parent company a long-term rating of A+ and the bank itself a rating of A.
- Limited service area. Bank of the West offers services from 600 branches in only 19 states.
- Vague about loan qualification requirements. While the website is fairly easy to navigate, the information is vague and doesn’t allow you to determine if you might qualify for a loan unless you’re ready to go through the application process with a loan officer.
What is Bank of the West?
Bank of the West is a 135-year-old regional bank with services available in 19 states. The bank is wholly owned by BNP Paribas, which is in the top six highest-rated banks in the world according to Standard & Poor’s. Bank of the West is headquartered in San Francisco, California.
In September of 2020, American Banker selected Bank of the West as one of five Top Teams in its Most Powerful Women in Banking and Finance program. The bank earned this recognition for its commitment to diversity — women make up 31% of corporate officers and 34% of the operating committee.
Frequently asked questions
Heather Petty is a writer at Finder specializing in banking, investments and insurance. She's a self-proclaimed word nerd who worked as a technical writer and editor for the casino systems industry and is an internationally published young adult mystery author. Heather earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Bank of the West offers mortgages to borrowers in 19 states. But its products are standard, and without any of the assistance programs or specialty loans many of its competitors offer, you may want to shop around to make sure you get the best mortgage possible.