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Lake Michigan Credit Union mortgage review

Offers low down payment, profession-based options to borrowers in a limited service area.

Pros

  • Guaranteed interest rate match
  • Offers a variety of low down payment mortgage loan options
  • Recent mergers and purchases are expanding LMCU’s footprint and services
Cons

  • Only licensed in Michigan and Florida
  • Despite being available throughout the state of Florida, the bank only has 13 branch locations

Details

Loan products offeredConventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Home Equity/HELOC, Refinance
Minimum credit scoreNo information available, but most lenders require at least a 620 FICO score for conventional loans.
State availabilityOnly available in: FL, MI
NMLS #442967

Our take on Lake Michigan Credit Union mortgages

In addition to its standard loans, Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU) has a full slate of mortgage options, with three separate loan programs that allow you to pay no or low down payment. But these options are only available to borrowers within certain professions. And between that limitation and LMCU’s limited licensing, only select clientele qualify for this lender’s best offers.

But if you have an adequate down payment or qualify for a government-backed loan, LMCU may still be a good option.

Special discounts

LMCU promises to match any competitor’s interest rates or the credit union will pay $300 toward your closing costs.

Lending requirements aren’t listed

Each loan’s requirements can vary, but lenders like LMCU typically use your credit history, debt-to-income (DTI) ratio and the loan-to-value ratio on the home you want to purchase to determine whether you qualify for a loan and what interest rate it can offer.

For example, to qualify for the 0% and 1% down payment options of the SmartMove mortgage, borrowers must have a 740 FICO score and a 41% DTI ratio. But those requirements are the only ones listed on the site and don’t necessarily apply to government-backed mortgages, such as VA or FHA loans, which have minimum requirements suggested by agency policy.

Membership requirements

As with any credit union, you have to meet one of the following criteria to become a member before you apply for a loan:

  • Live, work or go to school or church in Michigan’s lower peninsula.
  • Live, work or go to school or church in Florida.
  • Qualify as an immediate family member of a current LMCU member.
  • Donate $5 to the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Foundation.

Fees are unclear

  • Lender fees. Costs associated with processing your loan, such as application and origination fees, discount points and rate-lock charges.
  • Third-party fees. Appraisal fees, title fees and recording fees are all included in the fees charged by companies outside of LMCU. You may also need to prepay association fees and have homeowners insurance in place.
  • Government fees. You typically have to prepay taxes and other assessments your state and local government charge.

Lake Michigan Credit Union reviews are limited and negative

LMCU is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and, as of August 2021, has an A+ rating for closing 16 complaints in the last three years. Customers rate the lender 1.14 out of 5 stars with only seven reviews, complaining of poor communication in the mortgage process with missed closing dates and missing paperwork that had to be submitted multiple times. The credit union only has one review on Trustpilot, which is a five-star review for its banking services.

5 steps to getting a mortgage with Lake Michigan Credit Union

When you’re ready to apply, either call LMCU and speak to a loan officer in person, visit one of the LMCU mortgage centers or follow these steps to start your application online.

  1. Navigate to the Mortgages page of the LMCU website and select Apply Online.
  2. Select Continue and enter your personal details and information about the loan you want, your assets and income and any real estate you own.
  3. Review your details at the end of each section and select Continue.
  4. Answer the declaration questions and demographic information, then review your application and select Submit.
  5. Upload your documents using the instructions provided. View your documents and any documents the loan officer uploads in the Documents tab.

Documents you’ll need

LMCU doesn’t provide a definitive list, but as part of your application process, you’ll be required to upload documentation to verify your information, including the following:

  • Government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license
  • List of assets, such as bank statements and investment records
  • List of debts, such as credit card bills and student loans
  • Last two years of W-2 statements
  • Latest two paycheck stubs

Lake Michigan Credit Union’s loan options are comprehensive

LMCU’s mortgage options include the standards you’d expect to see from a lender of its size, plus the following more specialized loans:

  • SmartMove mortgage. This job-based mortgage program offers $800 of closing costs and 0% down for qualified Community Experts, such as CPAs, PhDs and architects, and 1% down for Community Heroes, such as firefighters, nurses and teachers.
  • Doctor mortgage. Dental, medical and orthodontic professionals qualify for a mortgage that comes with special features, like 0% down, no private mortgage insurance (PMI) and no minimum cash-on-hand requirement for loans up to $2 million.
  • Community Edge mortgage. If you’re a first responder, teacher, military member or work for the government, you may qualify for this program that offers a long list of perks, including $500 off your closing costs, 3% down and lower PMI payments.
  • Bridge loans. This short-term loan allows you to access your home’s equity to use as a down payment on your next house until your current home sells.
  • Construction loans. LMCU offers a suite of construction loans, including loans to cover renovations, vacant land purchases and USDA-backed rural construction.
  • Home equity products. This lender offers both home equity loans and lines of credit (HELOC), with 15-year payoff terms and interest rates that won’t go over 12%.
  • FinishLine mortgage refinance. This refinancing option allows you to pay off your mortgage faster by changing the term to between one and 12 years, with no closing costs or appraisal needed.

Alternatives to Lake Michigan Credit Union

Many people prefer the nonprofit, community-based approach of a credit union, but a lender like LMCU is limited to only two states. If you’d prefer a bank with a more national footprint, you might consider using our Mortgage Finder to compare lenders by type of home loan, state availability and credit score requirements.

Or, if you’d like to consider offers from several lenders, you could use a lender marketplace, such as Credible — a free service that uses your personal financial information to connect you with the lenders most likely to offer you the loan you need.

Regardless of what you choose, comparing lenders can help to ensure you get the best rates and the best terms to fit your needs. Start with the table below, selecting See rates to provide the company with basic property and financial details and see what kind of interest rate it’s willing to offer.

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.
SoFi
(NMLS #1121636)
SoFi
Conventional, Home equity, Refinance
Not available in: HI, MO, NM, NY
620
No hidden fees, multiple loan terms, and member discounts available.
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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4 fast facts about Lake Michigan Credit Union

This credit union opened in 1933 as a teachers’ credit union and grew to over 1,000 members by 1959. LMCU continues its growth today, as the following facts show:

  1. LMCU has over 500,000 members, making it the largest credit union in Michigan.
  2. The lender has 46 locations in Michigan, plus eight mortgage centers and 13 branches in Florida.
  3. LMCU merged with Encore Bank in 2018 and, in 2021, purchased Tampa, Florida-based Pilot Bancorp.
  4. In June 2021, the credit union opened a new full-service branch in Ada, Michigan.
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