San Diego County Credit Union mortgage review
This lender offers free PMI options, but there are no branches outside California.
finder.com’s rating: 3.5 / 5.0
San Diego County Credit Union (SDCCU) offers competitive rates for its jumbo and conventional loans, and sometimes covers private mortgage insurance (PMI) on certain loans. But look elsewhere if you need a government-backed option. And if you prefer to do your banking in person, its 44 branch locations are limited to the Golden State.
|Loan products offered||Conventional, Jumbo, Home Equity/HELOC, Refinance|
|Minimum credit score||Not listed, but most lenders require a minimum 620 FICO credit score for conventional loans.|
|Minimum down payment (Conventional)||10%|
|State availability||Only available in: CA|
San Diego County Credit Union Requirements
You must live or work in San Diego, Riverside or Orange counties, or be a member of the Financial Fitness Association.
Factors that SDCCU consider when determining whether a homebuyer qualifies for a mortgage include:
- Credit score
- Debt-to-income ratio
- How well you’ve managed prior credit
- Length of credit history
Before you apply, make sure you have the following information:
- Your current residence address, or addresses, for the past two years
- Social security numbers for all borrowers
- Your employment history for the past two years. You’ll need your employer(s) name, address and phone number
- Income information for all borrowers, including salary, overtime, bonuses, commissions, interest/dividend, retirement income and any other regular source of income
- If you own any real estate (other than the property you’re buying), the address, current market value, the amount you owe, the amount of rental income you receive if any, and your monthly payment amount
- Information about your current debts, including the name of the creditor, the account number, the current balance owing and your monthly payment amount
- Information about the property you’re looking to purchase
Costs and fees
It’s not easy to nail down the fees to expect from SDCCU. But they appear to be standard, including fees for the title services and insurance, your home appraisal, a tax service, your credit report, flood certification and recording fees.
For other mortgage options, you could face the closing costs below.
- Origination fee. The lender charges around 1% of the total home loan to cover the cost of processing a loan.
- Home inspection fees. Inspectors charge between $200 and $500 for an inspection that’s done after your offer is accepted by the seller, but before you close on the home.
- Property survey. The process of locating, describing, mapping and noting the boundaries and corners of a property will cost you about $450.
- Real estate transfer tax. The fee for acquiring land, buildings or property costs between 0.01% to 3.00% of purchase price.
- Legal fees. Fees associated with hiring a lawyer when buying a home may cost about $1,500 or more.
- Property tax and utility fees. This can cost between $400-$500 to reimburse your lender if they prepay property taxes or utility fees.
- Property valuation fee or appraisal cost. A $350-$500 fee charged for the lender to appraise the value of the home you want to purchase.
How to apply for a mortgage with San Diego County Credit Union
While the main Mortgage Loans page of SDCCU’s website has a Get Pre-Qualified button, the link only leads you to a prequalification calculator. To actually start the application process, follow these steps:
- Visit the SDCCU website and select Open an account if you don’t already have an account.
- Select Open Now to get started.
- Fill out all of the necessary information, then log in after your account is created.
- Navigate back to the homepage and choose Apply now.
- Answer a few questions, then select Continue.
- Log in again if prompted and consent to receive electronic communications from the bank. Select Continue.
- Work your way through the application, confirming your personal and financial details, and submit for review. A loan officer should contact you within three days.
What types of mortgages can I get through San Diego County Credit Union?
Other mortgage products offered by San Diego County Credit Union
- No closing costs loan. SDCCU offers a 5/5 ARM with no closing costs. The interest rate changes every five years, but it won’t change more than 2% at a time, and it has a maximum adjustment cap of 5% over the life of the loan.
How San Diego County Credit Union’s mortgage products compare to other lenders
Anyone interested in government-backed loans, such as FHA, VA or USDA options, will want to look elsewhere. But other than that, SDCCU’s mortgage product offerings are pretty standard. Where the lender stands out is in its discount options.
The credit union offers an ARM with no closing costs and covers 100% of private mortgage insurance (PMI) costs on some of its products. And as a SDCCU member, you can get discounts and rebates on your real estate services.
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San Diego County Credit Union reviews and complaints
SDCCU has been accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1995 and has an A+ rating as of April 2021 for answering 70 customer complaints over the past three years. But the lender earned 1 out of 5 stars from its 18 reviewers, with most complaining about poor in-branch customer service. The only two reviews concerning mortgage loans are from 2018.
Customer reviews on other forums are mixed. Some customers report issues with communication, online payments and customer service. But others praise this lender for its great rates and easy approvals, along with its excellent customer service at branches.
Pros and cons of San Diego County Credit Union
- Lender-paid PMI options. With some products, SDCCU pays for personal mortgage insurance if your down payment doesn’t reach 20%.
- Cash rebates. You can receive up to 20% cash back on your participating real estate agent’s commission.
- No-closing-costs option. If you’re open to a 5/5 ARM mortgage, SDCCU offers an option that comes with no closing costs.
- No nationwide coverage. You have to live or work in San Diego, Riverside or Orange counties, or be a member of the Financial Fitness Association to get a mortgage through SDCCU.
- Limited physical branches. All of SDCCU’s brick-and-mortar branches are in Southern California.
- Longer refinance closing. The popularity of this lender’s refinancing products has led them to warn customers that financing for those loans will take 60 days minimum.
What is San Diego County Credit Union?
San Diego County Credit Union (SDCCU) is a not-for-profit credit union founded in 1938 for government employees in San Diego. It has since expanded its availability to anyone working or living in San Diego, Riverside or Orange County or any members of the Financial Fitness Association.
Because almost anyone can join the Financial Fitness Association for an $8 fee, anyone can become an SDCCU member for $8 — even if you don’t live in the area. But the lender is only licensed to offer mortgages in California.
Heather Petty is a personal finance writer at Finder specializing in home loans, banking and insurance. After falling victim to a disreputable mortgage broker when buying her first home, she’s on a mission to help readers avoid similar experiences when managing their own finances. A self-proclaimed word nerd, her writing has been featured on MSN, Credit.com and MediaFeed.org, among others. Heather previously worked as a technical writer and editor for the casino systems industry and is an internationally published young adult mystery author. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English with a minor in journalism from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Despite the limited mortgage products offered, California residents may save significant money choosing from San Diego County Credit Union’s rebates, lender-paid PMI or no-closing-costs options. But nonresidents and those looking for loans that offer flexible requirements and low down payments will need to shop around for another lender.