USAA Bank mortgage review
VA loans for current and former military members and their families.
finder.com’s rating: 3.5 / 5.0
USAA serves veterans, military members and their families with VA loans, VA jumbo loans and VA refinance loans. With nationwide availability and no origination fee, USAA can be a good option for eligible customers. But customer reviews have fallen in the last few years.
Minimum credit score
Available in all states
Our take on USAA Bank
USAA mortgages are a good option for military members, veterans and their families who want to take advantage of VA-backed mortgages and the key benefits they offer over conventional mortgages. And unlike many lenders that offer VA loans, USAA steers away from many of the common fees associated with buying a home, including origination, underwriting and application fees.
But the company seems to be struggling to please its customer base. Across most of the major review sites, customers paint a negative picture of doing business with USAA.
That said, there’s no harm in calling and speaking with a USAA mortgage specialist as you shop around and compare mortgage lenders — your experience might be different from other customers. For what it’s worth, I was a USAA member for 14 years and never had a poor experience with USAA customer service.
The number one requirement to qualify for a mortgage with USAA is membership in the organization. To join USAA, you must be:
- Actively serving in the US Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, National Guard or Reserves.
- Former military who has retired or separated from the US military with an honorable discharge.
- Family, including widows, widowers and un-remarried former spouses of USAA members who had USAA auto or property insurance while married and individuals whose parents have or had USAA auto or property insurance.
- Cadets or midshipmen at US service academies, in advanced ROTC or on ROTC scholarship, plus officer candidates within 24 months of commissioning.
Financial factors that USAA considers when determining if you qualify for a loan include your income and your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). Mortgages with USAA also have a $50,000 minimum loan amount.
When you apply for a mortgage with USAA, be prepared to supply:
- Bank statements.
- Tax returns.
- Income statements, such as pay stubs or award letters.
- Other supporting documents as requested.
Costs and fees
USAA doesn’t charge origination, underwriting, documentation or application fees. It also doesn’t charge prepayment penalties, meaning that you can pay off your loan early without any fines or fees.
Although USAA doesn’t charge any of these fees, most borrowers using a VA loan are required to pay a one-time VA funding fee. The amount of the funding fee depends on your loan amount and other factors but is typically between 1.4% to 3.60%. Specific eligible veterans can have the entire VA funding fee waived.
How to apply for a mortgage with USAA
Follow these steps to apply for a mortgage with USAA.
- Get preapproved in minutes. Tell USAA about your finances and where you want to move. They’ll perform a hard credit pull to reduce the chance of getting denied later, and you’ll get a preapproval letter that might help with seller negotiations.
- Apply for your mortgage. Once you find a home, your loan officer will help you complete a mortgage application. You’ll need income statements, current bank statements and other supporting documents.
- Wait for approval. USAA takes two to three weeks to confirm required documents and a clear title for your home, sending status updates of your application’s progress.
- Get the keys to your new home. When your paperwork is approved, you’re ready to close. Bring along your government-issued ID and a cashier’s check for your closing costs and down payment.
What types of mortgages can I get through USAA?
Refinancing options available through USAA
USAA offers two VA loan refinancing options.
- VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance loan (IRRRL). This is a streamlined program with less paperwork and no appraisal, origination, title or VA funding fees.
- VA cash-out refinance loan. This program allows you to replace your current mortgage with one that is larger than what you owe, so you can access your equity as cash. This option isn’t available in Texas.
USAA reviews and complaints
|Customer reviews verified as of
|14 June 2022
Customers largely complained of slow customer response times, poor communication and transparency and issues when filing claims regarding insurance policies. It’s also worth noting that USAA has closed 2,155 customer complaints in the past three years.
On Trustpilot, customers rated USAA 1.3 out of 5 stars with 1,412 reviews. Some customers praised its excellent customer service and low fees. However, most customer reviews reported otherwise.
A majority of dissatisfied customers describe a poor customer service experience, slow processes and issues with insurance claims. These reviews are for USAA as a whole and not necessarily its mortgage products.
For unfiltered feedback, check out USAA’s Member Community online. USAA responds to most inquiries on the forum, even forwarding negative reviews to more senior departments to sort out any issues.
USAA pros and cons
Consider this lender’s strengths and weaknesses to decide if it’s right for you.
- No origination fee. Unlike many mortgage lenders, USAA doesn’t charge customers any sort of loan origination fee.
- Specialized help for military members. USAA offers VA loans, insurance, investments and bank accounts to qualifying military members, veterans and family.
- Simplified mortgage process. A streamlined process makes homebuying less stressful.
- Poor customer ratings. Though not every customer has had a negative experience doing business with USAA, reviews show customers are largely dissatisfied with the company.
What is USAA?
Founded in 1922 in San Antonio, Texas, USAA offers loans and mortgages, banking products, investments and insurance to more than 13 million former and current military members and their families.
In 2020, USAA originated the second-highest total of VA-purchase home loans, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Alternatives to USAA
While it steers away from many common lender fees, USAA’s mortgage products lag behind compared to other mortgage lenders and customers are largely dissatisfied.
If you’re set on getting a VA loan, and reputation and customer sentiment are top priority, Navy Federal Credit Union’s reviews are overwhelmingly positive. Most customers seem to have had a good experience working with the lender.
If instead you want more variety on the type of home loans offered, Veterans United might be a good option. It offers a good selection of home loans, and it’s highly rated, too.
Alternatively, compare top lenders 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.
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