Wells Fargo mortgage review
Offers home loans for first-time homebuyers, union members or military service members — but its legal problems are concerning.
finder.com’s rating: 3.3 / 5.0
If you’re looking to buy your first home, refinance or fund a home improvement, this big-bank lender offers choices and plenty of flexibility. But it’s also been caught up in several major scandals, and customers are mostly unimpressed.
Minimum credit score
Minimum down payment (Conventional)
Available in all states
|Loan products offered||Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Refinance|
|Minimum credit score||Conventional: 600|
|Minimum down payment (Conventional)||3%|
|State availability||Available in all states|
Our take on Wells Fargo mortgages
There’s certainly an appeal with choosing an established bank and mortgage lender like Wells Fargo for your mortgage. These big lenders usually provide nationwide service and offer just about every type of mortgage product out there.
With Wells Fargo, you can get an online estimate of the costs of different mortgage products. And you have the option to apply online or visit a local mortgage consultant if you prefer to apply in person.
But Wells Fargo has also been involved in many lawsuits in recent years, and customers are largely dissatisfied with the company. While this doesn’t mean you’ll have a negative experience, it’s important to keep in mind.
If you’re still unsure if a mortgage with Wells Fargo is right for you, the best thing to do is shop around and compare mortgage lenders.
Wells Fargo requirements
Some factors that Wells Fargo will consider when determining whether or not you qualify are:
- Your credit score
- Debt-to-income ratio
- How well you’ve managed prior credit
- Credit history length
To find out if you might qualify, go to Wells Fargo’s mortgage loan page and choose Get Started. From there, fill out your personal and financial information to have a mortgage consultant contact you to prequalify for a mortgage.
Before beginning the mortgage application process, have the following documentation handy:
- Primary and secondary income amounts and sources
- Government-issued photo ID
- Name, addresses and phone numbers of all employers for the past two years
- Values of bank, retirement, investment and other asset accounts
- Monthly debt obligations
- Credit explanation letter for late payments, collections, judgments or other derogatory items in your credit history, if any
- Source of funds documentation for any large deposits on asset or bank statements
- Judicial decree or court order for each obligation due to legal action
- Bankruptcy discharge papers for any bankruptcies in credit history
- Payment history for public utilities, phone, cable TV, car insurance and other expenses
- Pay stubs covering the past 30 days
- W-2s for the past two years
- Federal tax returns for the past two years
- Written explanation if employed less than two years or employment gap exists within the past two years
Costs and fees
The exact costs and fees associated with securing a mortgage through Wells Fargo will vary by location and the type of home loan product you choose. In general, expect to pay a processing fee, appraisal fees, title charges and state taxes, to name a few.
Get an idea of what a mortgage with Wells Fargo will cost with its online mortgage calculator. This allows you to check rates and compare loans and includes a breakdown of estimated costs, including lender fees, state and local fees and third-party fees. Third-party fees include things like appraisal fees, credit report fees and title fees.
For many of its mortgage products, Wells Fargo charges a processing fee of $1,225. But again, this amount will vary depending on the type of mortgage product and the property location. Ask your home loan consultant for the specific fees associated with your mortgage, and keep an eye out for additional fees in your loan documentation.
How to apply for a mortgage with Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo allows you to complete the mortgage application process entirely online. Alternatively, call and speak with a mortgage consultant or visit a Wells Fargo Home Mortgage location to complete your application in person.
To apply online for a home loan with Wells Fargo:
- Go to the Wells Fargo website. Under the Personal tab, select Loans and Credit and then Mortgage Loans.
- Scroll down and select Apply Now.
- Sign in with your username and password if you already have a Wells Fargo account. Otherwise, select No and then hit Continue.
- Work through the application’s questions, upload any relevant documents, then review and submit your application. Be prepared to provide personal information, as well as information about assets, income and any real estate you own, if any.
The timeline from application to approval is generally 30 to 90 days.
What types of mortgages can I get through Wells Fargo?
Refinance options available through Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo only advertises a cash-out refinance option, which allows you to replace your current mortgage with a loan for a larger amount and then take the difference as cash. But the larger banks don’t always list every loan product on their websites. So, if you’re interested in refinancing your ARM to a fixed-rate loan or want to refinance to change your interest rate or loan term, contact one of Wells Fargo’s loan specialists to see what’s available to you.
Other specialty loans
- New construction. Wells Fargo can help you build a new home and lock down interest rates with the Builder Best Extended Rate Lock program.
- Low down payment loans. Qualified borrowers can put as little as 3% down on a conventional loan if they’re willing to pay mortgage insurance.
- Union Plus. Qualifying active and retired union members can get a Union Plus mortgage, which offers interest-free mortgage assistance for an unexpected loss of income. Wells Fargo is also offering verified union members a $500 credit for new home purchases and a $300 credit for refinanced mortgages.
- Home equity line of credit (HELOC). Wells Fargo normally offers a HELOC option, but placed the program temporarily on hold because of the pandemic. There’s currently no indication when the bank will open to new applications or what its HELOC program will look like when it does.
Alternatives to Wells Fargo mortgage
Working with a large bank like Wells Fargo has its perks, including nationwide service and the ability to apply both online and in person. But there are several places it falls short, and it doesn’t make sense for everyone.
Take its $1,225 processing fee, for example. With a down payment and all the different third-party fees you’re on the hook for paying upon closing, you might want to consider a lender that doesn’t charge lender fees, like Better.
Maybe you’d simply prefer not having to comb through all the different lenders individually to find the one that’s right for you. If that’s the case, opt for an online marketplace that lets you compare multiple lenders and interest rates all in one place, like Credible.
Also, for conventional loans, compare these lenders and lender marketplaces by the type of home loan you’re searching for, state availability and minimum credit score. Select See rates to provide the company with basic property and financial details for personalized rates.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
Wells Fargo reviews and complaints
As of June 2022, Trustpilot gives Wells Fargo a rating of 1.3 out of 5 stars based on 735 ratings. Over 85% of customers rated Wells Fargo as “Bad.”
On the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Wells Fargo is rated 1.07 out of 5 stars based on 566 customer reviews. Wells Fargo isn’t BBB-accredited and has earned an F score from the watch group both for its failure to answer customer complaints and for the government actions taken against the bank. The BBB has recorded over 4,400 closed complaints in the last three years.
Overall reviews for this lender are mixed but trend toward negative. First-time homebuyers recommend Wells Fargo for its thorough guidance through the home loan process. Other borrowers praise its mortgage specialists for their professionalism and helpful advice over the phone.
The most common complaints are:
- Customer service’s slow response time.
- Incorrect guidance during the application process.
- Excessive documents needed to assess loan applications.
Others criticize deceptive mortgage practices, using the company’s numerous lawsuits as evidence.
Wells Fargo pros and cons
Compare the benefits and drawbacks of a mortgage with Wells Fargo.
- Low down payment. Get a conventional fixed-rate mortgage with a down payment as low as 3%.
- Gift funds. Use gift funds and down payment assistance programs.
- Straightforward application process. Apply for a mortgage and complete the process entirely online.
- Rates published online. View current mortgage and refinance rates online, updated daily.
- Fees. You won’t know the fees associated with your loan up front.
- Slow customer service. Some customers complain of slow response times.
- Numerous lawsuits. Wells Fargo has been at the center of many high-profile lawsuits over the years.
What is Wells Fargo
Founded in 1852, Wells Fargo is one of the country’s largest banks, offering bank accounts, investment accounts, mortgages, personal loans and financial products for small and large businesses.
But the company’s business practices have instigated many major scandals over the years.
- In 2016, Wells Fargo was fined $100 million for allegedly opening deposit and credit card accounts in consumers’ names without their permission.
- Also in 2016, Wells Fargo was fined $20 million for violating the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Included in the allegations are that the bank didn’t disclose that customers were active-duty military to the courts when repossessing their cars.
- In 2018, Wells Fargo was fined $1 billion for several offenses, including unfairly charging mortgage applicants for rate lock fees when it was the bank’s fault the loans didn’t close before the expiration date.
- Also in 2018, Wells Fargo was fined $500 million for not having an effective risk management plan to protect consumers if it went bankrupt.
- In a separate case in 2018, Wells Fargo was fined $2.09 billion for allegedly misrepresenting mortgage loans and contributing to the 2008 financial crisis.
- In 2020, Wells Fargo settled for $20 million with the Maryland Attorney General for misleading investors in its issuance of residential mortgage-backed securities between 2005 and 2009.
- Also in 2020, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $3 billion for pressuring employees to meet unrealistic sales goals that led thousands of employees to provide millions of accounts and products to customers under false pretenses or without consent.
And there are more scandals and lawsuits that we don’t cover here. According to Good Jobs First’s violation tracker, Wells Fargo has paid over $21 billion in fines since 2000.