M&T Bank mortgage review: A good variety of home loan options from a regional bank

Man and woman holding their young child together, standing in their new home purchased with an M&T mortgageImage: Man and woman holding their young child together, standing in their new home purchased with an M&T mortgage
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M&T Bank mortgages at a glance

  • Conventional loans: Yes
  • FHA loans: Yes
  • VA loans: Yes
  • Refinancing: Yes
  • Jumbo loan: Yes
  • Adjustable rates: Yes (5/1)
  • Fixed rates: Yes (30-year and 15-year mortgages)

M&T Bank, based in Buffalo, New York, offers a range of mortgage loans, including low down payment options such as FHA loans and VA loans. M&T Bank has its own program that’s designed to help people looking to make a low down payment.

While M&T only has bank branches in certain states, it offers mortgages to customers in other states through its subsidiaries. Not all types of mortgages are offered in every state M&T serves, though — so you’ll need to talk to a loan officer to see if M&T might meet your needs.

Pros

  • Multiple mortgage types
  • Considers lower credit scores for some mortgages
  • Several automatic payment options

Cons

  • Limited information about rates online
  • Not all loan options are available in all states
  • In-person assistance isn’t available in all areas

5 things to know about M&T mortgage loans

1. Offers mortgages with low credit score and low down payment requirements

If you have fair credit or need to make a smaller down payment, you may be concerned about qualifying for a mortgage. But M&T offers several options that may help you achieve your goal of becoming a homeowner.

  • FHA loan: Of the purchase loan options (for buying, not refinancing) listed on M&T Bank’s website, FHA loans are the one with the lowest credit score requirements. The minimum credit score is just 580, and it requires a minimum down payment of just 3.5%.
  • M&T’s Home Starter Mortgage: If you don’t have a lot of cash for a down payment, the Home Starter Mortgage may allow you to get a mortgage with just 3% down. And you may be able to finance 2% of the down payment through a gift, a grant or an unsecured loan from M&T.
  • USDA (rural housing) loan: For people in eligible rural or suburban areas, some USDA loans allow you to finance up to 100% of the home’s price, eliminating the need for a down payment.
  • VA loan: Qualifying applicants can apply for a VA home loan with a 0% down payment.

2. You may be able to save money by choosing a different payment option

M&T offers multiple automatic payment options. Depending on the one you choose, you could save money over the life of your loan. There are four mortgage payment options.

  • Monthly: Choose a payment date within your grace period and M&T will automatically deduct the required amount from your bank account.
  • Semi-monthly: With this option, your monthly payment amount is split into two half-payments and is deducted on the dates of your choosing.
  • Bi-weekly: If you opt for bi-weekly payments, your monthly payment is split into two half-payments and deducted from your account every other week. Over time, bi-weekly payments result in extra principal payments and reduce how much interest accrues.
  • Weekly: Your monthly payments are broken into four payments and deducted from your account on a weekly basis. This payment plan will result in extra principal payments, reducing the amount of interest that accrues and helping you pay off your mortgage faster.

3. In-person assistance isn’t available in every state

For some people, in-person assistance can make navigating the homebuying process more manageable. While M&T operates branches in certain states, it’s not available everywhere.

The M&T Mortgage Corporation operates offices in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia. If you don’t live near one of those areas, you won’t be able to visit a branch or get in-person help and will instead need to contact customer service via phone.

4. You have to submit your personal information to see rates

M&T Bank doesn’t give much information about its rates online. It advertises minimum possible mortgage rates for its most common home loan options, but doesn’t say what the maximum could be. The rates listed are based on the following assumptions:

  • A credit score of 740
  • A mortgage rate lock agreement of 60 days
  • Purchased home is a single-family structure
  • The property will be a primary residence
  • Property is located in New York in Erie County

Mortgage rates will vary based on factors such as your credit scores, property type and location. If you want a more customized rate quote, you have to submit personal information online. You must also undergo a hard credit inquiry, which can affect your credit scores.

5. Loan options aren’t available in every state

Though M&T offers multiple mortgage types, there are some restrictions on availability. For example, M&T’s Home Starter Mortgage program is only available to residents of select counties in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

To find out about availability of particular mortgage types, you’ll have to contact an M&T loan officer.

Who is an M&T mortgage good for?

M&T could be a good choice if you need a low down payment loan, or want in-person assistance and live in a state where the company has branches.

Because of its many mortgage options — including government-backed loans — M&T may be attractive if you’re looking for a home loan and don’t have great credit. But this lender may also be an option if you need to borrow a significant amount of money, as M&T also issues jumbo loans up to $2 million.

How to apply for an M&T mortgage

The M&T mortgage application can be submitted online, and you can apply for a loan on your phone, tablet or computer at any time of day. But customer support is only available during certain hours.

M&T doesn’t offer a prequalification tool, so the only way to view your potential loan options and rates is to submit your information and undergo a credit check.

After submitting your application, M&T will appoint a dedicated loan officer to help you review your potential options and provide you with a list of documents that you’ll need to submit.

In general, you’ll need the following documents when applying for a home loan:

  • Pay stubs
  • W-2 forms
  • Federal tax returns from the past two years
  • Documentation of other sources of income
  • Bank statements
  • Documentation of sources of down payment
  • Driver’s license or other identification
  • Social Security number

Not sure if M&T is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

It’s a good idea to shop around and get loan estimates from multiple lenders to get the best mortgage rate you can. Try to time your quote requests and hard credit inquiries so they all occur during the same two-week window. You typically have 14 days in which credit bureaus will only count the credit checks as one inquiry, limiting the impact to your credit scores.

  • Rocket Mortgage: Through Rocket Mortgage, you can get connected to mortgage brokers and top-rated real estate agents in your community.
  • Better: With Better, the mortgage process is entirely online, and the company doesn’t charge commissions or origination fees.

About the author: Kat Tretina is a personal finance writer with a master’s degree in communication studies from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. Obsessed with her many side hustles, she focuses on helping people pay down their … Read more.