Navy Federal Credit Union mortgage review: A veteran-oriented lender

Smiling couple in front of their new home, financed by Navy Federal Credit UnionImage: Smiling couple in front of their new home, financed by Navy Federal Credit Union
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Navy Federal Credit Union mortgage loans at a glance

  • Conventional loans: Yes
  • FHA loans: No
  • VA loans: Yes
  • Refinancing: Yes
  • Jumbo loans: Yes
  • Adjustable rates: Yes
  • Fixed rates: Yes

Navy Federal Credit Union was founded in 1933 by employees of the Navy who wanted to help themselves and their co-workers strengthen their finances. Today, the credit union serves more than 10 million members. Navy Federal is a full-service credit union that offers deposit accounts, retirement savings, credit cards and a variety loan options, including mortgages. It has more than 340 branches around the world, but you have to meet its membership requirements to join.

Pros

  • VA loan expertise
  • Rate match guarantee
  • No down payment loans available

Cons

  • Limited membership availability
  • No FHA or USDA loans

5 things to know about Navy Federal mortgage loans

1. VA loan expertise

Navy Federal Credit Union specializes in serving current and former military members, bringing a certain level of expertise when it comes to VA loans and other related benefits available to veterans. Eligible borrowers may find the VA loan borrowing process smoother with NFCU than a lender with less VA loan experience.

2. Rate match guarantee

Navy Federal has a rate match guarantee, meaning it’ll match a better rate offered by another lender. And if it doesn’t match the rate, it’ll give you $1,000. This offer is only available for a first mortgage purchase or refinance, and some loan products may not qualify.

3. No down payment loans available

Navy Federal offers several mortgage options that don’t require a down payment or private mortgage insurance. These include VA mortgages, Military Choice loans (which don’t require a down payment or PMI and are available to current and former service members who have exhausted their VA loan benefits), and Homebuyers Choice loans (available to other qualified borrowers with no down payment and no PMI).

4. Limited membership availability

Like many credit unions, Navy Federal limits membership to individuals of a certain community. To become a member of Navy Federal and qualify for a mortgage, you’ll need to fall into one of the following groups:

  • Active duty or former military members
  • Family members of current and former military members
  • Department of Defense civilian personnel
  • Department of Defense retirees

5. No FHA or USDA loans

Though Navy Federal offers VA loans, it doesn’t offer other specialty government loans like those backed by the Federal Housing Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Borrowers who don’t qualify for a VA loan and want to take advantage of one of these government loans will have to look elsewhere.

Who is a Navy Federal mortgage good for?

Because of its membership requirements, Navy Federal Credit Union is a good option for current and former service members, current and former Department of Defense employees, and family members of eligible individuals.

Navy Federal is also a good option for someone looking for a loan with no down payment. VA loans and Navy Federal’s Military Choice loans are both available to eligible service members and veterans. But nonmilitary borrowers can get some of the same perks with Navy Federal’s Homebuyers Choice loan. The one downside of these loan options is that, with the exception of the VA loan, Navy Federal’s no down payment loans may have higher starting interest rates than its other mortgages.

Finally, Navy Federal is a good option for borrowers who want the convenience of robust digital tools with the personal touch that comes with in-person banking. Navy Federal has more than 340 branches around the world, and it has an easy-to-navigate website and digital tools. The website also includes all the information you’ll want when shopping for a loan, including current interest rates and payment calculators.

How to apply with Navy Federal

Navy Federal’s HomeSquad tool allows you to do the entire mortgage process online. You can apply online, track the status of your loan application and get personalized guidance from a team of Navy Federal loan professionals. And once you close on your loan, HomeSquad will be your mortgage hub where you can pay your bill, view payment history, request forbearance, and more.

First, Navy Federal allows you to apply for preapproval for a loan based on your credit score, income, and other financial information. Your preapproval letter will be good for between 30 and 90 days as you shop for a home.

Once you find your home, you can contact your home loan adviser and start the verification process by providing additional information and documentation. You can upload all of the necessary info to HomeSquad, where you can track your loan status.

Keep in mind that Navy Federal offers several mortgage options, and not all borrowers will be eligible for all of the loans. If you aren’t sure which loan you qualify for or best fits your financial situation, you can visit the guide on the credit union’s website or call Navy Federal to speak with a mortgage specialist.

Not sure if Navy Federal Credit Union is for you? Consider these alternatives.

When you’re shopping for a mortgage, it might be in your best interests to shop around to make sure you’re getting the best rate. Keep in mind that you have a window of time — typically 14 days — where multiple credit inquiries by lenders for the same type of loan will count as just one. Here are a couple of other lenders to consider.

  • Bank of America: Check out Bank of America for loan options including adjustable-rate mortgages and home equity loans. This lender also offers full-service banking.
  • Rocket Mortgage: Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans provides a variety of mortgage options and is transparent about its current mortgage rates.

About the author: Erin Gobler is a freelance personal finance writer based in Madison, Wisconsin. Erin studied journalism and political science at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and began writing full-time after a seven-year caree… Read more.