SECU mortgage review: 5 key details

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In a Nutshell

If you’re an employee of the state of North Carolina or qualify for SECU membership as a family member, SECU mortgage options have competitive rates and terms.
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SECU mortgages at a glance

  • Conventional loans: Yes
  • FHA loans: No
  • VA loans: No
  • Refinancing: Yes
  • Jumbo loan: Yes
  • Adjustable rates: Yes, 5-year
  • Fixed rates: Yes

Qualifying State Employees’ Credit Union members may qualify for various mortgage options with competitive rates. Available loans include first-time homebuyer programs and home loans specifically designed to purchase historic or manufactured homes.


  • Specialty mortgages for historic homes, investment properties and manufactured homes
  • First-time homebuyer program with closing cost assistance
  • Transparent about rates and fees


  • No government-backed loans
  • Loans are only available in select states
  • Membership is limited to certain groups

5 things to know about a SECU mortgage

1. It has several mortgage options

SECU has several mortgage programs, including fixed-rate loans and adjustable-rate mortgages, or ARMs.

SECU also has specialty loan options, including the following:

  • Manufactured home loans — SECU finances single- and double-wide manufactured homes through its ARM, fixed-rate or first-time homebuyer programs with a maximum term of 15 years.
  • Historic home loans — For those looking to buy a historic home, SECU has special financing for homes under the jurisdiction of the North Carolina Historic Preservation Society or a local Historic Preservation Board. Members can finance up to $400,000.

2. Mortgages only in select states

SECU is a nonprofit credit union that primarily serves employees of the state of North Carolina. As a result, its mortgage products are only available in some states. Only qualifying members purchasing properties in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee or Virginia are eligible.

3. No government-backed loans

Though SECU issues fixed-rate and ARM loans, it doesn’t originate government-backed loans like Federal Housing Administration, or FHA, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, or VA, or U.S. Department of Agriculture, or USDA, loans. These loans are popular because they have lower credit score and down payment requirements than most mortgages, so borrowers wanting to take advantage of those programs will have to work with another lender.

4.First-time homebuyer program is available

SECU has a special program for first-time homebuyers. Eligible members can qualify for financing for up to 100% of the purchase price — with no down payment required — up to a maximum of $500,000. Eligible members may qualify for up to $2,000 in closing cost assistance.

The first-time homebuyer loan is only available under SECU’s five-year ARM program. To qualify for the program, borrowers must not have owned a home in the past three years and meet one of the following requirements:

  • Be new employees of North Carolina state agencies or the state public school system
  • Be existing employees relocating to accept a new position with the state of North Carolina

5. Upfront about rates and fees

SECU is upfront about its mortgage rates, fees and terms, clearly listing sample rates for fixed-rate loans and ARMs with different term lengths. Depending on the type of loan and the value of the home you’re purchasing, up to 100% financing is available for primary residences. The origination fee is 1% of the loan amount, capped at a maximum of $2,500.

Who is a SECU mortgage good for?

If you qualify for SECU membership and are looking to buy a home in one of the states where it offers mortgages, it offers a variety of mortgage options.

Depending on the mortgage type of your home, you may qualify for financing up to 100% of the home price, making it a good choice for first-time homebuyers who may not have lots of cash in savings. Plus, SECU doesn’t charge application or credit report fees.

But if you’re looking for a property in another state or want to apply for a government-backed mortgage like an FHA or VA loan, SECU isn’t the right lender for you.

How to apply for a SECU mortgage

To qualify for a SECU mortgage, you must be a credit union member. Some credit unions are open to the general public, allowing anyone to join if they open an account, deposit money or donate to a partnering organization. But SECU is stricter about its eligibility criteria. Membership is limited to the following groups:

  • Employees of the state of North Carolina
  • Federal employees assigned to North Carolina state agencies
  • Employees of the North Carolina public boards of education
  • Members of the North Carolina National Guard
  • Employees of associations formed for the benefit of state of North Carolina employees, such as the State Employees’ Association of North Carolina
  • Employees of agencies or departments that are subject to the North Carolina State Personnel Act
  • Individuals retired from qualifying employers as pensioners or annuitants
  • Spouses of persons who died while in the field of membership and have not remarried
  • Immediate family — meaning a spouse, parent, sibling or child — of a current member
  • Individuals living with an existing member

SECU has no prequalification option, so you can’t check your eligibility or view loan options without undergoing a hard credit inquiry. But once you’re a credit union member, you can start a mortgage application online. You can also apply in person at a local branch or by calling member services.

SECU evaluates mortgage applications based on the following information:

  • Ability to repay — SECU will consider your gross income, monthly debt obligations and debt-to-income ratio, or DTI.
  • Credit history — SECU will review your credit report. If there are any issues on your report, your loan specialist may be able to identify ways to improve your credit.
  • Collateral — SECU evaluates the property’s value relative to the desired loan amount for mortgages.

Not sure if SECU is right for you? Consider these alternatives.

If you want to compare rates with several lenders or your application is denied, keep in mind that you have a window of time where multiple hard credit inquiries by lenders only count as one for your credit scores. You typically have 14 days — though it could be longer depending on the scoring model.

If SECU isn’t right for you, consider these alternatives.

  • Rocket Mortgage: Rocket Mortgage issues loans to borrowers nationwide and has various mortgage options, including FHA and VA loans.
  • Navy Federal Credit Union: For military service members, veterans and their families, Navy Federal has several mortgage options, including home loans with no down payment requirements.

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.