Wells Fargo Mortgage Pros and Cons
- Current rates clearly posted
- Massive branch network and nationwide availability
- Offers several loan products and programs
- Competitive rates and closing costs
- Currently undergoing regulatory actions to address scandals
- Overcoming negative reviews and below-average customer satisfaction scores
- HELOC applications suspended during Covid-19
- Website is less intuitive than other lenders
Wells Fargo Mortgage Overview
As one of the largest banks in the United States, Wells Fargo boasts a product line to match. This lender originates mortgages nationwide online and over the phone. Customers can also visit one of its 5,000 retail offices in 36 states.
Though Wells Fargo’s website is less intuitive than some of its competitors, it does offer several in-depth mortgage calculators, educational materials, and courses for first-time homebuyers. You can request a preapproval letter online, and highly qualified borrowers can get a PriorityBuyer letter nearly instantly.
When you’re ready, there’s a straightforward mortgage application process awaiting you online. You can pause anytime and return when you’re ready. If you have any questions, loan officers are standing by to assist you.
Borrowers can also use Wells Fargo’s website to pull information straight from their Wells Fargo accounts or to link accounts from other institutions. Plus, you can track your progress, upload documents, and sign some disclosures online.
According to the lender, the time between your application and closing ranges from 30-90 days depending on your loan, qualifications, property, and paperwork submission. Preapproval times may also vary based on your situation.
What Types of Mortgages Does Wells Fargo Offer?
Not surprisingly, this big box lender boasts an enormous mortgage lineup. In addition to several specialty and proprietary loans, Wells Fargo originates:
Unfortunately, while Wells Fargo does have home equity lines of credit, the website notes that the lender is “temporarily suspending” new HELOC applications due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, borrowers are redirected to personal loans or cash-out refinances.
Wells Fargo Mortgage Qualification Requirements
Wells Fargo doesn’t list its eligibility requirements online, though it’s safe to presume you need at least a 620-credit score to qualify.
The lender does note that it’s willing to accept alternative credit data if your credit history is sparse. And if your application is bolstered by bigger savings or a larger down payment, Wells Fargo may work with you even if you’re lacking elsewhere.
Wells Fargo Mortgage Rates and Fees
Wells Fargo boasts competitive interest rates and closing costs to rival other big names in the mortgage industry. You can view daily sample purchase and refinance rates by clicking the mortgage option under its “Loans and Credit” drop-down menu. Though the rates shown may use discount points, Wells Fargo often includes fewer than other lenders.
When it comes to fees, Wells Fargo doesn’t charge for mortgage originations. But its mortgage calculators indicate a number of other fees you may pay by location, such as:
- State and local fees
- Processing fees
- Tax service fees
- Recording fees
- Appraisal fees
- Credit report fees
- Title costs
Additionally, late payments may come with a fee of their own.
Refinancing Mortgages with Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo originates both rate-and-term and cash-out refinancing. You may also qualify for FHA Streamline and VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) refinances. As with its purchase mortgages, you can view sample rates online.
Wells Fargo Mortgage Features and Benefits
Digital Mortgage Experience
Wells Fargo’s online services look and feel somewhat outdated compared to its competitors. That said, the application process is straightforward, and you can connect with a loan officer in minutes if you have questions. Plus, you can request a preapproval letter, link your other financial accounts, and sign documents online.
You can also use the lender’s in-depth mortgage calculator to get a customized estimate for your rate, monthly payment, and closing costs. All you need is some basic details about your home loan, financial profile, and property information.
And if you’re a first-time homebuyer, the My FirstHome digital education module can help you determine if you’re ready to stop renting.
With Wells Fargo’s yourLoanTracker tool, their online service will keep you in the loop about your loan application. From approvals to alerts about new disclosures, you don’t have to worry about contacting a mortgage consultant to receive updates.
Plenty of Specialized Products and Programs
Borrowers in some circumstances may qualify for one of Wells Fargo’s specialized programs.
For instance, under the yourFirst mortgage program, first-time and low-to-moderate income homebuyers can get a loan with just 3% down. Borrowers can also receive a $750 credit toward their closing costs upon completion of a homebuyer education course.
There’s also the Union Plus product designed just for active and retired union members. Qualifying borrowers may be eligible for interest-free loans, grants to cover payments in incidences of disability, strike, or job loss, and up to $500 on a My Mortgage Gift card.
If you have trouble fronting the funds for a down payment, Wells Fargo has you covered there, too. The lender partners with several state and local down payment assistance programs to help you get the money you need.
Plus, its “Dream. Plan. Home.” program provides up to $5,000 toward your closing costs. And the NeighborhoodLIFT program offers forgivable, interest-free loans to low- and moderate-income borrowers. (Conditions apply.)
Extended Rate Lock Periods
Wells Fargo offers some of the longest rate lock periods in the business, depending on your loan, with terms ranging anywhere from 45 to 720 days.
Longer rate locks are typically reserved for borrowers who are building a home or buying a property that requires board approval. And if your property isn’t ready by the time the lock expires, Wells Fargo may extend it for free.
Wells Fargo Drawbacks
History of Regulatory Action
Unfortunately, Wells Fargo achieved infamy after reports emerged the lender illicitly opening millions of fake deposit accounts, credit cards, and even insurance policies without customer consent. Wells Fargo also charged improper mortgage fees and blamed a “computer glitch” for foreclosing on consumers in good standing.
During the pandemic, around 1,600 borrowers in the U.S. accused Wells Fargo of forcing them into mortgage forbearance. In some cases, this disrupted customers’ ability to pursue mortgage refinances or bankruptcy.
As a result of these activities, a multi-state investigation led to hundreds of millions of dollars in fines and a reshuffling of corporate executives. The lender also remains under the thumb of several regulatory agencies to this day.
Two in particular – the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency – recently warned that they may bring new sanctions due to dissatisfaction with the bank’s untimely responses.
In 2020, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau received nearly 1,850 mortgage-related complaints about Wells Fargo. Many involved customer concerns about applying or paying for their loan, incorrect reporting, and problems with credit reporting agency investigations.
How Does Wells Fargo Compare to Other Mortgage Lenders?
#1. Wells Fargo Mortgage vs. Rocket Mortgage
Rocket Mortgage is a good option for homebuyers who need a variety of loan options, flexible terms, and an online lending experience.
This web-based company originates loans nationwide and can run your mortgage from application to close entirely online. However, if you need in-person customer service or prefer to rate shop without a hard credit check, this lender isn’t for you.
>> More: Rocket Mortgage Review
#2. Better Mortgage vs. Wells Fargo Mortgage
Better.com is an online-only lender that claims to save borrowers an average of $3,000 due to its lack of mandatory lender fees.
This originator offers a user-friendly, tech-based experienced, rate transparency, and knowledgeable loan experts who don’t work on commission. However, Better.com isn’t available in every state, and the lender is missing both VA and USDA loans from its menu.
>> More: Better Mortgage Review
#3. Wells Fargo Mortgage vs. Chase Bank Mortgage
Chase Bank is an ideal lender if you want a hybrid online and in-person mortgage experience.
The lender boasts plenty of loan options, a full suite of banking and financial products, and even investment services. Eligible borrowers can close in as few as 21 days and receive up to $5,000 toward your closing costs – and if you don’t close on time, you’ll get $2,500 cashback.
>> More: Chase Bank Mortgage
#4. Guild Mortgage vs. Wells Fargo Mortgage
Guild Mortgage is another hybrid lender that offers a broad variety of mortgages. The lender accepts alternative forms of credit for borrowers with unusual circumstances and gives you the option of closing either online or in person.
Unfortunately, Guild isn’t available nationwide and doesn’t offer construction loans, home equity loans, or HELOCs.
>> More: Guild Mortgage Review
Wells Fargo Mortgage FAQs
Is Wells Fargo a Good Choice for Mortgages?
Wells Fargo is a good choice for borrowers who prefer a national lender with a range of proprietary, conventional, and government-backed mortgage products.
How Do Wells Fargo Mortgage Rates Compare to the National Average?
Wells Fargo rates are roughly competitive with to slightly more expensive than the national average. But your exact rate depends on your credit and financial situation.
Does Wells Fargo Offer Mortgage Refinance?
Wells Fargo offers rate-and-term, cash-out, FHA Streamline, and VA IRRRL refinances.
>> More: How to Refinance Your Mortgage
What Credit Score Do You Need for a Wells Fargo Mortgage?
Wells Fargo doesn’t list its credit score requirements, though you most likely need a 620 for most loans. The mortgage lender notes that it does accept alternative credit data such as utility bills and rental payments to buff your credit history.
Does Wells Fargo Charge a Mortgage Origination Fee?
Wells Fargo doesn’t charge an origination fee. But you may have to pay a variety of other costs, such as processing fees, state and local fees, recording fees, appraisal fees, and title costs.
Bottom Line: Wells Fargo Mortgage Review
Wells Fargo is a staple in American finance, though recent actions and regulatory scrutiny leave something to be desired. Still, the lender’s rates are competitive with other big banks and mortgage lenders. And with a variety of proprietary loan programs to choose from, you’ll likely find something that meets your needs.