Getting a home loan from AmeriSave Mortgage will most likely begin with a phone call. About 80% of AmeriSave’s business is conducted via a call center, according to Barbara Johnson, the company’s chief operating officer.
Based in Atlanta, AmeriSave was started with a “technology mindset” in 2002, Johnson says. How does that technology compare in the “Push button, get mortgage” world we now live in?
Here’s what we found.
AT A GLANCE
- Serves 48 states and D.C. (not available in Iowa and New York)
- Minimum credit score of 600 for FHA loans, 620 for VA and conventional loans
- Fees shown with mortgage rates on the home page are above the national average
AmeriSave home loan products
AmeriSave offers purchase and refinance loans, as well as mortgages backed by the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Agriculture. It does not offer any second mortgage products, such as home equity loans or home equity lines of credit. The lender also doesn’t make construction loans or offer mortgages for manufactured housing.
Average loan amounts run “slightly north of $250,000,” Johnson says. And most AmeriSave customers have done the home loan thing before — about 80% of its business is mortgage refinancing.
Clicking on “Today’s Customer Surveys” shows page after page of what look to be five-star reviews. Certainly, not every loan experience can be that positive.
“We post on our website the positive reviews,” Johnson says. So, it’s not every one of today’s customer reviews; still, the number of favorable daily reviews seems impressive. In fact, AmeriSave says 94% of customers would recommend the lender to their friends and family.
AmeriSave fees and mortgage rates
“Our business model is to be very competitively priced. We are also very transparent [about pricing] on our website,” Johnson says. That’s true. On the day we checked AmeriSave’s rates, a conventional 30-year fixed mortgage was showing a competitive interest rate; however, the lender fee on the loan totaled more than 3 points. A point is 1% of the loan amount.
The more discount points you pay, the lower your interest rate. AmeriSave’s quoted 3-plus points is a hefty fee. The typical points on a 30-year loan over the past year have been about a half a point, according to Freddie Mac.
Of course, this is not to say that AmeriSave will charge 3 points on every loan. But the sample rates on their home page are reflecting a significant “buy-down” of interest rates, based on the points a borrower would have to pay to earn those rates.
But Johnson says AmeriSave is indeed competitive. “For direct-to-the-consumer [loans], we do not charge any fees like an origination fee or application fee or anything like that. What comes to us is really based upon rate and discount points or rate and credit [score],” she tells NerdWallet.
If a customer locks in a rate with AmeriSave and then finds a better rate elsewhere, the company will either match that rate or give the customer $1,000, Johnson says.
The AmeriSave mortgage process
The AmeriSave website is simple and easy to navigate. However, only about 20% of AmeriSave customers start the loan process online, Johnson says. Most will complete the mortgage journey on the phone with an AmeriSave rep.
If you are interested in starting the loan process online, AmeriSave’s website seems quite functional. There is an online application — which takes a hard credit pull — for preapproval. By signing in, a user will have access to an online portal for document upload, e-signature and to check the status of their application. AmeriSave also allows automatic validation of banking assets and employment information.
Each applicant is assigned a dedicated, licensed loan originator, as well as a loan processor.
The lender says that recent data show loans have closed in an average of 33 days from rate lock to funding.
What AmeriSave does best
- Offers rewards of $250-$4,500 on home purchases or sales completed through a network of affiliated real estate agents
- Loan closings can be held in your home or at a local office of your choice
Where AmeriSave falls short
- Doesn’t offer home equity loans or HELOCs
More from NerdWallet
Updated Aug. 18, 2017NerdWallet’s star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services that lenders offer to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The six key areas we evaluated include the loan types and loan products offered, online capabilities, online mortgage rate information, customer service and the number of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a percentage of loans issued. We also awarded lenders up to one bonus star for a unique program or borrower focus that set them apart from other lenders. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.