Branch Banking & Trust Co. dates back to the Civil War era, but it wasn’t until 1923 that its mortgage division got started. Although the bank’s 2,249 financial centers serve people primarily in the Southeast, North Carolina-based BB&T is a big contender in the mortgage industry.
Let’s see how BB&T measures up as a mortgage lender.
AT A GLANCE
- Branch locations in 15 states plus the District of Columbia.
- The eighth-largest financial institution in the U.S., according to the FDIC’s Deposit Market Share data.
- Offers fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages for purchase and refinance, jumbo, construction, VA, low down payment and home equity loans.
Insights from an analyst
Christopher Whalen, senior managing director and head of research at Kroll Bond Rating Agency in New York, says BB&T is similar to other bank mortgage lenders in that most of its lending is for prime mortgages, which are loans that come with higher qualification limits.
“If you have an account there for business, they’re going to do a loan for you and they’ll probably keep it,” Whalen says.
While it’s true that BB&T will likely continue servicing loans that it originates, the company does move the majority of those loans off of its balance sheet, meaning it sells loans to housing finance agencies or banks, while retaining most servicing rights, according to Brian Davis, director of communications at BB&T.
Whalen says it’s a better business model for banks to keep the loans they make because it’s easier to service a loan in the same legal jurisdiction. If you have trouble making payments on the loan, you’ll be able to sit down with the lender and modify the loan if possible. “It’s a win-win for both the lender and the borrower,” Whalen says.
BB&T mortgage process
You can start the mortgage process with BB&T either by phone, in person or online. If you want to apply online, you’ll have to create an account. Once you have an account, you’ll be able to take advantage of a full suite of online capabilities, from application status checks to submitting documentation in BB&T’s Mortgage Status and Document Management Center.
Before you submit your application, you can speak with a mortgage loan professional and go over loan details and requirements. Once you’ve submitted your application, this person will ask for documentation that validates your income, assets and liabilities. And once you’ve submitted all required documentation, it’s a matter of reviewing your loan estimate, moving through underwriting, and finally the closing stage.
BB&T mortgage products
BB&T offers 10-, 15-, 20- and 30-year fixed-rate mortgages, and 3/1, 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 adjustable-rate mortgages. VA loans are available for qualifying borrowers as well.
BB&T Home Mortgage goes beyond traditional purchase mortgages and into renovation and construction loans. A construction-to-permanent loan is an option if you’re building your home. This loan combines mortgage and construction financing into one loan, and when your home is complete, your construction financing switches to a permanent mortgage at a fixed or adjustable rate.
If you want to fix up your current home, a construction-to-permanent renovation loan is another option. The payments you make during the construction period with both the new construction and renovation loans will go toward the interest only.
BB&T’s home equity loan option comes with a fixed interest rate, and the company pays for your home appraisal. The home equity line of credit option comes with a variable or a fixed rate. With the fixed option, you can lock in a rate, a term and a payment amount. For now, BB&T is paying the appraisal fee, but the company says that is due to change soon. There’s no origination fee with the HELOC option. Other fees are associated with both of these loans and can vary by state.
Proceed with caution if you decide — as suggested on BB&T’s website — to use your home as collateral for debt consolidation, education or purchasing a recreational vehicle. Many financial advisors recommend strongly against these types of purchases with home equity funding because if you have trouble making payments, you could lose your home. They recommend tapping into your home’s equity only for things that will increase your home’s value, like remodeling projects.
Low down payment options
BB&T has a handful of low down payment mortgage options. Its Home Ownership Meant for Everyone Now loan is geared toward low- and middle-income borrowers, and the Community Homeownership Incentive Program accepts borrowers with both traditional credit histories and nontraditional credit histories. Nontraditional credit histories can include rent, insurance and utility payments. If you apply for the HOME Now loan, you’ll be required to take a home buyer education course.
Plenty of educational material is available on the BB&T mortgage website, such as articles listing reasons to refinance and where to find down payment assistance.
What BB&T does best
- Considers alternate credit history on certain loans.
- Offers construction loans.
- Offers low down payment programs.
Where BB&T falls short
- BB&T Home Mortgage isn’t available nationwide.
- Creating an account is mandatory if you want to apply online.
- Offers some questionable advice for use of HELOC proceeds.
Customer satisfaction research firm J.D. Power gives BB&T a score of 832 out of 1,000, just below the average of 834 and putting the company in the middle of the top 18 ranked lenders. On its Power Circle Ratings scale, J.D. Power gives BB&T three out of five circles, which rounds out to “about average.” Rating factors include overall satisfaction, billing and payment, mortgage fees and communications.
Michael Burge is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.NerdWallet’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.