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Golden 1 Credit Union Mortgage Review 2019

Dec. 17, 2018
Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
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Founded in 1933 and headquartered in Sacramento, Golden 1 Credit Union is a homegrown California lender offering mortgage products to borrowers throughout the state.

As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, Golden 1 is owned by its members, not shareholders. This allows the credit union to offer benefits like free checking and lower interest rates, says Michael Popp, vice president of home loans at Golden 1 Credit Union.

Though it operates only in California, Golden 1 is hardly a small-time lender. With almost a million members and plans to fund over $800 million in mortgages in 2018, it’s one of the largest credit unions in the nation.

Here’s a closer look at the home loans and mortgage services Golden 1 Credit Union offers.

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  • Fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages; FHA loans; jumbo and home equity-based loans
  • 620 minimum credit score for most loans (640 for FHA)
  • Free rate locks for up to 60 days

Compare Golden 1 with other lenders.

Golden 1 Credit Union mortgage products

Golden 1 Credit Union has a full menu of purchase and refinance mortgages, including 15- or 30-year fixed-rate loans and 5-, 7-, or 10-year adjustable-rate mortgages.

The credit union also offers jumbo loans up to $2 million, home equity loans and home equity lines of credit. Golden 1 recently added FHA loans to its lineup. It doesn’t offer VA or USDA loans at this time.

» MORE: Comparing adjustable rate and fixed rate mortgages

Golden 1 Credit Union mortgage rates and fees

Current rates and fees for Golden 1 home loans are available on its Mortgage Center Home page. Click “Personalized Quote” and answer a few questions to see APR, discount points, closing fees and estimated monthly payment for the mortgages that match your needs.

Click “view” to see more details on any quote result, like a breakdown of Golden 1 Credit Union’s origination charges — a flat $475 for processing and $375 for underwriting — and discount point prices.

You also can expand the view to see fee descriptions and information on fees for third-party services like appraisal, credit report, flood certification and tax service, making it easy to estimate total costs. Additional tabs display tax estimates and disclosures.

» MORE:  What you need to know about mortgage discount points

How the Golden 1 mortgage process works

Most Golden 1 borrowers begin the mortgage process by meeting with a home loan advisor or calling a local branch, though around 30% start online, Popp says.

The online application form asks about your finances, employment and the property you want to buy. According to Golden 1, it should take less than 20 minutes to apply online. After submission, you’ll find out if you’re pre-qualified, and a home loan advisor will call you to answer questions and explain the benefits of taking the next step: preapproval.

Popp says the credit union will follow up even if you aren’t immediately pre-qualified to identify potential errors and offer solutions. Borrowers who have limited or no credit history can submit proof of rent, utility or other recurring payments to bolster their applications, for example.

Golden 1 aims to be “the credit union for everybody” and doesn’t want to “put good people into a bad situation,” so its loan officers make sure borrowers can handle a mortgage without stretching their finances too thin, Popp says.

» MORE: The difference between prequalification and preapproval

Golden 1 discount programs for home buyers

Managed in-house, the Buyer Advantage program credits members 25% of the Realtor commission toward closing costs when they work with a Golden 1 Preferred Realtor. The Golden 1 insurance division connects members to insurers willing to offer discounts on several types of policies, including homeowners insurance.

Neither program requires you to choose a Golden 1 mortgage, Popp says; they’re benefits of credit union membership.

What Golden 1 does best

  • Wide range of purchase and refinance loans, including jumbo, home equity and FHA
  • Considers alternative credit data
  • Realtor and insurance programs may reduce costs

Where Golden 1 falls short

  • No VA or USDA loans offered
  • No reverse mortgages
  • Can’t be preapproved online


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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.