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J.G. Wentworth Mortgage Review 2018

Sept. 12, 2018
Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
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We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

You’ve probably seen those catchy J.G. Wentworth Wagnerian opera commercials on TV proclaiming — with gusto — “I need cash now!” While that soaring jingle has made J.G. Wentworth a household name in structured settlement and annuity services, the company is singing another tune as a mortgage lender.

J.G. Wentworth’s main goal, according to senior vice president Jeff Frutkin, is to get more efficient. “We’re constantly trying to reduce our costs so we can provide the consumer with the lowest possible rate,” Frutkin says.

So far, J.G. Wentworth Home Lending is hitting all of the high notes as it builds its mortgage market share. Let’s take a closer look at its overall performance.


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AT A GLANCE

  • Offers conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA and ARM loans.
  • Lender fee: $795 for most loans.
  • FICO score minimums: FHA and VA loans - 580; conventional loans - 620; USDA loans - 640.

Compare J.G. Wentworth with other lenders.

J.G. Wentworth mortgage products

Variety is the best way to sum up J.G. Wentworth’s mortgage products. It offers conventional and jumbo purchase loans, as well as government-insured loans from the Federal Housing Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

In fact, offering VA loans for service members and their spouses appears to be a point of pride for the lender. It claims to be “a company founded by veterans” and is a corporate partner of Homes for Our Troops, a nonprofit that builds homes for injured veterans. J.G. Wentworth says it has VA loan specialists on staff to help with questions and offers several pages of information about the benefits, costs and eligibility requirements of VA loans on its website.

The company also offers refinancing, with both traditional and cash-out options; it does not offer home equity loans or lines of credit.

For fixed-rate loans, borrowers can get J.G. Wentworth mortgages with terms of 15, 20, or 30 years, while adjustable-rate mortgages come in 3/1, 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 terms. Also, low- to moderate-income earners who qualify for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac home buyer programs can get those loans through J.G. Wentworth, too.

If you want to buy a fixer-upper, J.G. Wentworth has several home improvement loan options, including the HomeStyle Renovation mortgage from Fannie Mae and FHA 203k loans.

And if you’d rather purchase a condo, build a new house from scratch, or finance an investment property, J.G. Wentworth offers loan products for those purposes as well.

» MORE: Calculate your monthly payment with our mortgage calculator

J.G. Wentworth’s online mortgage experience

J.G. Wentworth’s recent website redesign simplifies getting a mortgage online, which is how a majority of its customers get started.

With a full online application, document uploading, e-signature and optional text message status updates, you could go through the entire loan process without talking to a human being if you really wanted to. But if you’d rather have a licensed loan specialist walk you through it, just fill out the contact form or call the number displayed across the website.

However you apply, J.G. Wentworth promises a streamlined process — it was an Ellie Mae 2018 Hall of Fame Winner for Outstanding Efficiency — and is willing to put its money where its mouth is.

“We don’t miss closing dates,” Frutkin says. But if for some reason your loan doesn’t close on time, J.G Wentworth will pay your first month’s mortgage payment up to $2,500 as part of its “Close-On-Time Guarantee,” he says.

The website also offers a library of financial calculators that can help consumers see how much mortgage they may qualify for or compare the overall cost of different loan terms, for example.

J.G. Wentworth’s rates and fees

Unlike rates on some lender websites, J.G. Wentworth’s rates aren’t hidden or published with discount point assumptions, which means they don’t appear lower than they really are.

Consumers who click the “Get My Rate” button and answer a few questions are rewarded with a live rate quote so they can easily compare loan options, no personal information required, Frutkin says.

If you like what you see, you can lock rates for up to 60 days at no charge. And if rates go down after you lock, a J.G. Wentworth program may allow you to recommit to the lower rate, though you won’t find information about it on their website. “It’s something that we [usually] discuss over the phone,” Frutkin says of the “lock and lower” program.

In addition to rates, J.G. Wentworth is open about its mortgage origination fee: It’s a flat $795 for most loan types. But if you’re a Costco member, or are willing to join, this fee could be as low as $275.

» MORE: What is a mortgage rate lock?

Affordable mortgages for first-time home buyers

Buying your first house can be stressful, especially if you have a weaker credit score or small down payment.

To help, J.G. Wentworth provides low-down-payment loan options in the form of FHA and VA loans with credit score requirements as low as 580. The lender also offers the Fannie Mae HomeReady program, with down payment requirements as low as 3% for borrowers with a 620 credit score.

J.G. Wentworth participates in first-time home buyer assistance programs in many states, as well. Some of these programs provide grants that cover your down payment and closing costs, in addition to other benefits. Frutkin says J.G. Wentworth loan officers typically suggest these state programs if they fit an applicant’s financial situation.

J.G. Wentworth also offers the new Freddie Mac IMAGIN program, which reduces some of the costs of mortgage insurance for borrowers who make down payments of less than 20%.

» MORE: See first-time home buyer programs in your state

What J.G. Wentworth does best

  • A wide array of loan options for consumers.
  • Flat lender fees ($795) for most loan types.
  • A fully digital application that can be completed in 10-20 minutes.
  • Uses alternative credit scoring for some government-insured loans.

Where J.G. Wentworth falls short

  • Has a limited number of physical locations in 15 states.
  • Isn’t licensed to lend in all 50 states (available in 46 states and the District of Columbia).

 

More from NerdWallet

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.