J.G. Wentworth Mortgage Review 2017

Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
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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 a new tune as a newly minted mortgage lender.

Founded in 1991, J.G. Wentworth is investing time and resources into making the mortgage lending process as efficient and seamless as possible, says Phil Buscemi, president of J.G. Wentworth Home Lending. In 2015, after J.G. Wentworth purchased WestStar Mortgage and entered the mortgage arena, it closed $2.2 billion in loan volume. In 2016, it grew that volume to $3.4 billion, and is on track to beat that figure for this year, Buscemi says.

But profitability isn’t enough. J.G. Wentworth’s main goal, Buscemi says, is to make sure its customers know “they’re in good hands during one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives.”

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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  • Offers conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA and ARM loans
  • Loan origination fee: $795
  • FICO score minimums: FHA loans - 580; VA loans - 600; conventional loans - 620

Compare J.G. Wentworth with other lenders.

J.G. Wentworth mortgage products

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

The list goes on: The company also offers refinancing, both traditional and cash-out options. J.G. Wentworth doesn’t offer home equity loans or lines of credit, though.

For fixed-rate loans, borrowers can get a J.G. Wentworth mortgage with terms of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years, while adjustable-rate mortgages come in 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.

The lender also offers new-construction loans, as well as the FHA’s 203(k) home renovation loan. The latter allows home buyers to combine the cost of their mortgage and approved home upgrades into one loan if the improvements are necessary to make the home habitable and safer, according to the FHA.

VA loans comprise one-third of J.G. Wentworth’s business, Buscemi says. A “number of loan officers and other employees are former military,” he adds.

» MORE: Calculate your monthly payment with our mortgage calculator or amortization schedule calculator

‘A tech company that offers mortgages’

It may be relatively new to the mortgage landscape, but J.G. Wentworth wants to do its part to make the process as tech-friendly as possible for consumers, Buscemi says.

“We view ourselves as a tech company that offers mortgages,” he says. “When we automate the process as much as possible, we help move the consumer forward. We want it to be a smooth journey for them, but at the same time, we believe automation makes the process easier for everyone.”

When you apply for a J.G. Wentworth mortgage, you’ll have access to a complete online loan application, document upload and online loan tracking and e-signature capability. The company has plans to expand on its technology offerings. Those upgrades, which will be live in a few months, include a new mobile app, live web chat and improved mortgage landing pages, Buscemi says.

What J.G. Wentworth Home Lending does best

  • Provides a wide array of loan options for consumers and charges low origination fees ($795) for most loan types
  • Builds out its tech offerings to make the lending process easier and more automated
  • Uses alternative credit scoring for some government-insured loans

Where J.G. Wentworth Home Lending falls short

  • Has a limited number of physical locations in 14 states
  • Isn’t licensed to lend in all 50 states (it does not operate in Hawaii, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York)

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Deborah Kearns is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: dkearns@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @debbie_kearns.

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.