Pacific Union Financial Review 2017

Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages

Pacific Union Financial is an independent mortgage lender born in Northern California — which explains the West Coast sounding name — but now located in northern Texas. That’s quite a relocation strategy, and it seems to have worked. The lender now serves every state but one, with offices in nearly half of them, alphabetically from Alabama to Wisconsin and geographically from Maryland to Costa Mesa, California.

Here is what you can expect when shopping for a mortgage from Pacific Union Financial.


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AT A GLANCE

  • Offers purchase, refinance, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA loans; no home equity products
  • Typically charges lender fees of $995
  • Minimum FICO score is generally 560, though lower on an exception basis

Compare Pacific Union Financial with other lenders.

Pacific Union Financial mortgage products

Pacific Union Financial offers purchase and refinance loans, as well as jumbo mortgages, but no home equity products or reverse mortgages, a typical selection for a nonbank lender.

Government-backed mortgages are fully represented with Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Affairs and Agriculture Department loans.

“Our typical client is a low down payment customer, so typically an FHA customer,” says Evan Stone, founder of Pacific Union. “We deal with people that have oftentimes more challenging credit profiles.”

Stone says Pacific Union’s “advertised minimum” FICO score is 560, but the lender will go below that on an exception basis. Average loan amounts are “about $225,000,” he adds.

“We fund loans that most lenders turn down,” Stone says.

» MORE: Calculate your monthly mortgage payment

One way Pacific Union Financial works to stand out from the pack is with portfolio loans for borrowers with less than perfect credit. Portfolio loans are held by the lender rather than sold to an investor, and that allows for a bit of flexibility as far as a borrower’s credit qualifications.

Those loans, offered under a Pacific Union program called FlexKey, allow for expanded loan-to-value and debt-to-income standards. A Restart loan option offers borrowers with “past credit events,” such as a foreclosure or bankruptcy, an easier path to financing, including “relaxed” documentation.

“We feel the FlexKey product suite provides a needed approach to responsible lending for consumers who don’t fit inside the pristine credit box that most mortgage investors require,” Brandon Story, a senior vice president with Pacific Union Financial, said in a press release when the product rolled out in April 2016.

Story added that the loan program would promote “broader access to credit” and “help promote homeownership to a wider range of consumers.”

The Pacific Union Financial mortgage loan process

The Pacific Union Financial website is modern, attractive and full of motion graphics but has little functionality. While there are a few useful calculators and some interesting blog posts, you can’t get much done on your mortgage loan here.

Clicking on “Apply Now” at the top of the home page doesn’t launch a mortgage application but rather a short form for an initial interest rate quote and contact from a loan officer. Stone says a mobile app is in development.

And that’s the primary business model at work here: you working with a loan officer, either over the phone or in person at one of Pacific Union Financial’s 67 branch offices. The lender employs more than 1,500 mortgage professionals and partners with other, independent “correspondent” mortgage bankers.

And Stone points to a special service dedicated to a growing population of homeowners: “We have a team, a sales team and an operations team, for which Spanish is their primary language. The purpose of that is to cater to Hispanic borrowers,” he says.

Considering fees and mortgage rates

Typical lender fees are $995, according to Stone. To get an interest rate estimate, you’ll need to speak to a loan officer.

What Pacific Union Financial does best

  • Offers a program geared to expanding borrowing opportunities to applicants with less than perfect credit
  • Offers a full array of purchase and refinance home loans, including all major government programs

Where Pacific Union Financial falls short

  • Limited online capabilities
  • Doesn’t offer home equity products

Online reviews look to be mostly positive. The Better Business Bureau gives Pacific Union Financial an “A” rating, citing a 60-40 ratio of positive to negative reviews.


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Hal Bundrick is a staff writer at NerdWallet, a personal finance website. Email: hal@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @halmbundrick.

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.