San Diego County Credit Union, or SDCCU, was founded in 1938 as a financial institution for county employees. Today, its services are available to anyone who lives or works in San Diego, Riverside and Orange counties; as well, it can be used by members of the Financial Fitness Association, an organization that helps its members develop their money-management skills.
SDCCU is not-for-profit and owned by members rather than stockholders. Without the obligation to issue stock or pay dividends, “earnings are returned to members in the form of lower loan rates, higher dividends on deposits or lower fees,” its website says.
Although its reach may be limited to certain areas of Southern California, SDCCU isn’t exactly a small lender. The credit union’s website cites over 370,000 members, 40 branches and $8.2 billion in assets.
Here’s a look at the mortgages and homebuying services SDCCU has to offer.
AT A GLANCE
- Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate conforming, jumbo and home equity loans
- Online loan application and rate tracking
- No government-backed loans
SDCCU mortgage products
Members can obtain purchase, refinance and home equity loans from SDCCU. Options listed on the credit union’s website include conventional mortgages with 10-, 15-, 20- or 30-year fixed terms; adjustable-rate mortgages with 5- and 7-year rate periods; jumbo loans with 20- and 30-year fixed terms; and home equity loans with 10- or 15-year fixed terms.
SDCCU offers three different 5/5 ARM options — for as little as 5% down with no closing costs and 100% lender-paid mortgage insurance. Interest rates on a 5/5 ARM can change only once every 5 years and SDCCU caps the maximum rate adjustment at 5% over the life of the loan.
Searching for FHA, VA or USDA loans on the SDCCU website returns no results, and in an online chat, a customer service representative for the credit union said “SDCCU does not offer any government loans.”
SDCCU did not respond to NerdWallet’s request for additional information concerning its mortgage products and services.
SDCCU mortgage rates and fees
General home loan rates and fees are listed in several places on the SDCCU website. As is often the case, your rate will depend on your credit score and other factors.
For more personalized rates, select “Mortgage Loans” from the home page then “Get Pre-Qualified.” On a mobile device, you may need to select “Go to Mortgages” from the drop-down menu, then “Get Pre-Qualified.”
Next, select “Find Rates” and you’ll see a form with questions about the loan you are looking for, your finances, credit score and the property you’re hoping to buy. When complete, select “Find Rates” again to submit the form. At this point, you should see interest rates, APR and other information for loans matching your needs.
Select “Details” for any suggested loan and the site generates an unofficial estimate of “Charges and Reserves,” including monthly payment, discount points, closing costs and other fees. SDCCU doesn’t appear to charge origination fees, but it does list a $350 processing fee and $350 application fee. It’s unclear whether the credit union considers this estimate, which can be saved or printed as a PDF, to be proof of pre-qualification.
While SDCCU advertises free 60-day rate locks, you must complete an application, be approved and pay the application fee in order to complete the lock, according to the website.
The SDCCU mortgage process
When you’re ready for mortgage preapproval, select the “Apply for a loan” button located on the site’s home page or next to each matching loan result in the mortgage rates process described above.
The online mortgage application can be completed in 20 minutes or less, according to SDCCU. You’ll also see links to printable mortgage checklists so you know what information to have on hand — and the application can be saved at any point.
What happens after you’ve completed the application depends on the loan program chosen. “Some programs may give you instant online approval,” the SDCCU website states, but if that’s not an option, the application will go through a review process you can track online.
If online applications aren’t your thing, you can apply for an SDCCU home loan at any branch location or over the phone.
SDCCU real estate services
Buying or selling a home can be stressful, especially if you’ve never done it before. SDCCU members can take advantage of homebuying and selling services, including:
- Working with an assigned member advocate
- Assistance being matched with a real estate agent
- 20% rebate on agent commission when you work with a participating real estate agent
- Discounts on related products and services, like a moving truck
- Help setting up utilities at your new address
What SDCCU does best
- Wide selection of purchase, refinance and home-equity loans
- Customized rates available without personal info
- Down payments as low as 5%
Where SDCCU falls short
- No FHA, VA or USDA loans
- Can’t apply through mobile app or digitally sign loan documents
- Online preapproval not available for all loan products
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