Editorial Review

Alliant Credit Union Mortgage Review 2019

Ideal for first-time home buyers who qualify for membership, don't have much saved for a down payment and want to avoid mortgage insurance.

Deborah KearnsSeptember 19, 2019

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Our Take

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: Alliant offers low- and zero-down loans for members who feel comfortable applying online or on the phone.

Alliant

Alliant

National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

0%

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • First-time home buyers may put zero down and pay no mortgage insurance.

  • Repeat homeowners may put down as little as 5% with no mortgage insurance.

  • Mortgages are available for non-warrantable condominiums.

Cons
  • Only one public branch, in Chicago, so most borrowers' applications must be handled online or by phone.

  • As it's a credit union, membership is limited.

Compare to Other Lenders

Rocket Mortgage
Better.com
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA

Full Review

If you like the personalized service that comes with a smaller mortgage lender but want the high-tech tools to manage your loan on your terms, an Alliant Credit Union mortgage might fit the bill.

The not-for-profit financial cooperative, in which the members are also owners, is investing heavily in online and mobile technology as a “digital credit union.”

Founded in 1935, Alliant says it now has more than 450,000 members nationwide and manages more than $11 billion in assets, making it one of the largest credit unions in the country.

Alliant Credit Union mortgage products

In addition to offering a full array of fixed- and adjustable-rate loans, Alliant offers Freddie Mac's Home Possible program and Fannie Mae's HomeReady program. Both provide first-time home buyers with loan options that require as little as 3% down. With the Alliant Advantage Mortgage program, qualified first-time home buyers can get a mortgage with 0% down payment and no private mortgage insurance.

Loans are available for non-warrantable condos as well. These extra offerings help expand homeownership opportunities to more of its members.

"Today’s borrower doesn’t have a deep well of assets for a down payment,” says Jason Osterhage, senior vice president of lending at Alliant. “We are a portfolio lender [offering our own products], and that gives us some flexibility to update our guidelines, look at loan performance, and find ways to adjust.”

The credit union is exploring alternative credit scoring models that are responsive to fair lending considerations, Osterhage says. While the credit union isn’t planning to be on the leading edge of those efforts, it wants to do what's best for customers and get underwriting guidelines right through careful research, he adds.

Alliant also offers refinance loans and home equity lines of credit in most states, as well as lender-paid mortgage insurance, which pays for premiums on loans with less than 20% down.

Alliant Credit Union digital mortgage experience

Alliant has only one public branch where you can go in person to apply for a mortgage, located at its Chicago headquarters. The bulk of its mortgage business is done online, which sets it apart from other credit unions, Osterhage says.

At Alliant, online doesn’t mean anonymous. If you take out a mortgage with the lender, you’ll work with a dedicated loan officer throughout the process.

One way Alliant differentiates itself among credit unions, which are not known for being tech-focused, is by investing in a comprehensive suite of online tools for its members.

Alliant launched a mobile app in 2016, though it provides only standard mobile banking functionality. But the lender says its online application is optimized for use on mobile devices.

If you are eligible to join Alliant through a qualifying employer or organization, it offers the personalized service and competitive mortgage rates of a credit union, with the technology you’d expect from a major bank. An Alliant Credit Union mortgage is a solid, smart choice for your mortgage needs if you are comfortable with online banking and aren’t married to the idea of going into a local branch to talk to a loan officer.

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.