Alliant Credit Union Mortgage Review 2020

Good for: first-time home buyers who want to avoid mortgage insurance and prefer a digital application process.

Kate WoodOctober 6, 2020
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Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Alliant Credit Union offers a wide range of conventional purchase and refinance options, and lets you shop rates and apply online, but it doesn't offer government-backed loans.

Alliant

Alliant: NMLS#197185

National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Low- or no-down-payment options with no mortgage insurance.

  • Mortgages are available for non-warrantable condominiums.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer government-backed mortgages, like FHA or VA loans.

  • Doesn't offer renovation mortgages.

Compare to Other Lenders

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

620

FHA:

620

VA:

620

Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA

Loan Types and Products

Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable

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Full Review

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, getting a mortgage may be a bit of a challenge. Lenders are dealing with high loan demand and staffing issues that may slow down the process. Also, some lenders have increased their fees or temporarily suspended certain loan products. If you can’t pay your current home loan, refer to our mortgage assistance resource. For the latest information on how to cope with financial stress during this pandemic, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

Alliant Credit Union at a glance

Founded in 1935 and headquartered in Chicago, Alliant Credit Union says it now has more than 500,000 members nationwide and manages more than $12 billion in assets, making it one of the largest credit unions in the country. A unique purchase loan option allows down payments as low as 0% with no mortgage insurance for well-qualified borrowers. You can shop customizable rates and apply online, but if you're looking for a government-backed loan, you're out of luck.

  • Variety of loan types: 5 of 5 stars

  • Variety of loan products: 2 of 5 stars

  • Online convenience: 5 of 5 stars

  • Rates and fees: 3.5 of 5 stars

  • Rate transparency: 5 of 5 stars

Alliant Credit Union mortgage types and products

In addition to offering fixed- and adjustable-rate loans for purchase and refinance, Alliant provides first-time home buyers with conventional loan options that require as little as 3% down.

With the Alliant Advantage Mortgage program, well-qualified first-time home buyers can get a mortgage with no down payment and no private mortgage insurance. Non-first-timers can take advantage of this program too, with loans available with a 5% down payment and no PMI.

"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.”

Alliant also offers home equity lines of credit in most states. Loans are available for non-warrantable condos as well. These extra offerings help expand homeownership opportunities to more of its members.

You'll need to become a member of Alliant after you're approved for a mortgage. Membership qualifications are broad, and if you aren't already eligible, you can become eligible by making a small donation to the credit union's partner charity.

Alliant Credit Union online convenience

The bulk of Alliant's mortgage business is done online, including nearly all of its loan applications.

Alliant’s mobile app provides only standard mobile banking functionality. But you can use a mobile browser to fill out its online application, which the lender says is optimized for use on mobile devices. You'll be able to upload documents and elect to electronically sign your loan disclosures. Plus, you'll receive automated email updates letting you keep track of your loan's progress.

Alliant Credit Union mortgage rates and fees

One of the most important considerations when choosing a mortgage lender is understanding what the loan will cost. In order to provide consumers with a general sense of what a lender might charge, NerdWallet scores lenders on two factors regarding fees and mortgage rates:

  • A lender's average origination fee compared with the median of all lenders reporting under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Alliant Credit Union earns 3 of 5 stars on this factor.

  • A lender's offered mortgage rates compared with the best available on comparable loans. Alliant earns 4 of 5 stars on this factor.

Borrowers should consider the balance between lender fees and mortgage rates. While it's not always the case, paying upfront fees can lower your mortgage interest rate. Some lenders will charge higher upfront fees to lower their advertised interest rate and make it more attractive. Some lenders just charge higher upfront fees.

You can decide to buy discount points — a fee paid with your closing costs — to reduce your mortgage rate.

Deciding whether to pay higher upfront fees is a matter of considering how long you plan to live in your home and how much cash you have to apply toward closing costs when you sign the loan paperwork.

Alliant Credit Union mortgage rate transparency

Alliant’s website displays sample rates for all of its mortgage products, and lays out the assumptions built into those rates. It also has an easy-to-use form that generates a customized rate quote based on details you input about the loan type, the property and your credit score.

More from NerdWallet

NerdWallet’s star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services each lender offers to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The five key areas we evaluated include the variety of loan types and products offered, online conveniences, online mortgage rate information, and the rate spread and origination fee lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.