BNC National Bank Mortgage Review 2020

Good for: first-time home buyers and others seeking low-down-payment loan options.

Kate WoodSeptember 28, 2020
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Our Take

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: BNC National Bank offers a robust variety of loans, but you have to reach out to a loan officer to get interest rates.

BNC National Bank

at BNC National Bank

Min. Credit Score

640

Jumbo:

N/A

Conventional:

640

VA:

640

USDA:

640

FHA:

640

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

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

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Wide variety of loan types and products.

  • Improved online capabilities, and robust iOS and Android apps.

  • May consider alternative credit data, like cell phone payments.

Cons

  • Limited number of physical mortgage offices.

  • No rate information is available without starting an application or speaking with a loan officer.

Compare to Other Lenders

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Min. Credit Score

640

Jumbo:

N/A

Conventional:

640

VA:

640

USDA:

640

FHA:

640

Min. Credit Score

660

Jumbo:

N/A

VA:

660

USDA:

660

FHA:

660

Conventional:

660

Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

620

Jumbo:

N/A

Min. Down Payment

3%

Min. Down Payment

0%

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

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

Loan Types and Products

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

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.

BNC National Bank at a glance

BNC National Bank is a federally chartered bank headquartered in Bismarck, North Dakota. Despite its deep roots in the Peace Garden State, BNC is licensed to lend in all 50 states and regularly works with borrowers from all over the country. BNC National Bank has expanded online capabilities, which helps make up for its limited physical presence. A wide range of loan types, relatively low fees and a willingness to consider alternative credit data make BNC a good choice for first-time home buyers. However, to view rates and learn about their products in detail, you have to get in touch with a loan officer.

  • Variety of loan types: 5 of 5 stars

  • Variety of loan products: 4 of 5 stars

  • Online convenience: 5 of 5 stars

  • Rates and fees: 4.5 of 5 stars

  • Rate transparency: 1 of 5 stars

BNC National Bank loan types and products

For those looking to purchase or refinance a home, BNC has conventional loans with fixed and adjustable rates, jumbo loans up to $3.5 million and specialty products like mortgages for condos, townhouses and manufactured homes (though loans for manufactured homes are available only in states where BNC has a physical presence).

The bank also offers government home loan programs from the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and Agriculture Department.

VA loans are something of a specialty at BNC, comprising a sizable chunk of its loan volume, says Michael Zerr, vice president of consumer direct marketing at BNC National Bank. Zerr also points out that the bank doesn't charge origination fees for VA loans.

And while USDA loans aren’t listed on the BNC website, Zerr confirms this option, which is particularly popular at branch offices in the Midwest. BNC also offers home equity loans or lines of credit, but for existing bank customers only.

If you're a first-time home buyer, the bank participates in programs offered through some state housing agencies, Zerr says. These programs may provide down payment assistance loans or grants, interest rate discounts or tax credits that make homeownership more affordable for eligible borrowers.

BNC National Bank online convenience

As a mortgage lender, BNC says it strives to combine the personal service of skilled loan officers with the convenience of digital tools. "Technology is a piece of what we do, but it's not the only thing we do. We want to make sure that there's still that human dynamic," Zerr says.

When asked how borrowers typically start the mortgage process with BNC, Zerr says it’s a "big blend." Customers seeking a refinance are more likely to complete the process online, while those looking to purchase a house may want to apply over the phone with the help of a loan officer.

Those who land on the bank’s mortgage website, www.bncnationalbank.com, can start the process by choosing between the "Home Purchase" and "Refinance" tabs on the home page. Both options launch a series of questions about the property, your down payment and how soon you plan to buy. There are also some personal questions about credit score, financial history and military service. After submitting your answers, a BNC loan officer will contact you to discuss the next steps.

Once you're rolling with BNC, you'll be able to complete your application online, with features like secure document upload, loan tracking and esign. You can do all of the above via their mobile-friendly website or by using the BNC National Bank Mortgage App, which is available free for Android and iOS.

Offline, you can always opt to talk to a person: Zerr says borrowers can expect to deal with a single loan officer throughout the entire process, and on average, that loan officer will have over seven years of experience.

BNC National Bank 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. BNC National Bank earns 4 out of 5 stars on this factor.

  • A lender's offered mortgage rates compared with the best available on comparable loans. BNC National Bank earns 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.

BNC National Bank rate transparency

Zerr says BNC strives to offer interest rates that are competitive, but you won’t find them listed on its mortgage website. The only ways to get a customized rate quote are to complete the online application or contact the bank directly for pre-qualification.

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.