The Bottom Line: Connexus offers low-down-payment loans and considers alternative credit, without depending on government-backed loan programs.
Pros & Cons
Offers a range of fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages in all states but Alaska and Hawaii.
Customer support is available across a variety of channels despite limited physical locations.
May consider alternative credit data.
Does not offer FHA, VA or USDA loans.
Just 13 branch locations in four states (Minnesota, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin).
As a national lender, Connexus Credit Union is looking to appeal to the next generation of borrowers. Toward that goal, the credit union is building out its online presence to make managing a Connexus Credit Union mortgage online easier and more seamless than ever, says Eric Huseby, chief lending officer of Connexus.
The Wausau, Wisconsin-based Connexus has nine branch locations in four states — Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire and Minnesota — and serves more than 276,000 members across the country. To join the credit union, you must be affiliated with a member company or community, or you must join the credit union’s charity, the Connexus Association, by making a one-time $5 donation.
Let’s see how Connexus stacks up when it comes to mortgage lending.
Connexus Credit Union mortgage products
Although it’s had three different names since 1935, one thing that’s remained constant about Connexus is its stable of product offerings. Connexus gives members the option of choosing from conventional fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages for purchases and refinances. Fixed rates of 15, 20 or 30 years, as well as 5/1, 7/1, 10/1, 3/3, 7/3 and 10/3 ARMs are available.
Homeowners looking to refinance their current loans can get a direct “no-hassle mortgage comparison” by filling out an online form that spells out the terms of their current mortgage. A loan officer then responds within two business days to discuss refinance options.
Despite its robust selection of conventional loans, Connexus doesn't offer government-insured mortgages, such as FHA loans or VA loans. The recent underwriting changes to FHA loans — specifically the required mortgage insurance for the life of those loans — aren’t particularly attractive to Connexus members because the credit union offers its own low-down-payment program, Huseby says.
With mortgage rates still near historic lows, first-time homebuyers who are tight on savings can get a conventional Connexus Credit Union mortgage with just 3% down and mandatory private mortgage insurance, Huseby says.
A conventional mortgage allows you to stop paying PMI premiums once you’ve paid down your loan to below 80% of its value. That's a better alternative than an FHA loan, for example, on which insurance premiums must be paid throughout the life of the loan, Huseby says.
» MORE: Use our mortgage calculator to find out your monthly mortgage payment.
Making digital mortgages easier
Connexus has invested heavily over the past year in its online loan origination platform. According to Huseby, it offers online mortgage applications and free rate quotes, as well as electronic document signing and uploads, and a mobile app to manage the details of your loan.
One area Connexus hasn’t built out is online loan tracking — a service the credit union hopes to provide soon, Huseby says. Until then, loan officers provide one-on-one service and loan file updates to keep borrowers in the loop, he adds.
“We really needed to lay a good foundation for things we wanted to try from an efficiency standpoint as a credit union,” Huseby says of the lender’s move toward digital innovation. “We’re also growing in size — from $150 million in [mortgage volume] in 2007 to pushing $1.5 billion today.”
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.