First Federal Bank Mortgage Review 2024

Good for: borrowers looking for a particular loan type, such as government-backed; manufactured or modular; and jumbo loans for investment and multifamily properties.
Phil Metzger
By
Last updated on January 31, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Johanna Arnone
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Our Take

3.5

Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
The Nerdy headline:

First Federal Bank’s loan variety and ease of application make it an attractive choice, but you won’t be able to see rates without making contact. Loans are available in all 50 states, but branches are located in only a handful of states.

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First Federal Bank
First Federal Bank: NMLS#408902

Min. credit score
620
Min. down payment
3%
Loan types and products
Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, Home Equity, USDA
at First Federal Bank

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Offers government-backed loans and some harder-to-find products, such as jumbo loans for investment and multifamily properties.
  • Home renovation loans are available.
  • Offers home equity loans and lines of credit.

Cons

  • Mortgage rates are not published online.
  • Bank branches are limited to eight states.
  • Consumers might have trouble finding contact information.
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Full Review

What borrowers say about First Federal Bank mortgage

NerdWallet’s lender star ratings assess objective qualities, including rates, fees and loan offerings. To assess borrowers’ subjective experiences with lenders, NerdWallet has gathered customer satisfaction ratings from Zillow.

  • First Federal Bank receives a customer rating of 4.74 out of 5 on Zillow, as of the date of publication. The rating reflects more than 2,900 customer reviews.

First Federal Bank's mortgage loan options

  • 5 of 5 stars

First Federal Bank offers a wide variety of mortgage and refinance loan types and products, including home renovation options and government-backed FHA and VA loans.

It also finances less commonly offered loan types, including jumbo loans for second homes and investment and multifamily properties; loans for modular and manufactured homes; and an option for construction-to-permanent loans.

First Federal Bank HELOC

The lender also offers a home equity line of credit (HELOC). These second mortgages are ways for homeowners to access existing home equity without refinancing or selling their home. Funds obtained with a second mortgage can be used for expenses such as home improvements, education costs or debt consolidation.

First Federal Bank offers HELOCs with variable interest rates, a 10-year draw period and a 30-year repayment period — mostly typical features, with a longer repayment period than some.

What it’s like to apply for a First Federal Bank mortgage

  • 3 of 5 stars

First Federal Bank’s digital interface allows you to apply through its website. In a statement, First Federal said its acquisition of BNC’s mortgage division would make “additional technology tools” available to customers. You can upload documents, e-sign most required paperwork and track the progress of your loan online, the lender told us. The lender does not offer an online chat for questions, and it can be tricky to find a phone number for help during the application process.

If you prefer to apply by phone, you can search on the lender’s website for a loan officer near you and give them a call. Bank branches are limited to Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and Wisconsin, as well as BNC’s locations in Arizona, Illinois, Kansas and North Dakota, so applying in person won’t be an option in most states.

First Federal Bank's mortgage rates and fees

  • 3 of 5 stars

  • First Federal Bank’s new mortgage-lending acquisition, BNC National Bank, earns 3 of 5 stars for average origination fee.

  • First Federal Bank’s new mortgage-lending acquisition, BNC National Bank, earns 3 of 5 stars for average mortgage interest rates.

NerdWallet analyzes federal data to compare mortgage lenders’ origination fees and offered mortgage rates. We measure annual averages across all loan types, as reported by the lenders. Overall, First Federal Bank had origination fees and mortgage interest rates that are typical in the industry.

Mortgage applicants will work with BNC and First Federal mortgage team members, now united under the First Federal Bank Mortgage Lenders brand. First Federal has adopted BNC’s rates and fees, a lender representative said. In NerdWallet’s analysis, BNC National Bank’s average rates and fees were more favorable to borrowers than those from First Federal’s previous mortgage division.

Borrowers should consider the balance between lender fees and mortgage rates. Though 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.

First Federal Bank's mortgage rate transparency

  • 1 of 5 stars

NerdWallet’s transparency ratings are higher for lenders that post sample rates on their websites — making it easier for home buyers to comparison shop — and they're highest for websites with self-serve tools that allow shoppers to see what rates might be like for their particular loan.

First Federal Bank does not post current mortgage rates on its website, so you will need to contact a loan officer for a rate quote.

Alternatives to a home loan from First Federal Bank

Here are some comparable lenders we review that borrowers can consider.

PNC Bank offers a HELOC with fixed and adjustable rates, and Pennymac offers options for first-time home buyers.

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Methodology

NerdWallet’s overall ratings for mortgage lenders are evaluated based on four major categories: variety of loan types (purchase, refinance, fixed and adjustable, for example), ease of application, rates and fees and rate transparency. Among the factors we consider when scoring these categories are options to apply for and track loans online, the level of detail about mortgage rates on lender websites and our analysis of the rates and fees lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. These scores generate ratings from 1 star (poor) to 5 stars (excellent).

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