Golden 1 Credit Union Mortgage Review 2020

Good for: California residents who want to work with a homegrown credit union that offers a variety of fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, including home equity loans.

Barbara MarquandAugust 27, 2020

Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

4.5

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Golden 1 offers a cost-saving Realtor program, plus a range of loan types, including jumbos.

Golden 1 Credit Union

Golden 1 Credit Union: NMLS#669333

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

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

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Offers a variety of purchase and refinance loans, including jumbo mortgages.

  • Has a Preferred Realtor program that can save borrower on closing costs.

  • Offers some flexibility on guidelines for loan qualification.

Cons

  • Does not offer VA or USDA loans.

  • Products available only to California residents.

Compare to Other Lenders

Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

620

FHA:

580

VA:

620

USDA:

620

Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

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

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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.

Golden 1 Credit Union mortgages at a glance

Founded in 1933 and headquartered in Sacramento, Golden 1 Credit Union is a local California lender offering mortgage products to borrowers throughout the state.

As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, Golden 1 is owned by its members, not shareholders. This allows the credit union to offer benefits like free checking and lower interest rates, says Jennifer Warmerdam, vice president of home loans at Golden 1 Credit Union.

Here’s a breakdown of Golden 1's overall score:

  • Variety of loan types: 5 of 5 stars

  • Variety of loan products: 3 of 5 stars

  • Online convenience: 5 of 5 stars

  • Rates and fees: 3.5 of 5 stars

  • Rate transparency: 5 of 5 stars

Though it operates only in California, Golden 1 is hardly a small-time lender. With over a million members, Golden 1 funds more than $1 billion of mortgages a year and is one of the largest credit unions in the nation.

Here’s a closer look at the home loans and mortgage services Golden 1 Credit Union offers.

Golden 1 loan types and products

Golden 1 Credit Union has a full menu of purchase and refinance mortgages, including 10-, 15-, 20- or 30-year fixed-rate loans; interest-only adjustable-rate mortgages; 5-, 7- or 10-year adjustable-rate mortgages; and a mortgage designed for doctors.

The credit union also offers jumbo loans up to $4 million, FHA loans and home equity loans and home equity lines of credit.

Managed in-house, the Buyer Advantage Program credits members up to 25% of the Realtor commission toward closing costs when they work with a Golden 1 Preferred Realtor.

Golden 1 mortgage online convenience

You can begin the mortgage process by visiting a local branch or home loan center, contacting a home loan advisor or filling out Golden 1's online mortgage application for preapproval. The Golden 1 website has a directory of home loan advisors, listed by location. You can click on a name to get contact information and reach out to one directly.

The online application form asks about your finances, your employment and the property you want to buy or refinance. According to Golden 1, it should take less than 20 minutes to apply online. The technology lets you upload documents, track loan status and sign forms electronically.

Even if you aren’t immediately pre-qualified, a home loan advisor will follow up to offer potential solutions. Borrowers who have limited or no credit history can submit proof of rent, utility or other recurring payments to bolster their applications, for example.

Golden 1 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. Golden 1 earns 3 of 5 stars on this factor.

  • A lender's offered mortgage rates compared with the best available on comparable loans. Golden 1 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.

Golden 1 Credit Union mortgage rate transparency

Golden 1's website publishes sample mortgage rates for the purchase, refinance and home equity loans it offers. The sample rates for purchase and refinance mortgages are based on a credit score of 740 and assume the property is in Sacramento. The sample home equity loan rates assume a borrower credit score of 720.

You can also fill in a form to see personalized rates according to purchase price, down payment, location and your credit score.

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.