Golden 1 Credit Union Mortgage Review 2022

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.

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. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.

Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

Golden 1 offers a cost-saving real estate agent 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 real estate agent program that can save a borrower some money 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

NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
NerdWallet rating 
Min. credit score

620

Min. credit score

620

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Min. down payment

3%

Min. down payment

3%

Loan types and products

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

Loan types and products

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

Loan types and products

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

Get more smart money moves — straight to your inbox

Become a NerdWallet member, and we’ll send you tailored articles we think you’ll love.

Full Review

Golden 1 Credit Union 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

  • Ease of application: 5 of 5 stars

  • Rates and fees: 3 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 $2 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 Credit Union mortgage loan types

Golden 1 Credit Union has a full menu of purchase and refinance mortgages, including 15- 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 and FHA loans.

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

Golden 1 HELOC: The lender also offers a home equity line of credit, or HELOC, and a home equity loan. These second mortgages are one way 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. Golden 1’s HELOC allows homeowners to borrow up to 80% of their home’s equity with no application fee or annual fee. It allows a draw period just short of 15 years and allows a repayment period of up to 15 years after the draw period. The HELOC has a variable interest rate, with the ability to convert portions of the money drawn to a fixed rate. The home equity loan is a fixed-rate loan with fixed monthly payments.

Golden 1 Credit Union ease of application

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 prequalified, 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, according to the most recently available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data:

  • Golden 1 earns 2 of 5 stars for average origination fee.

  • Golden 1 earns 3 of 5 stars for offered mortgage rates compared with the best available rates on comparable loans.

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.

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).