Golden 1 Credit Union Mortgage Review 2020

Ideal for California residents who want to work with a homegrown credit union that offers a variety of fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages.

Beth BuczynskiFebruary 25, 2019

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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#00001

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

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

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Has a wide range of purchase and refinance loans, including FHA.

  • Offers jumbo loans up to $2 million.

  • Preferred Realtor program saves on commissions.

  • Considers alternative credit data.

Cons

  • Charges $850 origination fee.

  • Does not offer VA or USDA loans.

Compare to Other Lenders

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Credit Score

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

Full Review

Founded in 1933 and headquartered in Sacramento, Golden 1 Credit Union is a homegrown 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 Michael Popp, vice president of home loans at Golden 1 Credit Union.

Though it operates only in California, Golden 1 is hardly a small-time lender. With almost a million members and plans to fund over $800 million of mortgages in a single year, it’s 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 products

Golden 1 Credit Union has a full menu of purchase and refinance mortgages, including 15- or 30-year fixed-rate loans and 5-, 7-, or 10-year adjustable-rate mortgages.

The credit union also offers jumbo loans up to $2 million, home equity loans and home equity lines of credit. Golden 1 recently added FHA loans to its lineup. It doesn’t offer VA or USDA loans at this time.

Golden 1 Credit Union mortgage rates and fees

Current rates and fees for Golden 1 home loans are available on its Mortgage Center Home page. Click “Personalized Quote” and answer a few questions to see APR, discount points, closing fees and estimated monthly payment for the mortgages that match your needs.

Click “view” to see more details on any quote result, like a breakdown of Golden 1 Credit Union’s origination charges — a flat $475 for processing and $375 for underwriting — and discount point prices.

You also can expand the view to see fee descriptions and information on fees for third-party services like appraisal, credit report, flood certification and tax service, making it easy to estimate total costs. Additional tabs display tax estimates and disclosures.

How the Golden 1 mortgage process works

Most Golden 1 borrowers begin the mortgage process by meeting with a home loan advisor or calling a local branch, though around 30% start online, Popp says.

The online application form asks about your finances, employment and the property you want to buy. According to Golden 1, it should take less than 20 minutes to apply online. After submission, you’ll find out if you’re pre-qualified, and a home loan advisor will call you to answer questions and explain the benefits of taking the next step: preapproval.

Popp says the credit union will follow up even if you aren’t immediately pre-qualified to identify potential errors and offer 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 aims to be “the credit union for everybody” and doesn’t want to “put good people into a bad situation,” so its loan officers make sure borrowers can handle a mortgage without stretching their finances too thin, Popp says.

Golden 1 discount programs for home buyers

Managed in-house, the Buyer Advantage program credits members 25% of the Realtor commission toward closing costs when they work with a Golden 1 Preferred Realtor. The Golden 1 insurance division connects members to insurers willing to offer discounts on several types of policies, including homeowners insurance.

Neither program requires you to choose a Golden 1 mortgage, Popp says; they’re benefits of credit union membership.

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.