Editorial Review

Lenda Mortgage Review 2018

Ideal for those who appreciate zero lender fees and online convenience. Lenda has expanded its loan offerings to include FHA mortgages.

At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

Our Take

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: One of the few lenders that don’t charge fees, but if you live outside the 12 states Lenda serves, you’re out of luck.

Lenda
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at Lenda

Min. credit score 
620
Min. down payment 
5%
Loan types and products
Purchase, Refinance, Jumbo, Fixed, FHA

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Interest Rate
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Monthly Payment
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Fees
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Total Interest
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Pros & Cons

Pros
  • No origination charge or junk fees.
  • A completely online application process.
  • Looks for a FICO score as low as 500 on FHA loans.
Cons
  • Available only in a dozen states.
  • No home equity loan products.

Full Review

Lenda CEO and founder Jason van den Brand despises fees. Of any kind.

“I don’t like when I go to the ATM machine, and I have to pay even two or three bucks because, in reality, I’m like, ‘Well that’s 2 to 3 percent if I’m taking out a hundred bucks,’” van den Brand tells NerdWallet.

That loathing of what he calls “junk fees” drives his strategy for Lenda, as well.

Compare Lenda with other lenders.

Charging fees ‘just wasn’t necessary anymore’

In an industry that practically promotes fee confusion, Lenda is one of the few that has eliminated lender fees.

“We kind of just felt like it just wasn’t necessary anymore,” van den Brand says. “Those fees that are getting charged are nothing but junk. They are ways just to pad the profit-and-loss,” he adds. Charges are “disguised to the borrower as a processing fee, or an underwriting fee — and you’re already paying an interest rate to borrow this money.”

The “dirty little secret” he says is that often half of the fees are going to commissions. So, Lenda’s profit is built into the interest rate it offers borrowers, and there are no commissions paid to loan officers.

When you shop interest rates, always compare the annual percentage rate offered by a lender. The APR includes the loan’s payment rate, plus fees.

Lenda loan products

Lenda offers purchase and refinance loans with fixed or variable rates, jumbo loans up to $3 million — and now underwrites FHA-backed mortgages, too.

The average borrower has a 722 FICO score and takes out a $322,000 loan, van den Brand says.

» MORE: Get your credit score for free

Lenda loan process

Lenda’s online platform allows you to complete your loan application, upload and sign your documents electronically, and track the progress of your loan through the user dashboard.

Here’s how the process works:

  1. Get started: On Lenda.com, click on “Get a Home Loan” or “See My Rates.” You’ll answer some basic information about the home you want to purchase — or your current loan if you’re refinancing — and your mortgage goals.
  2. Rate quote page: You’ll fill out a short form that differs depending on whether you’re purchasing or refinancing. For purchase borrowers, the form asks for an estimated purchase price and down payment, your ZIP code and credit score range. You’ll be prompted to provide your email address and a password to create a free account before you can see your rates. Information you’ll need for the refinance form includes: your reason for refinancing, how much you owe on your current mortgage, your home’s estimated value, your ZIP code and a credit score range.
  3. Rate comparison page: On this page, you’ll see rate comparisons based on the information you provided (without having to supply a Social Security number or personal details such as your name or employment information). Lenda provides upfront information about all third-party, required fees you might incur for the loans quoted. You can also adjust your rate and term, whether you want to finance closing costs, or if you want to use an escrow account.
  4. Additional details: The more information you provide about your current financial situation, the more accurate your loan estimate becomes, Lenda says.
  5. Loan application: You’ll fill out this streamlined application by answering questions that are relevant only to the approval process. For example, Lenda won’t ask questions that pertain only to investment properties if you’re applying for your primary residence.
  6. Credit check: You’ll get a free credit check to see where you stand.
  7. Disclosure documents: The loan estimate and disclosure documents are generated online and can be reviewed and signed electronically.
  8. Upload documents: You’ll see a checklist of documents you need to gather to complete your loan application. Once you find those documents — for example, tax forms, bank statements and pay stubs — you’ll securely upload them to Lenda in one spot. (There’s also a drag-and-drop feature, which makes it easier if you already have them online.) Once your documents are uploaded, the application is complete; Lenda’s team reviews it for accuracy and will contact you if further information is needed.

» MORE: Compare the best online lenders

Borrowers can check on the progress of their loan application with Lenda’s Client Dashboard, and a loan advisor is available for any questions or assistance.

Closing times on conventional conforming loans average 28 days, Lenda says.

Other services include:

  • Free rate locks.
  • At-home e-closings via webcam available in certain states.
  • Electronic employment verification.
  • Single point-of-contact throughout the loan application process.

Lenda currently operates in 12 states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington).

More from NerdWallet:

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.