OneUnited Bank Mortgage Review 2024

Good for: borrowers in Boston, Miami or Southern California who want to work with a Black-led, Black-owned bank.
Kate Wood
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

4.0

Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
The Nerdy headline:

OneUnited Bank focuses on supporting underserved borrowers and communities of color, but only offers home loans in Boston, Miami and Southern California.

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OneUnited Bank
OneUnited Bank: NMLS#405795

Min. credit score
620
Min. down payment
3%
Loan types and products
Purchase

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Website offers detailed, customizable mortgage interest rates.
  • A full mortgage application can be completed online.
  • Offers Community Land Trust loans, helping lower-income home buyers in costly areas.

Cons

  • Lending is limited to fixed-rate, conventional mortgages.
  • Home loans are only available in a few counties in California, Florida and Massachusetts.
  • Mortgage preapproval isn't available, so potential borrowers may need to use another lender to get an offer accepted.
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Full Review

What borrowers say about OneUnited Bank mortgages

NerdWallet’s lender star ratings assess objective qualities, including rates, fees and loan offerings. NerdWallet assesses borrowers’ subjective experiences with lenders using customer satisfaction scores from J.D. Power and Zillow. OneUnited Bank didn’t have sufficient data from either source for NerdWallet to share.

OneUnited Bank’s mortgage loan options

  • 1 of 5 stars

OneUnited Bank offers conventional, fixed-rate loans with 30-, 15- or 10-year terms. Buyers who have limited income or down payment savings can take advantage of the HomeReady mortgage, which offers more flexible qualifications than a standard conventional loan. Government-backed loans and adjustable-rate mortgages aren't available.

OneUnited is the largest Black-owned bank in the U.S. and has a strong focus on providing financial opportunities to underserved communities. OneUnited partners with community organizations to offer community land trust home loans, which help lower-income borrowers purchase affordable housing in high-cost areas the lender serves, including Los Angeles, Boston and Miami.

What it’s like to apply for a OneUnited Bank mortgage

  • 5 of 5 stars

OneUnited Bank offers a straightforward online application, though finding it takes a few clicks. Scroll to the bottom of any page on their site to find "Lending" in the footer, then choose "Home Loans." You should find an "Apply Now" button that takes you to their online mortgage application.

When we called customer service, stating "mortgage" as the reason for calling led to a voice mailbox. After a few days, a OneUnited loan officer called back. Though the wait time wasn't ideal, talking directly to a loan officer instead of a customer service representative was a plus.

OneUnited has an online chat function on its website, but the bot wasn't able to answer our questions about home loans. Asking about mortgages, down payments or credit scores prompted responses about the bank's credit card.

One important note: OneUnited doesn't offer mortgage preapproval or pre-qualification, and expects that you already have an offer accepted if you're applying for a mortgage. Prospective home buyers who are still shopping may want to contact the lender to ask about their options. In many cases, real estate agents and home sellers expect buyers to have a mortgage preapproval to accept a buyer's offer, so you might need to start the homebuying process working with a different lender.

OneUnited Bank has a mobile app, but it's banking-focused — if you're applying online, you'll be doing so through their website.

OneUnited Bank’s mortgage rates and fees

  • 3 of 5 stars

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. There wasn't enough mortgage data from OneUnited to produce a detailed analysis, so OneUnited received our default score.

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.

OneUnited Bank’s mortgage rate transparency

  • 5 of 5 stars

OneUnited Bank makes it simple to access unusually detailed, personalized rate quotes. Though you need to apply to get a Loan Estimate, OneUnited Bank offers breakdowns that include closing costs and property taxes to give you a sense of the total price of your home loan.

Head to the bottom of any page and click "Today's Rates" in the footer, then choose the "Home Loans" tab. That brings up a basic table of sample rates; clicking on any of the APRs shows you the assumptions that rate is based on.

Clicking the "Get Personalized Quote" button takes you to a form where you can fill in the loan amount, property use and location, and credit score information to get more personalized rates for all of OneUnited's home loan options.

Alternatives to a home loan from OneUnited Bank

If you're interested in applying for a mortgage from OneUnited Bank, here are two lenders with key similarities that you might consider.

Alterra Home Loans also focuses on creating homeownership opportunities for underserved communities. Golden 1 Credit Union is a solid choice for California borrowers looking to work with a local lender.

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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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