Editorial Review

PennyMac Mortgage Review 2019

Ideal for borrowers who want plenty of loan options, as well as advice and help over the phone.

NerdWalletSeptember 16, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

Our Take

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: PennyMac combines online functionality with phone support.

PennyMac

PennyMac: NMLS#35953

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

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

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Provides a single point of contact during loan processing.

  • Customized rate estimates are available before registering.

  • Electronic document submissions and online updates.

  • Services its loans after closing.

Cons
  • No retail branches.

  • USDA loans are limited to Streamline Assist Refinance.

Compare to Other Lenders

Quicken Loans
New American Funding
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, Home Equity, Reverse, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA, USDA

Full Review

Mortgage lender PennyMac Loan Services caters to the over-the-phone and online borrowers. Most PennyMac borrowers interact with licensed PennyMac workers located in call centers.

Let’s see how PennyMac, one of the country's largest nonbank mortgage loan originators and servicers, measures up.

A call center lender

PennyMac's call centers are in Fort Worth and Plano, Texas; Pasadena, Moorpark and Roseville, California; Summerlin, Nevada; Honolulu and St. Louis. Although face-to-face service may be available in some offices, the focus is on personalized interactions online and on the phone.

Most borrowers prefer to talk to someone during key points in the transaction instead of doing everything online, PennyMac believes. People tend to get mortgages only once every few years, so they look for guidance, says Kimberly Nichols, managing director of direct lending.

PennyMac says it takes pride in communicating with customers throughout the mortgage process, before applying and while filling out the application, and then during the weeks of loan processing. "The customer experience is the driver of what we do every day," says Doug Jones, president of PennyMac Loan Services. To that end, he says, PennyMac hires loan processors who excel in communication.

PennyMac services the mortgages it originates instead of selling the servicing to a third party. According to the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study, PennyMac scores at about the industry average for its servicing.

The PennyMac mortgage process

Many customers begin online, using PennyMac's custom mortgage rate quote tool. After looking up combinations of monthly payments, interest rates and discount points, you can start the application (or seek a mortgage pre-approval) in several ways:

  • Online, by registering and entering information into the digital application.

  • By calling PennyMac.

  • By leaving contact information so a loan officer can call.

The secure m.a.c (mortgage access center) portal allows you to submit electronic documentation, including statements from online bank accounts.

"We do encourage our customers to go into the m.a.c portal and do the process there," Nichols says, because entering and uploading information online speeds up the process. After the application is complete, a loan officer calls to review the application and provide a consultation.

The loan officer then hands over the file to a member of the My m.a.c Team, who is the point of contact during the mortgage underwriting process. Jones says team members are mortgage experts trained to help borrowers understand the process. The m.a.c portal provides loan process updates online.

The amount of time between submitting your application and closing on your mortgage varies but averages 37 days for conventional, conforming loans, PennyMac says.

» MORE: Use our mortgage calculator to find out your monthly mortgage payment.

PennyMac mortgage requirements

When it comes to criteria like your debt-to-income ratio and credit score, or if you’re self-employed, PennyMac follows requirements set by government-sponsored enterprises, such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. PennyMac won’t go below the minimum requirements set by GSEs, though it will consider rent payment history if necessary.

PennyMac has no minimum loan amount, and the maximum loan amount for jumbo loans is $2 million, although the lender will consider greater loan amounts case by case.

PennyMac says it charges origination fees, typically $1,100.

PennyMac mortgage options

PennyMac offers a wide range of loan products and types. Fixed-rate mortgages are available for terms ranging from 10 to 30 years. Adjustable-rate mortgage loans are available in 3/1, 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 terms.

The lender also offers conventional, FHA and VA purchase and refinance mortgages. FHA and VA refinances include streamline options that require limited documentation. USDA Streamline Assist refinance loans are available for borrowers who have PennyMac as their servicer. Cash-out refinances are available for qualified borrowers.

Loans are available for vacation and second homes, and for self-employed borrowers using documentation including tax history and profit-and-loss statements.

Home equity lines of credit are available in a limited number of states.

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.