PennyMac Mortgage Review 2020

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

NerdWalletJanuary 16, 2020

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.

Our Take


NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: PennyMac combines online functionality with phone support.


PennyMac: NMLS#35953

Min. Credit Score


Min. Down Payment


Loan Types and Products

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

Pros & Cons


  • 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.


  • No retail branches.

  • USDA loans are limited to Streamline Assist Refinance.

Compare to Other Lenders

Min. Credit Score


Min. Credit Score


Min. Down Payment


Min. Down Payment


Loan Types and Products

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

Loan Types and Products

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

Full Review

PennyMac caters to mortgage borrowers who want many loan options to choose from, and who prefer to get their questions answered via phone or online support.

In this PennyMac review, let’s see how PennyMac Loan Services, one of the country's largest nonbank mortgage loan originators and servicers, measures up.

A call center lender

PennyMac's U.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 customer service

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 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 loan 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.

PennyMac mortgage rates

PennyMac delivers mortgage rate information online for various types of purchase and refinance loans after you enter the home's price or value, the size of down payment or amount of equity, and the ZIP code. You’ll also need to specify whether you're a veteran, choose whether you prefer a low down payment or low monthly payment, and choose your credit score range.

More from NerdWallet

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.