Editorial Review

PNC Mortgage Review 2018

Ideal for borrowers with low-to-moderate incomes or limited down payments. PNC offers a loan with no mortgage insurance and participates in down payment assistance programs.

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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

3.5

Editor's overall rating

The Bottom Line: PNC can help borrowers with credit or down payment issues, but lacks a full online application.

PNC

PNC

Min. credit score 
620
Min. down payment 
3%
Loan types and products
Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Considers nontraditional credit history like rent payments.
  • Online tools help you estimate mortgage payments and track application progress.
  • Several affordable loan options including FHA, VA, USDA and the PNC Community Loan.
Cons
  • It's not possible to complete the entire mortgage process online.
  • Low score in J.D. Power 2017 consumer satisfaction survey.
  • Has branches in only 19 states.

Full Review

PNC Mortgage is part of a well-established retail and commercial bank that bears the official name of PNC Financial Services Group and has more than 2,600 retail banking branches and a network of retail mortgage offices across the country.

PNC Mortgage, headquartered in Pittsburgh, originates and services a broad selection of conventional and government-backed loans for purchase, refinance and home equity. PNC Mortgage offers adjustable- and fixed-rate loans, from 30-, 20-, 15-, 10- or eight-year fixed, to 10/1, 7/1, 5/1, 3/1 and 1/1 ARMs. The loans are limited to single-family dwellings in buildings containing up to four units and can go toward a primary residence, a secondary home or a rental property.

Let’s see how PNC Mortgage stacks up when it comes to making home loans.

PNC’s mortgage process

Applying for a mortgage with PNC starts online, over the phone or in person. While it’s not required by PNC Mortgage, regional manager Staci Titsworth recommends that you get preapproved as a first step. You can start the preapproval process online, but it must be completed in person or over the phone. Your income, credit history and score, debt-to-income ratio and your assets will be reviewed as part of the preapproval process.

If you fill out an online form with your basic contact information, a loan officer will get back to you within two business days, according to the PNC Mortgage website. The loan officer will help you begin the mortgage application process. You’ll provide required documentation, including a month of pay stubs and the last two years of W-2s. If you’re self-employed, additional documentation is required, including two years of federal tax returns and a year-to-date profit and loss statement and balance sheet for your business. Nontraditional credit history is also considered, such as rent payment history.

In most cases, your debt-to-income ratio can’t exceed 45%, and that includes your proposed monthly loan payment. But your ratio can be slightly higher depending on certain criteria, like your credit history and reserve assets, according to Titsworth.

The PNC Mortgage website gives a clear breakdown of its products, from adjustable-rate conventional loans to a speeded-up refinance loan. For conventional loans, the maximum amount allowed is $453,100. For jumbo loans, it’s $3 million. No minimum loan amount is specified by the company.

» MORE: Calculate your debt-to-income ratio or monthly mortgage payment

PNC Mortgage’s Home Insight Tracker

Once your mortgage application goes through, you’ll receive an email giving you the option to register for a free online account known as PNC’s Home Insight Tracker. This account allows you to see the status of your application throughout the mortgage process.

If you don’t create a Home Insight Tracker account, your loan officer will continue to communicate via phone or email. If you do create an account, you’ll receive automated updates when your loan hits certain milestones, like when your loan has been approved. A progress bar on your account tracks your application’s status through the process. Your estimated close date is visible alongside your progress bar.

An “Application Overview” tab allows you to view a pie chart and a more detailed table containing information on your loan term, interest rate and estimated payments.

A “Documents” tab allows you to keep track of which documents you’ve submitted and which are still needed. You can upload documents and submit directly from your computer, tablet or phone.

Contact information for the individuals involved with your loan application, like your loan officer and loan processor, is located in a box labeled “My Team” on your account’s home page. You can click on the “Secure Messages” tab in this box to send and receive messages with these individuals. You can also communicate by phone if you prefer.

Under the “My Team” tab, you can include your real estate agent so he or she can receive email updates along the way. The website offers easy-to-follow instructional videos on how to use a Home Insight Tracker account.

According to Titsworth, the average time to close on a purchase loan is 40 days. If you’re refinancing your loan, the average time is 60 days.

PNC charges an origination fee that varies by loan type and where you live.

Home equity and low-down-payment loans

PNC Mortgage offers three home equity loan options: a traditional home equity loan starting at $1,000; a refinance to replace your current mortgage with a first-lien, fixed-rate home equity loan; and a home equity line of credit with a minimum of $10,000. Before taking advantage of the equity you’ve built up in your home, consider the pros and cons of these loans.

PNC Mortgage also offers a purchase loan with a minimum of 3% down without the requirement that you buy private mortgage insurance. The PNC Community loan program is for low to moderate income borrowers with a minimum credit score of 660. Because you don’t have to pay private mortgage insurance, this loan comes with higher interest rates, and you’ll be required to take a home buyer education class.

What PNC Mortgage does best

  • Considers nontraditional credit history like rent payments.
  • Easy to navigate website with plenty of explanatory articles and videos.
  • User-friendly Home Insight Tracker allows you to manage your mortgage application through your phone, tablet or computer.

Where PNC Mortgage falls short

  • It’s not possible to complete the entire mortgage process online.
  • Charges an origination fee on some loans.

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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.