Editorial Review

San Diego County Credit Union Home Loan Review 2019

Ideal for borrowers who want a conventional loan, and live or work in San Diego county.

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Our Take

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

The Bottom Line: As a credit union, SDCCU offers competitive rates and membership perks, but its loan selection is limited.

San Diego Country Credit Union

at SDCCU

National/regional
Regional
Min. down payment 
5%
Loan types and products
Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable

Pros & Cons

Pros
  • Online loan application and rate tracking.
  • Customized rates available without personal info.
  • Down payments as low as 5%
  • Offers partial rebates on real estate agent commissions.
Cons
  • No FHA, VA or USDA home loans.
  • Can't digitally sign loan documents.
  • Online preapproval not available for all loan products.

Full Review

San Diego County Credit Union, or SDCCU, was founded in 1938 as a financial institution for county employees. Today, its services are available to anyone who lives or works in San Diego, Riverside and Orange counties; it can also be used by members of the Financial Fitness Association, an organization that helps its members develop their money-management skills.

Like all credit unions, SDCCU is not-for-profit and owned by members rather than stockholders. Without the obligation to issue stock or pay dividends, “earnings are returned to members in the form of lower loan rates, higher dividends on deposits or lower fees,” its website says.

Here’s a look at the home loans and real estate services SDCCU has to offer.

SDCCU mortgage products

Members can obtain purchase, refinance and home equity loans from SDCCU. Options listed on the credit union’s website include conventional mortgages with 10-, 15-, 20- or 30-year fixed terms; adjustable-rate mortgages with 5- and 7-year rate periods; jumbo loans with 20- and 30-year fixed terms; and home equity loans with 10- or 15-year fixed terms.

SDCCU offers three different 5/5 ARM options — for as little as 5% down with no closing costs and 100% lender-paid mortgage insurance. Interest rates on a 5/5 ARM can change only once every 5 years and SDCCU caps the maximum rate adjustment at 5% over the life of the loan.

There is no information on FHA, VA or USDA loans on the SDCCU website, and a customer service representative said the institution “does not offer any government loans.”

SDCCU did not respond to NerdWallet’s request for additional information concerning its home loan products and services.

The SDCCU mortgage process

When you’ve gathered all the documents needed for mortgage preapproval, select the “Apply for a loan” button located on the site’s home page or next to each matching loan result in the mortgage rates process described above.

The online mortgage application can be completed in 20 minutes or less, according to SDCCU. You’ll also see links to printable mortgage checklists so you know what information to have on hand — and the application can be saved at any point.

What happens after you’ve completed the application depends on the home loan program chosen. “Some programs may give you instant online approval,” the SDCCU website states, but if that’s not an option, the application will go through a review process you can track online.

If online applications aren’t your thing, you can apply for an SDCCU home loan at any branch location or over the phone.

SDCCU mortgage rates and fees

General home loan rates and fees are listed in several places on the SDCCU website. As is often the case, your rate will depend on your credit score and other factors.

For more personalized rates, select “Mortgage Loans” from the home page then “Get Pre-Qualified.” On a mobile device, you may need to select “Go to Mortgages” from the drop-down menu, then “Get Pre-Qualified.”

Next, select “Find Rates” and you’ll see a form with questions about the loan you’re looking for, your finances, credit score and the property you’re hoping to buy. When complete, select “Find Rates” again to submit the form. At this point, you should see interest rates, APR and other information for loans matching your needs.

Select “Details” for any suggested home loan and the site generates an unofficial estimate of “Charges and Reserves,” including monthly payment, discount points, closing costs and other fees. SDCCU doesn’t appear to charge origination fees, but it does list a $350 processing fee and $350 application fee. It’s unclear whether the credit union considers this estimate, which can be saved or printed as a PDF, to be proof of pre-qualification.

While SDCCU advertises free 60-day rate locks, you must complete an application, be approved and pay the application fee in order to complete the lock, according to the website.

SDCCU real estate services

Buying or selling a home can be stressful, especially if you’ve never done it before. SDCCU members can take advantage of homebuying and selling services, including:

  • Working with an assigned member advocate.

  • Assistance being matched with a real estate agent.

  • 20% rebate on agent commission when you work with a participating real estate agent.

  • Discounts on related products and services, like a moving truck.

  • Help setting up utilities at your new address.

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.