Wells Fargo Mortgage Review 2020

Good for: borrowers looking for a national lender with a wide selection of mortgage products for home buyers in all financial stages.

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Our Take

5.0

NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line: Wells Fargo has a world-class selection of mortgage products and offers competitive, easy-to-shop rates.

Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo: NMLS#399801

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Loan Types and Products

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

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Provides numerous online conveniences, including loan application and process updates.

  • Current rates clearly posted for various loan products.

  • Offers a wide variety of loan types and products.

Cons

  • New applications for home equity lines of credit suspended during COVID-19 crisis.

  • Government actions and scandals have damaged consumer trust in recent years.

Compare to Other Lenders

Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

620

FHA:

580

VA:

620

USDA:

620

Min. Credit Score

620

Conventional:

620

FHA:

660

VA:

660

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, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, FHA, VA

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Full Review

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, getting a mortgage may be a bit of a challenge. Lenders are dealing with high loan demand and staffing issues that may slow down the process. Also, some lenders have increased their fees or temporarily suspended certain loan products. If you can’t pay your current home loan, refer to our mortgage assistance resource. For the latest information on how to cope with financial stress during this pandemic, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

Wells Fargo at a glance

Wells Fargo Mortgage has been a leading originator and servicer of residential mortgages for most of a quarter century. The bank has a loan product selection that is long and wide, along with ample online conveniences to streamline the mortgage application experience.

Here’s a breakdown of Wells Fargo’s overall score:

  • Variety of loan types: 4 of 5 stars

  • Variety of loan products: 4 of 5 stars

  • Online convenience: 5 of 5 stars

  • Rate transparency: 5 of 5 stars

  • Rates and fees: 4 of 5 stars

Wells Fargo loan types and products

Wells Fargo offers the extended list of mortgage products you would expect from a "big box" lender. Beyond conventional mortgages and government loans from the Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Agriculture, Wells Fargo Mortgage offers:

  • Jumbo loans with support provided by a specialized private mortgage banking team.

  • Renovation loans, with financing based on after-home-improvement value built into purchase or refi loans.

  • New construction home loans, with options for an extended rate lock during the building period.

  • Relocation and employee mortgage programs for many large companies.

  • A loan program with special benefits for eligible union members.

  • Programs to educate and assist first-time home buyers, union members and others.

Wells Fargo online convenience

The bank has adopted all of today’s in-demand technology tools, from online preapproval to a full digital loan application. Time- and paper-saving capabilities include:

  • Electronic employment verification.

  • Document upload and download.

  • E-signature.

  • Online loan process updates.

With a computer or any mobile device, you can sign into yourLoanTracker, the online bridge between you and your Wells Fargo Mortgage loan advisor. This is where you can track your application's status, exchange information and e-sign documents. It also has a to-do list to help keep you and the bank on task.

If you’re not into tech, Wells Fargo has over 1,000 offices in 49 states. The missing state? Vermont. However, Wells Fargo does underwrite mortgages nationally.

Wells Fargo mortgage rates and fees

One of the most important considerations when choosing a mortgage lender is understanding what the loan will cost. In order to provide consumers with a general sense of what a lender might charge, NerdWallet scores lenders on two factors regarding fees and mortgage rates:

  • A lender's average origination fee compared with the median of all lenders reporting under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Wells Fargo earns 4 of 5 stars on this factor.

  • A lender's offered mortgage rates compared with the best available on comparable loans. Wells Fargo earns 4 of 5 stars on this factor.

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.

You can decide to buy discount points — a fee paid with your closing costs — to reduce your mortgage rate.

Deciding whether to pay higher upfront fees is a matter of considering how long you plan to live in your home and how much cash you have to apply toward closing costs when you sign the loan paperwork.

Wells Fargo rate transparency

Mortgage rates are easy to find on the Wells Fargo website. A dropdown under "Loans and Credit" offers quick access to a mortgages page with options for buying a home, refinancing or taking advantage of home equity. Choose one to find rates, loan comparisons and other tools.

Wells Fargo's consumer trust concerns

Despite earning high marks for loan variety, digital tools and competitive, easy-to-find rates, Wells Fargo has seen numerous setbacks in the past few years.

The venerable lender has been accused of opening fake deposit and credit card accounts to meet aggressive sales goals, collecting improper fees on mortgage rate lock extensions and foreclosing on homeowners in error, among other alleged wrongdoing. In some cases, federal and state regulators have levied millions of dollars in fines against the bank.

"We're committed to making things right for all of our customers, including home lending customers, and earning back the public's trust," says Todd Johnson, senior vice president of Wells Fargo.

Although these regulatory actions don’t enter into NerdWallet’s star rating, borrowers are encouraged to weigh a lender’s customer service record when shopping for a mortgage.

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.