loanDepot Review | Mortgage Refinance

A mortgage refinance is when you take out a new mortgage to replace an existing one. You may want to refinance your home loan to transfer your loan from one bank to another, change a fixed rate or get an even lower interest rate to bring down your mortgage payments.

Another reason to refinance your mortgage would be to convert your home’s equity into cash. Many homeowners use this extra cash to make home improvements, pay off debt or purchase appreciating assets, like a business or more real estate.

If you’d like to know if now is a good time to refinance your mortgage, it’s a good idea to crunch the numbers and see if it makes sense for your current financial circumstances. You can use Money’s refinance calculator to get an idea of your monthly payment savings and terms for a potential refinance.

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loanDepot Mortgage Refinance Overview

  • Lifetime guarantee, which waives lender fees for future mortgage refinances with loanDepot
  • Offers loans to foreign nationals
  • 200+ nationwide physical locations
  • Doesn’t offer USDA loans
  • Multiple lawsuits, allegations and complaints

loanDepot is the nation’s second-largest nonbank retail lender, with products that help people purchase a home or refinance their mortgage. The company offers a “​​digital mortgage experience” through its proprietary software platform that makes it so the entire home loan application and preapproval can be processed online. Its expedited application is powered by AI to verify asset and employment details, perform credit checks and begin the home appraisal process.

We like loanDepot because of its convenient products and services, as well as the fact that the company considers clients lifetime customers. This means it will waive lender fees and reimburse appraisal fees on your next loan when you purchase a home with loanDepot and if you decide to refinance your mortgage with the lender.

We do have some concerns about the company due to allegations regarding some of its business practices. However, as long as you do your research and get estimates from multiple mortgage lenders, loanDepot could be a good option for your home refinance loan.

Here’s what else you should know about refinancing your mortgage with loanDepot.

loanDepot’s Services

loanDepot’s products include the following types of mortgages:

  • Home purchases (conventional loans)
  • New construction
  • Renovation loans
  • Refinance loans (10-,15-, 20- and 30-year terms)
  • Cash-out refinance loans
  • FHA loans (insured by the Federal Housing Administration)
  • VA loans (insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs)
  • ARM loans (adjustable-rate mortgages)
  • mello smartloan™
  • Jumbo loans

This review focuses exclusively on the company’s mortgage refinance products.

What loanDepot offers

loanDepot will allow you to refinance your existing home loan. You’ll get the best loan terms assuming you:

  • Are buying or refinancing an owner-occupied single-family home
  • Have a debt-to-income ratio of 35% or lower
  • Have met your asset and reserve requirements
  • Have a property with a loan-to-value of 80% or less

Consumers should know that the Annual Percentage Rate (APR) for their loanDepot mortgage refinance is based on the loan amount and may include any discount, lender and origination fees. If you have a second mortgage on your home, loanDepot can consolidate your first and second mortgages.

You have the option of keeping your second mortgage, but loanDepot requires it to remain in the second position lien on your property. In some cases, you may be able to refinance even when you owe more than appraised home value, but this is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

Another feature that stands out is loanDepot’s “Lifetime Guarantee.” Once you purchase or refinance your home with loanDepot, the next time that you refinance with the company, you won’t be responsible for any lender’s fees.

What loanDepot doesn’t offer

Even the best mortgage refinance companies have limitations. loanDepot can offer slightly more competitive rates only because its loans are always the first-position lien on the properties used to collateralize their loans.

The lender doesn’t offer home equity lines of credit or home equity loans. Although it offers some government-insured loans, like FHA and VA loans, there’s no USDA loan option for purchases or refinances.

Consumers may complete their loan application online, but can only see the rates available to them by completing a hard credit check. loanDepot doesn’t publish current refinance rates for its products unless you complete the loan application. Your loan terms will depend on your FICO or credit score and other aspects of your financial profile.

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loanDepot’s Credentials

loanDepot was founded in 2010 and has grown to over 10,000 members, who assist more than 27,000 customers each month. Here’s more information about the lender’s background and qualifications.

Licenses and Registrations

loanDepot is headquartered in California but has over 200 branch offices for those who prefer to do business in person (or have to close on their loan personally). The lender does business under other names, such as loanDepot.com, loanDepot.com LLC, imortgage and Mortgage Master.

The company’s mortgage lending operations are registered in the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS ID#: 174457). In addition to its corporate license, loanDepot’s Mortgage Loan Originators (MLO’s) hold thousands of individual state licenses through the NMLS.

A large number of loanDepot’s loans are underwritten by its FDIC-insured partner bank, Cross River Bank — the entity name that may appear on your credit inquiry or caller ID when you do business with the lender.

Awards and Certifications

loanDepot has several badges on its website signifying awards and designations, which include:

  • Orange County Register Top Workplaces
  • Inc. 5000
  • HW Vanguard Awards
  • Orange County Business Journal Fastest Growing Companies
  • Reuters Top Wholesaler

Regulatory or Legal Actions

loanDepot has been at the center of several lawsuits for various allegations including:

  • Improper appraisals rooted in racial bias
  • Closing loans without improper documentation in anticipation of their 2021 initial public offering (IPO)
  • Making automated calls to consumers without permission
  • Senior executives making misleading statements leading up to their 2021 IPO

The New York Department of Financial Services investigated the lender in 2015 for soliciting and promoting mortgages for properties in the state when they were not authorized to do so. loanDepot reached a settlement to pay a $7,500 fine for violating New York Banking Law.

Although we always try to include accurate and up-to-date information on regulatory and legal actions, this information may not be complete or fully up to date. We recommend you do your own research for the latest information.

loanDepot Accessibility

loanDepot is known for its digital banking operations but it also has a vast network of physical branches. Borrowers can start their application online and may close on their loan by visiting one of its many branches. A mobile notary may come to your location for closing if you are not close to a loanDepot branch.

Availability

loanDepot’s local branches are generally open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. There’s no clear information on the loanDepot website about the holidays it observes, but the lender likely observes standard banking holidays, such as New Year’s Day, Christmas, and Thanksgiving Day.

Contact Information

You can access your account online 24/7 or speak with a licensed loanDepot lender at (888) 337-6888. Representatives are available from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST on weekdays. You may also contact the company via email at customercare@loandepot.com.

User Experience

loanDepot’s public-facing website gives homebuyers a small amount of pre-sales information, though no specific rates or loan terms are advertised. If you want to receive refinance offers with specific terms, you must create a loanDepot account, submit your social security number and complete an application. Make sure you understand the mortgage refinance steps you need to take to increase your approval odds before starting your application.

Limitations

Like most lenders, loanDepot is subject to lending regulations in states where it does business. Depending on your state, some loan products and terms may not be available to you. You should speak with one of the lender’s licensed mortgage officers to understand any restrictions and limitations on your home refinance.

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loanDepot’s Customer Satisfaction

It’s important to check out what other customers have to say about mortgage companies as you vet potential lenders for your refi loan program. Look at common complaints, then ask your loanDepot loan officer or customer service representative how to avoid those issues.

Third-Party Ratings

loanDepot has several online review profiles with the following ratings:

  • Better Business Bureau: 4.04 out of 5 stars; based on 3,866 reviews
  • Trustpilot: 3.7 out of 5 stars; based on 3,892 reviews
  • Yelp: 2 stars out of 5 stars; based on 500 reviews

It’s also worth noting that loanDepot is an accredited Better Business Bureau (BBB) member with a profile grade of A+. The lender’s BBB profile currently displays 1,156 complaints closed in the last three years and 296 complaints closed in the previous 12 months.

Finally, the company received a rating of 856 out of 1,000 points on the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study. This study put the lender in eight place on the list of lenders for that year.

Customer Complaints

After sifting through online reviews, we found some common concerns:

  • High closing costs and interest rates compared to other lenders
  • Asking customers for application documents multiple times
  • Delays that cause loans to take longer than 60 days to close
  • Incessant phone calls and emails throughout the application process

A keyword search for the term “loanDepot” on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) website shows over 280 complaints regarding the lender’s products.

This data is provided based on information available at the time of publishing.

loanDepot FAQ

Is loanDepot a reputable lender?

loanDepot is licensed to offer mortgages in all 50 states. Individual consumers may have different experiences with the lender based on several factors, including the strength of their financial profile and the subject property. For the best results on your home refinance, we suggest getting estimates from several lenders and choosing the one that best meets your needs.

Does loanDepot have good rates?

Currently, loanDepot does not publicly promote any interest rates. To get a refinance loan offer customized to your credit profile, you’ll have to login into the loanDepot site and complete an application.

How long does loanDepot take to close?

According to loanDepot’s website, refinance transactions could take up to 45 to 60 days based on the complexity and type of loan.

How We Evaluated loanDepot

We based our methodology for evaluating loanDepot on publicly available information on its website and from other sources. We also considered customer review sites, industry watchdog reports and information from consumer advocacy sites.

Summary of Money’s loanDepot Review

loanDepot should be one of the first lenders you consider if you are looking for a streamlined loan process that can be completed mostly online. However, due to the number of allegations and complaints against the lender we’ve found, we suggest you proceed with caution and get several loan estimates for your mortgage refinance loan. This will help you find the best terms possible and potentially give you leverage to negotiate with loanDepot — or any other lender.

You can find some of these other lenders in our article listing the best mortgage refinance companies.

 

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