Wells Fargo Mortgage Review for 2021

Wells Fargo is not only a mega-bank, but also a mega-mortgage lender. Learn why so many people choose Wells Fargo Home Mortgage here.

Lending flexibility 4.0
Customer service 3.5
Ease of application 3.5
Online experience 4.5
Minimum down payment 3%
Minimum credit score 620
Loan Products Offered

Fixed-rate mortgage
Adjustable-rate mortgage
Jumbo mortgage
FHA mortgage
VA mortgage
USDA mortgage
yourFirst mortgage

Best Features

  • Competitive rates and closing costs
  • Online tools make it easy to compare loans and find the lowest-cost mortgage
  • Branch locations nationwide make face-to-face interactions possible

Drawbacks

  • Customer satisfaction scores are average, but improving year to year
  • The bank is in the process of recovering from past failings
  • Not taking new HELOC applications during the pandemic

Overview

Wells Fargo is an American staple, with its roots as a stagecoach company stretching back into the 1800s.

Today, Wells Fargo carries on its legacy as one of the nation's foremost banks and lenders. In fact, in 2019 it was the biggest residential mortgage lender in the nation.

So, what can you expect if you choose this bank as your mortgage lender? First and foremost, competitive rates and closing costs that rival or beat other big names in the mortgage industry.

When it comes to customer service, the bank is average. But it's worth noting that customer satisfaction scores have been rising over the past four years.

For most people, the decision will come down to price. Compare Wells Fargo rates and closing costs with a few other lenders. If this bank is affordable for you, it's worth a closer look.


Wells Fargo mortgage rates

Wells Fargo is neck-and-neck with other big banks when it comes to mortgage rates.

But keep in mind that Wells Fargo typically includes fewer “discount points” in its mortgage rate estimates than some other lenders.

That means you wouldn’t have to pay as much in closing costs to actually get the rate shown.

Average 30-year mortgage rates at major lenders

 
Wells Fargo
Quicken Loans
Chase
Bank of America
Average 30-Year Interest Rate, 2019
4.22% 4.16% 4.22% 4.05%
Monthly P&I Payment*
$980 $973 $980 $961
Median Loan Costs, 2019
$3,484 $5,075 $3,440 $3,918
Median Origination Charge, 2019
$1,199 $2,805 $1,279 $1,265

Average rate and fee data were sourced from public rate and fee records required by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).

Note that mortgage rates have fallen quite a bit since 2019. So this table is not indicative of the rate you’re likely to receive today.

However, it can show you how major companies compare to one another in general.

*Monthly principal and interest payment based on a $250,000 home price, with 20% down, at each company’s average 30-year interest rate for 2019. Your own rate and monthly payment will vary.

Verify your new rate (Jun 23rd, 2021)

Wells Fargo VA mortgage rates 

Below is a table comparing average 30-year VA rates and average 30-year conventional rates from Wells Fargo and a few other top lenders in 2019.

Average 30-year VA mortgage rates at major lenders

 
Wells Fargo
Quicken Loans
USAA
Average 30-year VA rate, 2019
3.88% 3.68% 3.85% 3.56%
Average 30-year conventional rate, 2019
4.22% 4.16% 3.98% 4%

Rates have fallen, and VA rates are typically lower than other loan types.

However, you must be an eligible service member, veteran, or spouse to qualify for one of these loans which are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Verify your VA loan eligibility (Jun 23rd, 2021)

Wells Fargo Home Mortgage review for 2021

It’s hard to think about Wells Fargo without remembering some of the bank’s recent issues.

Reports of millions of accounts being wrongly opened emerged in 2016. And more recent problems have come to light about unnecessary fees being imposed on some mortgages, and a “computer glitch” that led to hundreds of people facing foreclosure.

And yet — Wells Fargo was the most popular U.S. mortgage originator in 2019, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

So clearly, the company is getting things right for many homeowners.

This could have something to do with its competitive rates, helpful online tools, and steadily rising customer satisfaction scores. (The company scored 16th in J.D. Power’s 2017 mortgage survey, 14th in 2018, 12th in 2019, and 7th in 2020.)

Here we explore the ins and outs of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage, so you can decide for yourself whether this is the right mortgage lender for you.

Working with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

The Wells Fargo website is modern, informative and easy to navigate. And, importantly, you can begin your online application, save it partway through, and then finish it off later.

Wells Fargo has a fully digital application process, and its yourLoanTracker system helps keep customers in the loop about the status of their loan application without having to contact a mortgage consultant.

The company also has a uniquely helpful “compare mortgage loans calculator.” This lets you compare customized rates and costs for different loan types side-by-side.

Even better, you don’t have to put in any contact info to use this tool. All you need to tell it is your purchase price, down payment, credit score and the state and county in which you’ll be buying.

The calculator will then give you a list of mortgage types that might suit you and today’s rates for each. Select multiple loan types, and you can compare rates, closing costs, and monthly payments side-by-side.

Those who prefer to do business face-to-face will find Wells Fargo’s extensive, 5,700-strong branch network attractive.

It has a presence in most states, and you can use a branch locator tool on its website to find your nearest location.

But take note that the bank is currently engaged in a branch-closure program. It says it plans to reduce its number of branches to about 5,000 by 2022.

Wells Fargo customer service reviews

As we mentioned above, Wells Fargo has crept up through the ranks in J.D. Power’s 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 mortgage origination surveys.

This shows steadily increasing customer reviews in areas like the application and approval process, communication, loan closing, and loan offerings.

Company
Mortgage Originations 2019
CFPB Complaints
Complaints per 1,000 Mortgages
2020 JD Power Rating
Wells Fargo
1,026,800 342 0.33 840/1,000
Quicken Loans
774,900 187 0.24 883/1,000
Chase
527,600 188 0.36 860/1,000
Bank of America
466,552 245 0.53 860/1,000

Wells Fargo also does relatively well when it comes to customer complaints. Data registered with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau shows that Wells Fargo is right in line with Chase, the next-biggest mortgage bank. And it does better than some peers, like Bank of America.

Overall, its performance suggests you probably wouldn’t choose Wells Fargo Home Mortgage solely for its customer satisfaction. But you shouldn’t rule it out, either.

Keep in mind these customer service facts detail Wells Fargo’s performance as a loan originator but not as a loan servicer.

Loan products at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage

As you’d expect of a big bank, Wells Fargo has a wide range of mortgage options. These include:

  • Fixed-rate mortgages — Choose your fixed-rate loan term from 30, 20 ,or 15 years (only 30 or 15 years for jumbo loans) with low down payment options
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages — Choose a fixed rate for an initial 5- or 7-year period (or 10 if you want a jumbo loan). After that, your rate can fluctuate each year
  • VA loans (30 years) — VA loans offer zero down payment for qualifying service members and veterans, plus other privileges
  • FHA loans — Use an FHA loan to put down as little as 3.5% of the purchase price. But note that you’ll have to pay continuing mortgage insurance premiums (MIP)
  • USDA loans — Wells Fargo calls this program the Easy to Own Guaranteed Rural Housing program. Like all USDA loans, it allows zero down payment in qualified rural or suburban areas
  • Jumbo loans — For when you want to borrow more than Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac allow in your area. In most of the U.S., a jumbo mortgage is any loan amount bigger than $548,250
  • New construction loans — An easier way to borrow when you’re building from the ground up
  • yourFirst Mortgage — A Wells Fargo proprietary product that lets you buy with a low down payment of 3%. Available to both first-time buyers and existing homeowners, in spite of the name

There’s a very good chance the type of mortgage you’ll need is on Wells Fargo’s list.

Though Wells Fargo has suspended its home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) during the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank has cash-out refinancing and rate and term refi options available.

yourFirst mortgage from Wells Fargo

The yourFirst mortgage from Wells Fargo lets home buyers purchase a house with just 3% down. Even better, the 3% down payment can come from gift money or down payment assistance instead of your own bank account.

Just note that if you use a low-down-payment program like yourFirst, with less than 20% down, your loan will include private mortgage insurance (PMI) payments.  

Wells Fargo also offers closing cost credits for certain home buyers using the yourFirst mortgage. Credits can help reduce your closing costs to limit the amount you have to pay out of pocket. 

To qualify for a closing cost credit, Wells Fargo says buyers must complete a homebuyer education class and have an “eligible down payment.”

You can learn more about yourFirst mortgage and how to qualify here

Wells Fargo Mortgage credit score requirements

Wells Fargo requires a 620 credit score for most mortgage borrowers. But that rule is not set in stone.

If you have a sparse credit history, Wells Fargo Mortgage is worth an even closer look. That’s because it will consider non-traditional credit information on a mortgage application.

That doesn’t mean Wells Fargo will lend to those with serious issues in their credit histories. But it will take into account alternative on-time payments made by those who have low scores because they haven’t borrowed much in the past.

Wells Fargo Mortgage FAQ

Does Wells Fargo have good mortgage rates?

In our analysis, Wells Fargo mortgage rates are about average for the industry. But importantly, the mortgage rates Wells Fargo advertises often include fewer discount points than competitors. That means you wouldn’t have to pay as much upfront to actually get the rate shown. So look at combined rates and points from Wells Fargo to see how it compares to other lenders.

What is yourFirst mortgage?

The yourFirst mortgage is a low-down-payment loan program from Wells Fargo. With yourFirst, home buyers can put as little as 3% down. In addition, yourFirst mortgage customers might qualify for a closing cost credit to reduce their upfront costs. 

What credit score is needed for a Wells Fargo mortgage?

Wells Fargo’s underwriting process typically requires a credit score of 620 or higher to get a mortgage. However, a great financial portfolio might work in your favor if your credit score is a little lower. For example, if you have a FICO score just under 620, but plenty of savings and a big down payment, Wells Fargo might still accept you for a mortgage. 

What credit score does Wells Fargo use?

Wells Fargo uses FICO credit scores to decide whether borrowers qualify for mortgages. For most Wells Fargo mortgage programs, you need a FICO score of 620 or higher to qualify.

Will Wells Fargo lower my mortgage payment?

Wells Fargo might be able to help you lower your mortgage payment through “loan modification.” Loan modification is when your lender helps you restructure your mortgage to make it more affordable. That could mean lowering the interest rate or increasing the loan term to lower your monthly payments. Mortgage modification is typically only available for homeowners who need mortgage relief and don’t qualify for a refinance.

Does Wells Fargo do FHA loans?

Yes, Wells Fargo offers FHA loans. FHA loans (backed by the Federal Housing Administration) are popular with first-time home buyers. They’re available with just 3.5% down and typically have lower credit score requirements. An FHA loan might be an alternative to a yourFirst mortgage from Wells Fargo. 

Does Wells Fargo offer pre-approvals online?

You can start the mortgage preapproval process on Wells Fargo’s website, but you’ll likely be contacted by a mortgage consultant to complete the process. A preapproval shows your price range and also shows sellers you’re a serious buyer.

Is Wells Fargo a good bank?

Despite its missteps within the past five years, Wells Fargo continues to improve its reputation with customers and regulators alike. If it offers you the lowest rate and fees, Wells Fargo could be a good choice for your mortgage. But if you’re offered a lower rate elsewhere — or you’re not comfortable working with Wells — there are plenty of other competitive mortgage lenders out there.

Where can you get a loan with Wells Fargo Home Mortgage?

NMLS ID: 399801

With over 5,000 locations across 36 states, Wells Fargo has more branches than many other big financial services providers.

Indeed, some reports say it has the most branches. So it may be ideal for those who prefer to conduct their business in person, especially if they don’t have an existing relationship with a local bank or credit union.

And for those who prefer digital services, the Wells Fargo Home Mortgage website is informative and fairly easy to navigate. The ability to save an application part way through and complete it later gives borrowers extra flexibility.

Is Wells Fargo the best mortgage lender for you?

Competitive rates and rising customer satisfaction scores are a testament to Wells Fargo’s popularity as a mortgage lender.

And while it’s hard to ignore the bank’s spotty track record, there may be a silver lining. The bank is now under intense scrutiny from customers and regulators. It’s making a serious effort to improve — and data shows that for many, it’s succeeding.

So if Wells Fargo can offer you a competitive mortgage rate, it’s definitely worth your consideration. You can check your personalized rates right here.

Verify your new rate (Jun 23rd, 2021)

Compare to These Lenders

Minimum down payment: 3%
Minimum credit score: 580
Minimum down payment: 3%
Minimum credit score: 620
Minimum down payment: 3%
Minimum credit score: Not Listed

Sources:

  1. Average mortgage rates and fees sourced from self-reported data mortgage lenders are required to file under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Rates and fees shown reflect the previous year’s data and may not align with today’s mortgage rates
  2. Monthly principal and interest payments calculated using TheMortgageReports.com mortgage calculator. Payments shown are based on a $200,000 loan amount and assume a “very good” credit score. Property taxes and homeowners insurance are not included. Your own monthly payment will vary
  3. Number of mortgage originations for the previous year sourced from self-reported data mortgage lenders are required to file under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
  4. CFPB Complaints reflect the number of mortgage origination or closing-related complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the previous year
  5. Complaints per 1000 mortgages reflect the number of official complaints filed against a lender with the CFPB for the previous year, compared to the lender’s total number of mortgage originations for the previous year
  6. JD Power Rating reflects the company’s customer satisfaction score according to JD Power’s most recent Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study. Survey respondents score their lenders in four areas: application/approval process, communication, loan closing, and loan offerings