SunTrust Mortgage Review for 2020

Human-centered customer service and affordable loan options make SunTrust attractive. But as with any lender, there are pros and cons to a SunTrust mortgage.

Lending flexibility 4.0
Customer service 3.5
Ease of application 3.5
Online experience 5.0
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
Doctor loan program

Best Features

  • Wide range of loan options
  • Plenty of low-down-payment mortgages
  • Customer support is available in person, online, or over the phone

Drawbacks

  • Interest rates are higher on average
  • Certain mortgages not available in AK, AZ, HI, and OR
  • Smaller branch network than some other major lenders

Overview

Founded in 1891, SunTrust Bank in more than 120 years old. It currently operates a mid-size branch network across 10 states and Washington, D.C.

Customers can apply for a mortgage in-person, online, over the phone, or through SunTrust's mobile app.

For those who apply, SunTrust offers a wide variety of home loan options, so many borrowers will be able to find what they need.

Rates seem a bit higher than average, but mortgage rates vary a lot by customer. Get a rate quote online or from your local SunTrust rep to learn whether this is the right lender for you.


Editor’s note: As of December 2019, SunTrust and BB&T have merged under the name Truist. SunTrust says that for now, this will not affect mortgage customers.

SunTrust mortgage rates

Looking at average 30-year rates for 2019, SunTrust appears to have higher mortgage rates than other major lenders. Its origination fees and loan costs are about average.

Average 30-year mortgage rates at major banks

 
SunTrust
Wells Fargo 
Quicken Loans
Chase
Average 30-Year Interest Rate, 20191
5.92% 4.22% 4.16% 4.22%
Monthly P&I Payment*
$1,190 $980 $973 $980
Median Loan Costs, 2019
$3,605 $3,484 $5,075 $3,440
Median Origination Charge, 2019
$1,000 $1,199 $2,085 $1,279

Remember, rates vary a lot by customer. And SunTrust could have higher rates on average if it helps more outside-the-box borrowers.

So if you like what SunTrust has to offer, it’s still worth getting a rate estimate to see how competitive this lender is for you.

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

*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 (Dec 2nd, 2020)

SunTrust mortgage review for 2020

SunTrust stresses the personal aspects of its mortgage offering.

“We want to make absolutely sure you get the mortgage that’s right for you,” the company says. “So we talk to you about it—face-to-face at a branch and over the phone.”

This level of engagement will appeal to many first-time buyers and others who appreciate traditional relationships in mortgage matters.

Even better, SunTrust has a bevy of low- and no-down payment mortgage options. Along with its face-to-face customer service, this could make SunTrust especially attractive to new home buyers.

But it may be less of a draw for those who prefer the more modern, Quicken Loans style of mortgage buying — which reduces personal interactions down to almost zero.

In theory, such technophiles may be able to use SunTrust’s online application process to achieve a similar type of engagement. But the app does seem geared to encouraging calls and meetings.

So, is this human-focused lender the right company for your home loan? To find out, compare rates and costs and read up on the pros and cons of working with SunTrust below.

Working with SunTrust mortgage

SunTrust may be geared to personal interactions, but it has a welcoming and useful online presence.

Its website provides plenty of information. And you can apply online and upload documents securely there. Helpfully, there’s a Spanish-language version, too.

In addition, there’s an app, called the SunTrust SmartGUIDE.

This allows you to make applications using mobile devices. And it lets you save your application at any point and then continue with it later.

SunTrust customer service reviews

SunTrust seems to have a good reputation for customer service.

Fewer than one in one thousand SunTrust mortgage customers filed an official complaint against it in 2019.

Company
Mortgage Originations 2019
CFPB Complaints 2019
Complaints Per 1,000 Mortgages
2020 JD Power Rating
SunTrust
147,700 56 0.38 Not Rated
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

Of course, customer service often depends on the individual loan officers in your area.

If you get a low rate quote from SunTrust and want to work with the company, find friends and neighbors who have worked with SunTrust. And check online reviews in your area.

If their experiences were positive, SunTrust might be a great choice for you.

Mortgage loan products at SunTrust mortgage

As you’d expect from a big bank, SunTrust Mortgage has a pretty comprehensive portfolio of products.

Although it caters to virtually all borrowers, it does seem especially welcoming of those who have limited down payments. These options tend to be good for first-time buyers.

SunTrust’s mortgage loan products include:

  • Fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) — Choose to secure your mortgage rate for the entirety of the loan, which can last 30 years or a shorter 10, 15, or 20
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) — You can fix your rate for the first five, seven or 10 years of your loan. After that, your rate will float with the market
  • Jumbo loans — For those who need to borrow above the cap for conventional loans, which is currently $510,400 in most areas
  • FHA loans — A government-backed program that lets you make a 3.5 percent down payment and has looser credit requirements
  • VA loans — Zero-percent down payment and other benefits for service members and veterans who qualify
  • USDA loans — Zero-down payment for eligible homes in designated rural and suburban areas. You must have a low or moderate income to qualify
  • Doctor Loan Program — Zero-down payment and other benefits for eligible dentists, physicians, and licensed residents/interns/fellows

SunTrust also offers both HomeReady and Home Possible mortgages.

These two home loan programs, backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, let buyers qualify with as little as three percent down. They’re meant to be accessible for lower-income buyers and families.

All told, SunTrust has a wider range of mortgages than many competitors. It might turn out to have home loan options for people who have trouble qualifying elsewhere.

SunTrust home equity loans 

SunTrust does not appear to offer home equity loans. But the company does offer home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). 

SunTrust home equity lines of credit are available from $10,000 to $500,000, with a 10 year “draw period.” (The draw period is the amount of time you can borrow from the HELOC before you pay it back in full.) 

If you’re already a SunTrust customer, you might be eligible for a 0.25% lower HELOC rate than non-SunTrust customers. 

As opposed to a home equity loan (which is a one-time lump sum) a HELOC is a rotating line of credit that you can borrow from and pay off on an ongoing basis. 

A HELOC works a little like a credit card, but secured against your home. The amount you can borrow depends on your home equity and your credit score. And you can only borrow from a HELOC for a set time period (the draw period) before you must pay it back in full.  

How do I get rid of PMI?

To get rid of PMI with SunTrust, you must have at least 20% equity in your home. Put otherwise, your loan-to-value ratio needs to be at 80% or lower.

That’s the rule for requesting to cancel PMI (private mortgage insurance) on conventional loans from any lender. Keep in mind, though, that by law, lenders don’t have to cancel your PMI until you reach 22% equity.

If you want to cancel FHA mortgage insurance (MIP), you still need 20% equity. But you’ll also have to refinance into a conventional loan without PMI to actually get rid of your insurance. That’s because all FHA loans require mortgage insurance, regardless of loan-to-value ratio. 

To cancel SunTrust PMI, you can send a written request to the bank once your loan reaches 20% equity. You’ll need to be up-to-date on your mortgage payments. 

And you’ll also need a new appraisal — which you have to pay for. But a new appraisal is often in the homeowner’s benefit, because rising home prices can push your equity up to 20% before you’ve actually paid off that much of the loan. 

Alternatively, when you reach 22% equity, your conventional PMI should fall off automatically. 

To cancel FHA MIP, talk to SunTrust about your options for refinancing into a conventional loan without mortgage insurance.

Note that you can refinance to remove PMI with any lender. You don’t have to use the lender that holds your current FHA loan.

Where can you get a mortgage with SunTrust?

NMLS ID: 2915

According to NMLS, SunTrust currently has just two active mortgage lending branches, in Georgia and North Carolina.

Find a SunTrust branch near you using the bank’s locator service

That said, SunTrust is licensed to lend in 46 states. So you can still get a SunTrust mortgage online or over the phone in any state except Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, or Oregon.

Is SunTrust the best mortgage lender for you?

SunTrust has a strong focus on human customer service and a wide variety of loan products. That might make it a good choice for first-time home buyers who need a little extra guidance and flexible loan requirements.

No matter who you are, SunTrust could be a good choice if it offers competitive rates and fees.

Compare a rate quote from SunTrust with a few other banks to find out whether it’s competitive for you.

Verify your new rate (Dec 2nd, 2020)

Compare to These Lenders

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Minimum credit score: 580
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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