LoanDepot Mortgage Lender Review

LoanDepot has made its name in tech-first mortgage lending and refinance. Many customers love this model, but as with any lender, there are pros and cons.

Lending flexibility 3.5
Customer service 4.5
Ease of application 3.0
Online experience 4.0
Minimum down payment 3.5%
Minimum credit score 580
Loan Products Offered

Fixed-rate mortgage
Adjustable rate mortgage
Jumbo mortgage
FHA mortgage
VA mortgage
203k loan

Best Features

  • Innovative mortgage technologies
  • Good range of mortgage products offered
  • High levels of customer satisfaction

Drawbacks

  • Branches are not widely available
  • Rates and closing costs are average
  • Online information is restricted until you've set up an account

Overview

In an industry of financial giants, loanDepot is something of a new kid on the block. It's only been around since 2010.

In that time, though, loanDepot has grown to become the fourth-largest mortgage lender in the U.S.

It's known for deploying innovative mortgage technologies that make the home financing process smoother and faster for customers — especially those that are willing to conduct business online.

Overall, loanDepot is a strong contender if your main objective is to land a mortgage or refinance with minimum hassle.

Be sure to compare rates and closing costs and make sure loanDepot's pricing is competitive for you, too.


Compare LoanDepot mortgage rates

At the time of publishing this review (October 2019), loanDepot does not display loan rates on its site. Previously, average rates could be found at the “compare mortgage rates” section of loanDepot’s site. You can check back to see whether they post rates again in the near future.

In the meantime, you’ll have to complete a rate quote application to see loanDepot’s interest rates. The process requires you to add personal details and contact information.

That makes it difficult to compare loanDepot to other major lenders — unless you’re ready to commit to speaking to a live rep.

In the past, loanDepot’s rates and fees have been about average compared to other major lenders. To give you a rough idea of what those rates look like, here are average rate estimates from a few leading mortgage companies.

30-year fixed-rate mortgage estimates at major banks

 
loanDepot
Quicken Loans
Wells Fargo
Chase
Interest Rate 1
Not displayed 3.99% 3.75% 3.625%
APR 2
Not displayed 4.258% 3.865% 3.733%
Mortgage Points 3
Not displayed 2.00 0.375

1.324

Monthly P&I Payment
$916 $889 $876

Rates shown here are current as of 10/29/2019. Monthly principal and interest payments are based on a home price of $240,000 and down payment of 20% for a home located in Washington. 

These numbers are a snapshot meant for general comparison only. Your own mortgage costs will vary depending on your loan, your finances, the economy and other factors

Compare personalized rates from major lenders. Start here (Nov 22nd, 2019)

LoanDepot mortgage lender review for 2019

Despite being a relatively new mortgage company, loanDepot has quickly grown into a serious player.

From its headquarters in Foothill Ranch, CA, loanDepot is licensed to operate in all 50 states and has almost 200 branches or “lending stores.” It’s also America’s fourth-largest mortgage lender according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

So, what’s loanDepot’s special sauce? Many customers choose the company for its innovative technology and good customer support.

LoanDepot says it “matches borrowers through technology and high-touch customer care with the credit they need to fuel their lives.” That makes it sound like a dating website for money, which isn’t a bad analogy.

The Mortgage Reports Review of loanDepot Mello Smartloan

LoanDepot puts its digital lending technology, mello smartloan, at the forefront. Image: loanDepot

LoanDepot’s main proprietary technology, called “mello smartloan,” pairs borrowers with loans based on their “income, employment, and assets” — all of which happens online. Ideally, this should make the process of getting a home loan simpler and faster.

But with loanDepot’s decision not to post rates online, you’ll have to commit to an application in order to learn whether it’s the cheapest lender for you.

So, should you take the time to fill out a loanDepot app? We dig into the pros and cons below.

Working with LoanDepot mortgage

Unless you happen to live near one of loanDepot’s few branches, you’ll likely end up handling the majority of your home financing online, backed up by phone calls with one of the company’s 2,000+ licensed loan officers.

Of course, this digital-first method won’t be a drawback for the sort of tech-savvy customers loanDepot means to attract.

The loanDepot website feels modern and welcoming. It lets you apply online, upload documents securely and check your application’s status. Ultimately, you’ll be put in touch with a loan officer to finish the process.

There are just two drawbacks.

First, loanDepot does not offer a mobile app for mortgage shoppers. That’s normal across the industry, but seems strange at a company known for ahead-of-the-curve technology.

Second, it seems that a loanDepot application could open you up to potentially unwanted advertising. The fine print on its loan form reads:

“By clicking ‘continue’, you are authorizing loanDepot.com, LLC and its corporate parent, affiliates and partners to deliver or cause to be delivered to you (including through agents and authorized third-parties) telemarketing promotions for products or services in addition to those about which you are applying.”

Hello, dinner time phone calls.

Still, pushy sales tactics might be a small price to pay if loanDepot’s mello smartloan technology lives up to its promise.

What is loanDepot mello smartloan?

Mello smartloan digitizes and automates many of the steps involved in processing a loan application.

It verifies your income, assets and employment; checks your credit; organizes your appraisal, title insurance and flooding status; and lets you close online.

The company reckons this could shave 75-80 percent off normal lead times.

That means some customers might be able to finalize their home loan in as little as eight days. For comparison, the average time to close a home loan the ‘traditional’ way takes between 44 and 48 days.

All in all, loanDepot has some unique offerings that are particularly good for tech lovers. It’s just a shame you have to engage with the company’s “corporate parent, affiliates and partners,” too.

LoanDepot customer service reviews

Many loanDepot customers love the company. So many, in fact, that it took sixth place out of 25 lenders in J.D. Power’s 2018 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study.

In J.D. Power’s study, loanDepot scored 847 on a 1,000-point scale. That was significantly above the industry average, though below QuickenLoans’ first-place score of 876.

Company
Mortgage
Originations 4
CFPB Complaints 5
Complaints per
1,000 mortgages 6
2018 JD Power
Rating 7
loanDepot
135,000 75 0.55 847/1,000
Quicken Loans
396,000 170 0.43 876/1,000
Wells Fargo
312,000 419 1.34 817/1,000
Chase
155,000 202 1.30 834/1,000

LoanDepot scores particularly high for its “loan offerings” — meaning the variety of loan products available — and customer interaction, which is a testament to its online experience.

We also found that loanDepot performs well for customer complaints, according to federal regulator The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

True, it again doesn’t do quite as well as Quicken for complaints per 1,000 loans. But it’s close — and way better than most competitors.

Mortgage loan products at loanDepot

LoanDepot has a broader range of mortgage products than some of its competitors. That means different types of buyers should be able to find a fitting loan — from those with low down payments and challenging credit to multi-million dollar borrowers.

LoanDepot offers the following types of mortgage loans:

  • Fixed-rate mortgages — Most borrowers opt for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, though 10-, 15- or 20-year options are all available with higher monthly payments
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) — Offers a lower rate, which is fixed for an initial period of 3, 5, 7 or 10 years, and a floating rate for the rest of the loan term
  • Jumbo loans — Offers a higher cap than conventional loans, generally for mortgages over $484,350. LoanDepot lets you borrow up to $2 million
  • FHA loans — Backed by the Federal Housing Administration, FHA loans let you borrow with down payments as small as 3.5 percent of the purchase price and have more flexible credit requirements
  • VA loans — Eligible service members and veterans can borrow with zero down payment, no continuing mortgage insurance payments, and easier credit hurdles
  • 230k loans — These are special loans for fixer-upper homes, that let you finance up to $30,000 more than the home’s value for necessary repairs

If you can’t decide which would suit you best, loanDepot says its experts will help you choose.

Where can you get a loan with LoanDepot?

NMLS ID: 174457

With only 200 physical locations nationwide, your odds of living near a loanDepot branch are slim. If you do happen to have a loanDepot in your neighborhood, face-to-face interaction is an option.

Overall, the company seems geared more toward tech-savvy borrowers than those who prefer a traditional experience.

That’s not to say you’ll be on your own, adrift in cyberspace. LoanDepot employs more than 2,000 licensed loan officers. At some point in the process, you’ll likely end up speaking with one of them. You just won’t be sitting at their desk in an office when you do it.

Is LoanDepot the best mortgage lender for you?

If you’re gung-ho about getting the whole mortgage process done online, loanDepot is likely a good place to start.

With such a large volume of customers and consistently high satisfaction scores, it’s a safe bet your mortgage or refinance process with loanDepot will go smoothly.

Just remember that rates and costs vary by customer. Make sure loanDepot’s convenience comes hand in hand with a low rate and reasonable closing costs before signing on.

Compare rates from up to four major lenders to find your best deal. Start here. (Nov 22nd, 2019)

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  1. Interest Rate: The rate you pay in interest per year based on the current loan balance.
  2. APR: The total cost of getting the loan including the interest rate and closing costs.
  3. Discount Points: Mortgage points, also known as discount points, are fees paid directly to the lender at closing in exchange for a reduced interest rate. - Read More
  4. Mortgage Originations: The number of mortgages this lender closed. The most recent data available is from the 2017 Mortgage Market Activity and Trends, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), published May 2018.
  5. CFPB Complaints: The number of mortgage origination or closing related complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2018. We ignore complaints about issues that don't concern mortgage applications and closings, such as loan servicing, since some lenders don't service loans and therefore would have an unfair advantage in complaint numbers.
  6. Complaints per 1000 mortgages: The number of mortgage-related complaints compared to this lender's total mortgages originated. Due to data availability, we're comparing 2017 originations with 2018 complaints to arrive at the number of complaints per 1000 mortgages originated.
  7. JD Power Rating: On a 1,000 point scale, consumer insight company JD Power scores large banks across six factors: channel interactions, deposit accounts, credit accounts, investment accounts, convenience, and problem resolution.