With interest rates near all-time lows and housing values on the rise, you may be considering purchasing or refinancing a home. When searching for a lender, you want one that is trustworthy, reputable, and dependable.
Wells Fargo may be an option worth considering. In addition to its banking products, it offers mortgage loans with competitive rates and terms.
This Wells Fargo mortgage review offers the insights you need to make an informed decision about buying or refinancing your home with Wells Fargo.
- An overview of Wells Fargo
- Which loan products does Wells Fargo offer?
- Conventional loans at Wells Fargo
- Government-backed loans at Wells Fargo
- Refinancing a mortgage with Wells Fargo
- What makes Wells Fargo different
- What Wells Fargo customers are saying
- FAQs about Wells Fargo
- Bottom line on Wells Fargo
An overview of Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo bank is headquartered in San Francisco and is one of the world's leading financial institutions, with approximately $1.9 trillion in assets. It was founded in March 1852 by Henry Wells and William G. Fargo to help customers send payments securely and to provide reliable places to access money, especially while traveling.
Over the last 170 years, this bank has grown considerably. It currently serves over 70 million customers, including one in three U.S. households. Though many of our readers may be familiar with the bank's credit cards — such as the Wells Fargo Propel American Express Card or the new Wells Fargo Active Cash Card — it also offers a wide array of banking, lending, and investment products.
Which loan products does Wells Fargo offer?
Wells Fargo customers can apply for mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, student loans, and more.
As a mortgage lender, Wells Fargo offers loans for borrowers buying or refinancing their houses. If you have enough equity in your home, you might even be able to do a cash-out refinance with Wells Fargo to pull out some of that equity. However, it’s not currently offering home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) or home equity loans.
When applying for a Wells Fargo home loan, you have several mortgage products with different durations and interest rates to choose from. Overall, they generally fall into two buckets – conventional or government-backed loans.
Conventional loans at Wells Fargo
Conventional loans at Wells Fargo are the traditional mortgage that people often think of when buying a home. These loans generally require a good credit score and at least a 20% down payment. Closing costs can vary, but are generally around 2%-5% of the home's purchase price. Wells Fargo offers both "conforming" and “non-conforming” conventional loans:
- Conforming loans: These fall under a certain amount and can be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. When a bank sells a mortgage to one of these agencies, it frees up cash to lend to the next round of borrowers.
- Non-conforming loans: These are conventional loans that don’t meet Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac guidelines. For instance, a jumbo loan from Wells Fargo that exceeds loan limits might fall into this category.
Borrowers applying for a loan with Wells Fargo can also choose from fixed and adjustable-rate conforming mortgage loans:
- Fixed-rate loans: These loans have a fixed interest rate over the loan term, and the combined principal and interest payment will not change until the loan is paid off.
- Adjustable-rate loans: These loans may provide a short fixed-rate term (usually 3 to 7 years), then the interest rate adjusts every 6 to 12 months based on current rates. When rates start to adjust, they can go up or down. They also typically have a maximum they can adjust each period and for the life of the loan. With an adjustable-rate mortgage, your monthly payment will change when the interest rate on your loan changes.
Loan terms can range from 10 to 30 years. The total amount you’re approved for can vary based on your creditworthiness, debt-to-income ratio, and other factors.
|Varies based on creditworthiness and other factors
|Up to 30 years
Government-backed loans at Wells Fargo
Government-backed loans could be a good option for first-time homebuyers and borrowers with lower FICO credit scores or smaller down payments. There are several mortgage programs and loan options, including those backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).
You might be able to choose between a fixed- or adjustable-rate option with certain government-backed loans, though all USDA loans are fixed-rate. And you could potentially qualify for a mortgage with no or low down payment. Closing costs can vary but are generally in the 2%-6% range.
The downside to these loans is that borrowers may have to pay additional fees when the loan is taken out and extra fees every month until the loan is paid off. Many borrowers start out with one of these loans, then refinance into a conventional mortgage to eliminate the monthly fees once they have enough equity.
FHA loans at Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo also offers FHA loans, which give borrowers the opportunity to buy a home with as little as 3.5% down.
FHA loans can be fixed or adjustable-rate, and they require both upfront and monthly mortgage insurance premiums over the life of the loan. These premiums can make them more expensive in the long run. FHA loans could be a good option for eligible borrowers who don’t have the traditional 20% down payment to buy a home.
|Varies based on where you live
|Up to 30 years
|30-year fixed: As low as 6.202% (as of May 4, 2023)
USDA loans at Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo also offers access to the Guaranteed Rural Housing Program from the USDA, which helps qualifying low-to-moderate-income borrowers in eligible rural and suburban areas purchase a home. USDA loans are fixed-rate mortgages with 30-year terms.
Loans can provide financing of up to 100% of a home’s purchase price. However, the USDA does charge a one-time guarantee fee and an annual fee to the borrower. These loans could be a good option for borrowers having trouble saving for a down payment and living outside of major metropolitan areas.
|Varies based on state, county, and income
|30-year fixed: As low as 6.202% (as of May 4, 2023)
VA loans at Wells Fargo
Fixed and variable VA loans are available for veterans of the U.S. military, active-duty servicemembers, and qualifying spouses. With veteran home loans, qualifying borrowers can purchase or refinance a home with as little as 0% down. These loans require a one-time VA funding fee that could be paid at closing or rolled into the loan.
While the VA does not have a minimum credit score requirement, some lenders do require scores to be above a certain level. VA loans might be a good option for eligible members of the military, veterans, or qualifying spouses who want to buy a home with no (or a low) down payment.
|Up to $484,350 (higher limits may be available in high-cost areas)
|Up to 30 years
|30-year fixed: As low as 5.816% (as of May 4, 2023)
Refinancing a mortgage with Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo also offers mortgage refinance loans, and you don't need to have your original mortgage with Wells Fargo in order to refinance with them. Eligible homeowners could refinance with Wells Fargo to reduce their monthly payments, shorten their loan term, drop their interest rate, or pull out cash.
For example, if you have a 30-year mortgage of $200,000 with a fixed 4.0% interest rate, your principal and interest payment would be $955. After five years, interest rates have fallen, and you decide to refinance to lock in these lower rates. You've paid down approximately $20,000, so a new loan would be about $180,000. You don't want to restart the 30-year mortgage clock again, so you lock in a 15-year loan with a fixed 2.50% interest rate. Your new mortgage payment would be around $1,200 (not including taxes and insurance).
While your monthly payment increases by about $250, you're able to shave off 10 years of payments, which would save you approximately $70,000 over the life of your loan.
In general, a Wells Fargo mortgage refinance could be well suited for someone with a higher interest rate, a good amount of equity in their home, or a combination of the two.
When you apply for a refinance, even if your existing loan is with Wells Fargo, you'll have to pay closing costs for the loan. Depending on the interest rate you choose, you may receive a credit or pay discount points on the loan. Many borrowers roll these fees into their loan amount to avoid paying them out of pocket, so if you’re planning to refinance, ask if that’s an option.
What makes Wells Fargo different
In many ways, the Wells Fargo mortgage process is similar to that of other large banks. You can submit your application online and upload many of the requested documents through the bank's online portal. This provides an easier and more convenient way to submit your required documents.
Wells Fargo is a large company, which is both good and bad. Its size allows for numerous employees to get involved and ensure that your loan is moving forward. However, you might also have multiple points of contact through the loan process, which could be challenging or confusing.
What Wells Fargo customers are saying
Consumer reviews for Wells Fargo are mixed. While the company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB), it only gets a 1 out of 5-star rating across 62 customer reviews. After reading a handful of recent reviews, customers’ primary frustrations are missing paperwork and delays in the underwriting process.
You may or may not have a similar experience if you apply for a Wells Fargo home mortgage. If you do apply, keep these reviews in mind and hold your loan officer accountable for processing your paperwork properly and meeting deadlines.
FAQs about Wells Fargo
Is Wells Fargo a good company?
Wells Fargo is an established, legitimate lender with over 70 million customers. It offers a variety of financial services and banking, lending, and investment products for consumers and businesses.
The lender’s reputation was tarnished for several years after an account fraud scandal was uncovered in 2016. Since then, the bank has paid fines, reformed its practices, and has continued to grow into one of the largest financial services companies in the world.
What do you need to apply for a loan with Wells Fargo?
If you’re wondering how to get a loan with Wells Fargo, its mortgage application process is relatively similar to the process with other lenders. You'll likely need to provide your name, date of birth, contact information, marital status, Social Security number, and other personal information.
You’ll also need to provide proof of income and information about your assets. This info will be used to determine if you have enough money to fund the down payment, make payments, and still have a cash reserve for unexpected expenses.
How much are closing costs with Wells Fargo?
Closing costs can vary based on the type of loan, the amount of the loan, and other factors. Most borrowers will pay for an appraisal, title insurance, and other closing costs.
What is the minimum credit score for Wells Fargo?
The minimum credit score for a Wells Fargo mortgage varies depending upon which loan program you are applying for. However, government-backed loan programs have flexible credit standards for borrowers with a limited credit history or a less-than-perfect credit score.
When you apply for a loan, your loan goes through underwriting to determine if your credit score, income, loan-to-value, debt-to-income, and other metrics qualify you for the loan. If you don't qualify for one program, your loan officer may be able to recommend another.
How do you contact Wells Fargo?
You can chat with a Wells Fargo mortgage consultant over the phone at 877-510-2078 to discuss loan options or the preapproval process. During the application and underwriting process, your loan officer is the best person to speak with about your loan. They will have the latest information about the process and next steps.
Existing customers with questions about their loans can contact Wells Fargo mortgage customer service at 800-357-6675. They are open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Eastern time on Saturdays.
Bottom line on Wells Fargo
Wells Fargo offers a variety of lending options, whether you are buying a new home or refinancing an existing loan. Plus, you have the option to consolidate all of your banking and borrowing needs with one institution to simplify your finances, which can be convenient.
If you are shopping around for a home loan, check out our picks for the best mortgage lenders.