Navy Federal Review | Mortgage Refinance

Money; Getty Images
Money; Getty Images

Navy Federal Credit Union (NFCU) serves members of the U.S. military members and veterans, as well as their eligible family members. In this review, we evaluate Navy Federal as a lending institution and cover its various mortgage refinance options. This way, you can decide if it should be one of the lenders you’ll get a quote from when it’s time for refinancing your home loan.

  • Navy Federal’s Services

  • Navy Federal’s Credentials

  • Navy Federal Accessibility

  • Navy Federal’s Customer Satisfaction

Navy Federal Mortgage Refinance Overview

Pros

  • Several refinance loan programs

  • No Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) required for any of its mortgage loan products

  • Up to 100% LTV (loan-to-value)

Cons

  • Credit union membership is limited to a specific population

  • Must become a member of NFCU to be eligible for a mortgage refinance loan

Navy Federal Credit Union offers a full slate of banking services and personal finance products, including mortgage refinance loans. These products are ideal for those looking for better loan terms and interest rates or who want to convert the equity in their home to cash.

We think Navy Federal should be on the list of lenders for your upcoming refinance mortgage due to how they evaluate homeowners and potential borrowers. The lender considers both credit score and your relationship with the credit union, which could improve your approval odds and/or loan terms, including your loan amount, monthly payment, down payment and closing costs.

Navy Federal’s Services

Navy Federal is a credit union exclusively for service members but that still operates as a full-service bank. It offers several options for deposit accounts, credit cards ,personal loans, real estate and more..

This review will focus mainly on NFCU’s mortgage refinance products.

What Navy Federal offers

Navy Federal’s mortgage refinance options include:

  • VA mortgages (backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs)

  • Streamline VA loans

  • Military Choice loans

  • Homebuyers Choice

  • Conventional loans (fixed-rate mortgage and adjustable rate mortgage options)

  • Jumbo loans (fixes and adjustable rate loan options)

  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOC)

  • Second home financing

If you think now is a good time to refinance and you happened to be a Navy Federal member, you should speak with one of their lending representatives to determine the best loan option for your circumstances.

The good news is that, if you’re not quite ready to apply, the Navy Federal website has quite a bit of information on its general rates — you have to log in and apply for personalized rates —, along with a mortgage refinance calculator and educational content on home loans.

What Navy Federal doesn’t offer

Navy Federal doesn’t do business with nonmembers or the general public. If you can’t prove your relationship to a service member who is or has served in the armed forces, then you will not be eligible to open an account or benefit from its financial products and services.

Here are more specific guidelines on NFCU’s member eligibility requirements:

Active duty, retired & veterans

Family members

Department of Defense Civilians

Minors

Active Duty members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, National Guard and Space Force

Parents

DoD civilian employees

Children (including adopted and stepchildren)

Delayed Entry Program (DEP)

Grandparents

U.S. Government employees assigned to DoD installations

Grandchildren

DoD Officer Candidate/ROTC

Spouses

DoD contractors assigned to U.S. Government installations

DoD Reservists

Siblings

DoD civilian retirees and annuitants

Veterans, retirees and annuitants

Children (including adopted and stepchildren)

Grandchildren

Household members

Navy Federal does offer specific loan products for first-time homebuyers (FHA loans) or for rural properties (USDA loans).

Navy Federal’s Credentials

Navy Federal is the largest credit union in the U.S. based on assets and members. The credit union has over 12 million members and 350 branches worldwide, with headquarters in Vienna, Virginia.

Here’s more information about Navy Federal that will help you fully vet the organization if you are considering it for a refinance estimate.

Licenses and Registrations

Navy Federal Credit Union is a licensed lender whose Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) ID is 399807, which is tied to their Vienna, VA headquarters. However, the credit union has hundreds of Residential Mortgage Loan Originators (RMLO’s) that operate under the Navy Federal name.

Awards and Certifications

Navy Federal’s awards and recognitions page is full of accolades. The most notable include:

  • FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For®

  • Highest score in J.D. Power 2020 Credit Card Satisfaction Study

  • Highest score in J.D. Power 2021 Consumer Financing Satisfaction Study (auto lending)

  • Ranked number one among multichannel banks/credit unions for customer experience in Forrester’s proprietary 2021 CX Index™ survey for six consecutive years

  • Rated a Top 10 U.S. Brand by KPMG US Connected Experience – Customer Experience Excellence Report, 2020

Regulatory or Legal Actions

Navy Federal has been the subject of some lawsuits and allegations around their banking practices. These lawsuits include

  • A class action lawsuit alleging that NFCU didn’t properly warn members about the fraud risk of using Zelle, a peer-to-peer payment network

  • A class action lawsuit involving alleged violations of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA)

  • In 2016, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) took action against Navy Federal Credit Union for making false threats about debt collection.

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.

Navy Federal Accessibility

Navy Federal has over 350 physical branches. Customers can access their account via phone, app or web browser 24/7.

Here’s more information on contacting NFCU.

Availability

NFCU’s mortgage applications and servicing department is available Monday through Saturday, 7 am to midnight EST and Sundays, 9 am to midnight EST. You can reach NFCU lending representatives via phone at 1-888-842-6328.

The mortgage lender’s general mailing address is P.O. Box 3000 Merrifield, VA 22119-3000, though there may be other mailing addresses for mortgage payments and error resolutions.

According to Navy Federal’s website, the credit union observes the following holidays:

  • New Year’s Day

  • M.L. King Jr.’s Birthday

  • President’s Day

  • Memorial Day

  • Juneteenth

  • Independence Day

  • Labor Day

  • Columbus Day

  • Veterans Day

  • Thanksgiving Day

  • Christmas Day.

Local holidays may also be observed in some locations. Check with your local branch for details.

User Experience

Users can find a bit of information on Navy Federal’s website without having to log in or create a bank account. You can see current mortgage and home refinance rates, as well as more specific rates.

There’s also the option of signing up for weekly updates on rates for the home lending products you are considering. Moreover, the Navy Federal website provides plenty of information about the mortgage refinance steps, informing you about the process and what to expect from the process.

Limitations

Some loan types, products and terms may not be available depending on your state or country of residence. Be sure to speak with a Navy Federal loan officer to understand which NFCU home loan products you are eligible for.

Navy Federal’s Customer Satisfaction

Here, we’ll take a look at more information regarding Navy Federal’s customer satisfaction ratings. We’ll primarily be going through its online reviews and common complaints that can be found in said reviews.

Third-party Ratings

Because Navy Federal has so many locations, there are several location-specific ratings on sites like Google Business, Yelp and the Better Business Bureau. We didn’t include that feedback in this section due to the decentralized nature of these reviews.

However, we did find several reviews on the lender’s Trustpilot profile, which shows a 4.7 out of 5-star rating with almost 13,000 reviews.

Customer Complaints

Navy Federal offers many banking products, so customer reviews cover all sorts of experiences with NFCU’s service. As a result, we could not isolate comments solely related to the mortgage refinance loan.

Here are a few common complaints we found on its Trustpilot profile:

  • Problems controlling fraudulent activity and account access

  • Not getting approved for expected rates and terms or not being approved for loans at all

  • Technology hiccups on its smartphone app and with the website’s interface

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

Navy Federal FAQ

What FICO Score does Navy Federal use?

According to the organization's website, Navy Federal uses the FICO scoring model (as opposed to the VantageScore) to determine eligibility for its products, such as credit cards, auto loans and home loans. Navy Federal also considers your banking history and overall credit score when evaluating you for a loan.

Is USAA or Navy Federal better?

Navy Federal's advertised mortgage and refinance rates are slightly lower than those of the USAA as of the time of this writing. However, the rate you receive for your home loan or refinance will depend on your creditworthiness, the subject property and several other factors.

How long does a Navy Federal mortgage take to close?

It typically takes 30 days to close on your mortgage with Navy Federal once you've submitted all required paperwork and documents.

How We Evaluated Navy Federal

Our team reviews information from the organization’s website, customer review sites, industry watchdog reports and information from consumer advocacy sites.

Summary of Money’s Navy Federal Review

If you’ve been banking with Navy Federal for even just a short time and are a proven, responsible borrower, your approval odds for its other financial products will be much higher. As an NFCU member, you can usually count on getting favorable rates and terms for many of their lending products — including mortgage refinances.

Even if you believe you are getting the best rates with NFCU, we still encourage you to look for competitive quotes and choose the best mortgage refinance company that works for you.

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