How will my credit score affect my application?

A credit score is one of the pieces of information that we'll use to evaluate your application. Financial institutions have been using credit scores to evaluate credit card and auto applications for many years, but only recently have mortgage lenders begun to use credit scoring to assist with their loan decisions.

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What affect does a credit inquiry have on my credit score?

An abundance of credit inquiries can sometimes affect your credit scores since it may indicate that your use of credit is increasing.

But don't overreact! The data used to calculate your credit score doesn't include any mortgage or auto loan credit inquiries that are made within the 30 days prior to the score being calculated. In addition, all mortgage inquiries made in any 14-day period are always considered one inquiry. Don't limit your mortgage shopping for fear of the effect on your credit score.

Will I be charged a fee for authorizing you to access my credit information?
There is no charge to you for the credit information we'll access with your permission to evaluate your application online. You will only be charged for a credit report if you decide to complete the application process after your loan is approved.
How do you decide what information you need from me in order to process my loan?

We take full advantage of an automated underwriting system that allows us to request as little information as possible to verify the data you provided during your loan application. Gone are the days when it was necessary to verify every piece of data collected during the application.

The automated underwriting system compares your financial situation with statistical data from millions of other homeowners and uses that comparison to determine the level of verification needed. In many cases, a single W-2 or pay stub can be used to verify your income or a single bank statement can be used to verify the assets needed to close your loan.

Can I apply for a loan before I find a property to purchase?

Yes, applying for a mortgage loan before you find a home may be the best thing you could do! If you apply for your mortgage now, we'll issue an approval subject to you finding the perfect home.

You can use the pre-approval letter to assure real estate brokers and sellers that you are a qualified buyer. Having a pre-approval for a mortgage may give more weight to any offer to purchase that you make. When you find the perfect home, you'll simply call your Loan Officer to complete your application. You'll have an opportunity to lock in our great rates and fees then and we'll complete the processing of your request.

What are the requirements for my User Name?

When creating a User Name, be sure it meets these requirements:

  • Must be between six and 20 characters long
  • May be alphabetic or alphanumeric
  • Must not contain any spaces
  • We recommend including one or more of the following special characters for maximum protection: $*_-=.!~@
What are the requirements for my Password?

When creating a Password, be sure it meets these requirements:

  • Must be between six and 32 characters long
  • May be alphanumeric or a combination of letters or numbers and one or more of the following special characters for maximum protection: $*_-=.!~@
  • Must not contain any spaces
  • Cannot match the Username
Why do you need my telephone number?

We use your phone number to send a one-time security code that you'll need in order to complete the registration process. You can choose to receive the code via text or voice message.

Requiring something you know (User Name and Password) and something you have (your telephone) is called multi-factor authentication. This security strategy helps mitigate the risk of fraud, and is in accordance with guidance published by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC).

What is multi-factor authentication?

Online Banking technology uses multi-factor authentication to protect your account information. It's a two step sign-on process that makes hacking more difficult, because the hacker would need access to multiple items in order to breach your account.

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Will I need my phone every time I log in to my account? What is Reg D?

Regulation D limits the number of certain types of transactions on all savings and money market accounts. In other words, all financial institutions are required by regulation to treat all types of transactions differently than a checking account. Savings accounts (non-transaction accounts) are intended to be established for long-term savings with few withdrawals while checking accounts (transaction accounts) are intended to be established for day-to-day use. Checking accounts do not fall under Reg D and there is no monthly limit to automated transfers or withdrawals on them, so this notice does not apply to checking accounts.

Each Southeast Financial savings or money market account is allowed no more than six (6) “Reg D” withdrawals per calendar month from a savings/money market account.
What accounts are affected by Reg D?
  • Primary Membership Savings Accounts
  • Secondary Savings Accounts
  • Money Market Accounts
  • Christmas Club Accounts
What transactions are subject to Reg D?
  • Point of Sale (POS) debit card transactions: Transactions made from a savings account using a debit card at a retail merchant.
  • Audio Response (PAL) Transfers or Online Banking Transfers: Transfers from a savings account to another savings or checking account using PAL or Online Banking.
  • Overdraft Protection: Transfers made from a savings account to a checking account to cover an item, such as a check, pre-authorized debit, or a transaction initiated at an ATM or POS.
  • ACH Debits: A pre-authorized payment from a savings account to pay a third-party item (i.e. auto insurance, electric bill).
  • Employee Assisted Transfers: A phone request by a member to any of our employees to perform a transfer transaction from a savings account.
What transactions are not affected by Reg D?
  • Deposits
  • ATM cash withdrawals & transfers
  • In-person withdrawals & transfers
  • Any transaction from a checking account which does not necessitate an overdraft transfer from a savings account
  • Transfers to make Southeast Financial loan payments
  • Overdraft protection for a checking account made from a line of credit
  • Withdrawal or transfer requests made by mail if made payable to and mailed to the member
What happens when the Reg D limit is reached for the month?
  • Point of Sale (POS) debit card transactions: Additional authorization requests will be rejected.
  • Audio Response (PAL) Transfers or Online Banking Transfers: Your request will be rejected.
  • Overdraft Protection: Funds will not be automatically transferred from your savings account to pay an item if there are insufficient funds in your checking account to cover the amount of the item. Your item will be returned unpaid and an NSF fee will be charged to your account.
  • ACH Debits: Your ACH debit will be returned unpaid and an NSF fee will be charged to your account.
  • Employee Assisted Transfers: You will be informed that your limit has been reached and your request cannot be processed at that time.
How can I manage my accounts to avoid Reg D limits?

There are several ways to manage your account such as:

  • Open a Checking Account (some restrictions may apply).
  • Have your direct deposits sent to your checking account, which is not subject to Reg D. You can make unlimited transactions from your checking account.
  • Arrange for all ACH withdrawals and pre-authorized debits to come out of your checking account instead of a savings account.
  • Plan ahead and make one large transfer from your savings account instead of several small transfers.

Don’t have a Southeast Financial checking account? Learn more about our checking accounts, then visit any branch or call us at 615-743-3700 or 800-521-9653 to apply.

What is EFTPS

The Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) is a free service from the U.S. Department of the Treasury. EFTPS is a convenient way to make federal tax payments online or by phone, 24/7.

EFTPS is secure and easy to use - enabling you to schedule your payments in minutes.
Businesses can schedule payments once the liability is determined up to 120 days in advance.
Individuals can schedule estimated payments up to 365 days in advance.

How do I enroll?

1. Gather the following information:

  • Taxpayer Identification Number (Employer Identification Number or Social Security Number)
  • Bank account number and routing number
  • Address and name as they appear on your IRS tax documents

2. Visit www.eftps.gov

  • Select the Enrollment tab
  • Select Business or Individual
  • Enter the requested information and Submit

3. Get your temporary Internet password

After you receive your PIN, call 1-800-982-3526 to get a temporary Internet password.

How do I make a tax payment using EFTPS?

Payments must be scheduled at least one calendar day prior to the tax due date (before 8:00 p.m. ET). Remember, you can use EFTPS to make all federal tax payments and to review up to sixteen months of your tax payment history.

Online:

  1. Visit www.eftps.gov.
  2. Select "Make a Payment."
  3. Log in with your EIN/SSN/PIN and Internet password.*
  4. Enter the payment information in the step-by-step screens.
  5. When you're finished, save a copy of the payment Confirmation page.**

By Phone:

  1. Call 1-800-555-3453.
  2. Enter your EIN/SSN and PIN.
  3. Press 1 to make a payment.
  4. Follow the prompts to complete your payment.
  5. Record your EFT Acknowledgment Number.

*For your added security, the first time you visit www.eftps.gov, you will be prompted to change this password.
**This contains your EFT Acknowledgment Number that acts as a receipt for your payment instruction.

Using a Tax Professional?
If a payroll company, accountant, or other third party makes any federal tax payments for you, be sure to review this information with that entity.
Additional questions?
EFTPS Customer Service for Individuals 1-800-316-6541 | EFTPS Customer Service for Businesses 1-800-555-4477.
What are eStatements?
An eStatement is an electronic version of your statement. It provides you an alternate way to receive and store your monthly or quarterly statement from SFCU through Online Banking.
Are eStatements safe?
All security precautions have been taken to ensure the confidentiality of your electronic statement. Logging into Online Banking ensures that viewing your eStatement is safe as every other transaction you make with Southeast Financial.
How do I sign up for eStatements? Will I continue to receive paper statements?
No, your paper statements will stop once you sign-up for eStatements. If you sign up for eStatements by the last business day of the month, your next statement will come electronically
How will I receive eStatements?

After signing up for eStatements, you will receive your first email notification to the email address you specified at the beginning of the following month. You will continue to receive a monthly email notification that your eStatement is available. You will be provided a link to access your eStatement or you can log into Online Banking and click on the eStatements link anytime.

If you have a savings account only, you will only receive statements quarterly (January, April, July, and October), unless you have direct deposit or any other ACH transaction.

How long will I be able to view my eStatements online?
eStatements are available for 18 months online. You can also download and save eStatements for your records.
Will my eStatement look the same as my paper statement?
Yes, it will look almost identical and will include all inserts mailed with the paper statements. Variation may occur depending on your operating system and internet browser.
Is there a charge for eStatements?
No, eStatements are free!
How do I cancel my eStatement?
Log in to Online Banking and access your eStatements. Click on Settings then Discontinue/Resume Accounts. Check the box for the account you want to cancel and click submit. You can stop and start eStatements at any time. Remember that there is a $3 fee for paper statements.
What is a PDF file?
A PDF (Portable Document Formant) is a universal file formant that preserves all the fonts, formatting, graphics, and color of any source document, regardless of the application and platform used to create it. Adobe PDF files are compact and can be shared, viewed, navigated, and printed exactly as intended by anyone using Adobe Acrobat Reader.
How can I get Acrobat Reader?
You can download it for free from Adobe's website here.
I'm receiving an error message during eStatement registration. What can I do?
  • Make sure you've installed Acrobat Reader and it's up-to-date.
  • Check to see if you're using a recommended operating system and browser here.
  • Clear your browser's cache and cookies and try registering again.
  • If you continue to experience issues, call Member Services at 615-743-3700 or 1-800-521-9653.
How do I sign up for Mobile Banking? Does Mobile Banking cost anything?
No, Mobile Banking and all Southeast Financial apps are a free service provided to all our members. However, standard rates and fees from your wireless carrier may apply.
Where do I download the Southeast Financial app for my phone or tablet?

Click the icon to download the app for your device.
Southeast Financial Credit Union Mobile Banking - Southeast Financial Credit Union amazon-apps-kindle-us-black.png

How secure is Mobile Banking?
Mobile Banking uses several layers of technology to prevent unauthorized users from gaining access to the internal network. Mobile Banking's security professionals manage a sophisticated networking architecture that includes screening routers, filtering routers, and firewalls.
How can I maximize the security of my online account? I'm logging in for the first time. What is my username and password?
Your Mobile Banking username and password is the same as Online Banking. You can't use our Mobile Banking app until you set up Online Banking. Click Here to learn more about setting up Online Banking.
How do I change my Mobile Banking Password?

Since your Mobile Banking and Online Banking password are the same, it must be reset through Online Banking.

  1. Log in to Online Banking
  2. Click My Settings
  3. Next to Password, click Update
  4. Input your current password, new password, confirm your new password, and click save
I've forgotten my password. How do I retrieve or reset it?

Provide the information requested on the password reset page, and we'll send you a temporary password by email. Log in with your temporary password and then update your password in Online Banking under My Settings.

Do I have to enroll with Falcon to have my card monitored?

No. Falcon monitors all Southeast Financial credit and debit cards for fraudulent activity. No enrollment is required.

Is there a cost for the Falcon monitoring service?

No. All Southeast Financial credit and debit cards are covered by this service at no cost to the cardholder.

What types of transactions are considered suspicious or fraudulent?
Falcon monitors and analyzes transactions and assigns a rating to the transaction. Based on your normal spending patterns, if a questionable transaction is detected on your Southeast Financial debit or credit card, Falcon will contact you to verify the transaction. In some cases, the transaction may be declined at the point of purchase if the fraud rating is high.
How will I be notified if a transaction is considered suspicious or fraudulent?
If fraudulent activity is detected, Falcon will contact you using the primary telephone number we have on file. If there is no answer, a representative from Falcon will leave you a message requesting a call back to verify the suspected transaction. If you miss the phone call, you can contact the Falcon call center at 1-888-918-7313, 24-hours a day, 7 days a week.
How does Falcon verify that they are speaking with the card owner?
Falcon may ask you for information to verify your identity. For example, the last four digits of your Social Security number may be requested. They may also compare the phone number that you call from to see if it matches the phone number that is on file. You'll never be asked for information they already have, like your full account number, PIN or 3-digit code.
Falcon called my home number, but I wasn't there. Why didn't they call my cellphone or work number?
Falcon will contact you using the primary telephone number we have on file. Therefore, it is extremely important that your contact information is up to date. Contact us or visit any branch to verify your current contact information and make any necessary changes.
Can I reply back to the credit union instead of Falcon if I receive a phone call to verify a transaction?
To avoid delays with card usage or confirming potential fraud, we strongly recommend contacting the Falcon Fraud Monitoring Department directly. The staff at Falcon is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to quickly verify transactions and take appropriate action if fraud occurs on your account.
I missed the message from Falcon and now my card is blocked. What should I do?
If Falcon doesn’t hear back from you within 48 hours of calling, your card will be blocked from use as a precautionary measure. If Falcon has blocked your card, you can contact them to un-block it at 1-888-918-7313. They are available to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Do I still need to monitor my account on my own, since the Falcon service is in place? What is Falcon Fraud Monitoring?
With Falcon Fraud Protection service, your Southeast Financial credit and debit card transaction activity is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week to better detect fraudulent card use. Our goal is to protect members from the risk associated with fraud and identity theft. Please remember to frequently review your account activity and never hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns. To report fraudulent activity on your Southeast Financial credit or debit card during weekend or evening hours, please call the Falcon Fraud Protection Center at 1-888-918-7313.
Who do I call if I need to report fraudulent activity on my credit or debit card after business hours?

To report fraudulent activity on your Southeast Financial credit or debit card during weekend or evening hours, please call the Falcon Fraud Protection Center at 1-888-918-7313.

What is a wire transfer?

A wire transfer is a type of electronic payment service for transferring funds between financial institutions by wire through the Federal Reserve, the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) network, or the Clearing House Interbanks Payment System (CHIPS).

While we only handle wire transfers through the Federal Reserve System, we're able to process international wire transfers through our dedicated correspondent bank.

What information do I need to send a wire transfer?

Member Information

  • Name
  • Account Number
  • Phone Number
  • Purpose of Wire

Financial Institution Information

  • Name
  • ABA/Routing Number
  • SWIFT or Sort Code*
  • City and State
  • Intermediary Bank (if applicable)

Payee Information

  • Name
  • Address
  • Account Number
  • ICAN/CLABE*
  • Any Additional Instructions

Money Transfer Information

  • Transfer Amount
  • Currency*

*Needed for International Wires only

How do I submit a wire transfer?

Phone

Call 615-743-3700 or 800-521-9665 to initiate a transfer by phone.

Branch

Visit your nearest branch to initiate a transfer in person.

How much does it cost to send wire transfer?

Domestic
There is a $20 fee for any wire transfers within U.S. states and territories.

International
There is a $55 fee for any funds wired overseas.

What is the daily deadline for submitting wire transfers?

Domestic
2:00pm CST

International
10:30am CST

How long does it take for a wire transfer to be received?

Domestic
Anticipated Receipt: 1-2 business days

International
Anticipated Receipt: 5-7 business days

Are there any restrictions on where international transfers can be sent?

Southeast Financial does not send wire transfers to Belarus, Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria, Yemen or the Crimean Region of Ukraine.

What do I need to receive a wire transfer?

In order to receive a domestic or international wire transfer, provide the following information to the financial istitution initiating the transfer:

  • Name as titled on Southeast Financial account
  • Account number to which the funds should be credited
  • Volunteer Corporate Credit Union Routing/ABA Number: 264182395
  • Southeast Financial's Routing/ABA Number: 264081179
  • Southeast Financial's address: 220 S Royal Oaks Blvd., Franklin, TN 37064

For international transfers, members should instruct the sending financial institution to use a corresponding bank to facilitate the transfer to your account as Southeast Financial is not part of the SWIFT network. Southeast Financial will only receive transfers in U.S. currency.

How much does it cost to receive a wire transfer?

There is a $10 fee associated with receiving a wire transfer. Be aware that the financial institution initiating the transfer may charge a fee.

How long does it take for funds to be available in my account?

Incoming funds are processed upon receipt and posted to accounts the same day if received prior to 6:30pm.

Funds received after the cutoff will be posted the next business day.

How do I cancel a wire?

Call us at 800-521-9653 to cancel your transaction. If the wire is still at Southeast Financial, we can cancel it with no fees assessed.

If your wire has already been processed, we can submit a reversal request to the payee's financial institution and attempt to retrieve the funds.

Please note:

  • Wire transfers are immediate, final, and irrevocable. Reversal attempts may go unanswered.
  • Fees may be assessed by other financial institutions if the reversal request is successful.
  • There is no set time frame for receiving a response from the payee's financial institution. Contact Southeast Financial five business days after the initial cancellation to request an update of your inquiry.
How are exchange rates calculated for sending funds in foreign currency?

Southeast Financial partners with our dedicated correspondent bank to provide exchange rates for converting funds. This rate factors in the cost of exchanging funds in addition to the actual exchange rate. Prior to sending funds to be converted, you'll be quoted an exchange rate. Once agreed to, the rate is "locked" in and will be sent according to the agreed upon rate.

What are SWIFT, BIC, IBAN and CLABE numbers and how do I find them?

Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications (SWIFT) and Bank Identifier Codes (BIC) are used to locate and identify financial institutions that are primarily overseas.

An Internationa Bank Account Number (IBAN) is a series of alphanumeric characters that uniquely identifies an account held predominantly by banks in Eurozone countries. Clave Bancaria Esandarizada (CLABE) is a standard 18-digit number for bank accounts in Mexico.

You can obtain any of these numbers by asking the payee for their wiring instructions.

What is an EMV Chip card?
EMV chip cards incorporate micro-computer technology, providing increased security capabilities for both card transactions and your information, which is stored in the small metallic square on the front of the cards. EMV technology ensures that you have the most secure and seamless purchasing experience possible and is one of the most effective tools being using to prevent the spread of credit card fraud.
How do I get an EMV Chip card?

You don't need to do anything to upgrade to an EMV credit or debit card.

All non-chip debit cards were reissued with new debit cards containing the EMV chip in early 2016.

All non-chip credit cards will be replaced with credit cards containing the EMV chip as they expire.

If you have a Visa Credit Card, you may request a new card before your current card expires, but you'll need to pay a $10 reissue fee. Otherwise, you'll receive your new card shortly before your existing card expires.

What should I do when I get my new EMV Card?
When you receive your new EMV card, the card number will be different than the number on your old card. It's important that you contact any companies that take automatic payments using your card and ask that they update your account with this new number.


Because your new card will have a new card number, you'll need to call the PIN change line, 1-866-985-2273, to set up your PIN. You may use the same PIN as you used previously with your old card or pick a new one. The choice is yours, but it's important that you call to set it up in order to use your card when a PIN is required.

How do I use an EMV Chip card reader?

Using your EMV Chip card takes 3 simple steps:

  1. Insert your card into the bottom of the card reader.
  2. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete your transaction.
  3. Remove your card from the card reader when prompted.
Why is it more secure to use EMV credit and debit cards for payment transactions?

EMV cards store payment information in a secure chip rather than on a magnetic stripe, and the personalization of EMV cards is done using issuer-specific keys. Unlike a magnetic stripe card, it is virtually impossible to create a counterfeit EMV card that can be used to conduct an EMV payment transaction successfully.

What type of information is stored on EMV Chip Cards?
The microchip embedded in the card stores information required to authenticate, authorize and process transactions. This is the same type of information already stored in the magnetic stripe. No personal information about your account is stored on the chip card.
What are the benefits of EMV Chip Cards?
The biggest benefit of EMV chip cards lies in the powerful fraud prevention technology inherent in the chip. Because the EMV chip is essentially a small, secure computer, EMV cards are nearly impossible to counterfeit. By replacing the current unencrypted magnetic stripe with a chip embedded in the card, smartcard technology adds dynamic data to the transaction process, making it far less vulnerable to fraudsters.
Will magnetic stripes be discontinued on credit and debit cards?
No, magnetic stripes will continue to be used on cards so they can be used at terminals in countries that have not yet converted to chip technology, including the United States. Many major retailers have already made the conversion to EMV chip card readers. When you complete your transaction with these merchants, your chip card will be used for payment at the checkout. When paying a merchant who has not yet made the transition to EMV chip card readers, your card will be run through a magnetic stripe reader.
Where has EMV been adopted?

EMV has been implemented in more than 80 countries around the world, with approximately 1.5 billion EMV cards issued globally and 21.9 million POS terminals accepting EMV cards at the end of 2011. The U.S. payments infrastructure is now moving to EMV with incentives and requirements for issuers, acquirers/processors and merchants to adopt EMV.

The United States is one of the last countries to migrate to EMV. In 2011 and 2012, American Express, Discover, MasterCard and Visa all announced their plans for moving to an EMV-based payments infrastructure in the U.S.

What are Purchase Alerts?
Purchase Alerts are messages sent to your email or mobile phone to help you manage and track your signature-based Visa® credit and/or debit card transactions. Alerts provide near real-time notification of transaction activity based on your alert settings. You select from preset alerts and specify the settings for the alerts you want to receive (for example, the option to be notified when a transaction exceeds a specific value). Information in the alert includes the amount of the transaction, the merchant name and location (if available), and the last 4 digits of the Visa card used. Alerts can be sent to an e-mail address or to a mobile phone as an SMS text message
What are the benefits of Purchase Alerts?

The advantages of Purchase Alerts are that they:

  • Let you monitor your card's signature-based purchase transactions in near-real-time
  • Offer you peace of mind by providing timely information that helps you monitor your Visa card for suspicious activity.
  • Give you a tool to help you manage your money.
What type of cards can I enroll in Purchase Alerts?
You can enroll most Visa credit and debit cards. For debit cards, Purchase Alerts are not available for purchases that require you enter a PIN number. You can enroll your card if you’re sharing an account; the primary account holder on the card designates the Purchase Alert settings. Purchase Alerts are available for business credit cards as well.
Can multiple Visa credit cards on one account receive Purchase Alerts? Can two debit cards on the same checking account receive Purchase Alerts? Can I have different Purchase Alerts settings for different cards or will all my cards be enrolled with the same alert selection settings?

Each card can be set up with unique alert settings.

Is there a charge to enroll in Purchase Alerts?

You can enroll in Purchase Alerts at no charge from Southeast Financial. Standard mobile text and data charges apply for SMS alerts.

How quickly after I enroll in Purchase Alerts will I begin receiving alerts?

After you enroll, you will immediately begin receiving alert messages.

What types of Purchase Alerts are available?
The following alerts are available:
  • Threshold transaction: An alert is sent if a purchase amount is greater than a preset dollar amount.
  • Card-not-present transaction: An alert is sent if a purchase is made without having to physically present the card at the point of sale, such as when a purchase is made online or by phone.
  • International transaction: An alert is sent if a purchase is made outside the country that issued the Visa card.
  • Gasoline transaction: An alert is sent if a purchase is made at a gas station (i.e., fuel, car wash)
  • Declined transaction: An alert is sent if a purchase is made and subsequently declined for any reason.
How are interest rates determined?
Interest rates fluctuate based on a variety of factors, including inflation, the pace of economic growth, and Federal Reserve policy. Over time, inflation has the largest influence on the level of interest rates. A modest rate of inflation will almost always lead to low interest rates, while concerns about rising inflation normally cause interest rates to increase. Our nation's central bank, the Federal Reserve, implements policies designed to keep inflation and interest rates relatively low and stable.
What is an adjustable rate mortgage?
An adjustable rate mortgage, or an "ARM" as they are commonly called, is a loan type that offers a lower initial interest rate than most fixed rate loans. The trade off is that the interest rate can change periodically, usually in relation to an index, and the monthly payment will go up or down accordingly.

Against the advantage of the lower payment at the beginning of the loan, you should weigh the risk that an increase in interest rates would lead to higher monthly payments in the future. It's a trade-off. You get a lower rate with an ARM in exchange for assuming more risk.

For many people in a variety of situations, an ARM is the right mortgage choice, particularly if your income is likely to increase in the future or if you only plan on being in the home for three to five years. Continue Reading
Should I pay origination points in exchange for a lower interest rate?
Origination points are considered a form of interest. Each point is equal to one percent of the loan amount. You pay them, up front, at your loan closing in exchange for a lower interest rate over the life of your loan. This means more money will be required at closing, however, you will have lower monthly payments over the term of your loan.

To determine whether it makes sense for you to pay origination points, you should compare the cost of the origination points to the monthly payments savings created by the lower interest rate. Divide the total cost of the origination points by the savings in each monthly payment. This calculation provides the number of payments you'll make before you actually begin to save money by paying origination points. If the number of months it will take to recoup the origination points is longer than you plan on having this mortgage, you should consider the loan program option that doesn't require origination points to be paid.
Is comparing APRs the best way to decide which lender has the lowest rates and fees?

The Federal Truth in Lending law requires that all financial institutions disclose the APR when they advertise a rate. The APR is designed to present the actual cost of obtaining financing, by requiring that some, but not all, closing fees are included in the APR calculation. These fees in addition to the interest rate determine the estimated cost of financing over the full term of the loan. Since most people do not keep the mortgage for the entire loan term, it may be misleading to spread the effect of some of these up front costs over the entire loan term.

Also, unfortunately, the APR doesn't include all the closing fees and lenders are allowed to interpret which fees they include. Fees for things like appraisals, title work, and document preparation are not included even though you'll probably have to pay them.

For adjustable rate mortgages, the APR can be even more confusing. Since no one knows exactly what market conditions will be in the future, assumptions must be made regarding future rate adjustments.

You can use the APR as a guideline to shop for loans but you should not depend solely on the APR in choosing the loan program that's best for you. Look at total fees, possible rate adjustments in the future if you're comparing adjustable rate mortgages, and consider the length of time that you plan on having the mortgage.

Don't forget that the APR is an effective interest rate--not the actual interest rate. Your monthly payments will be based on the actual interest rate, the amount you borrow, and the term of your loan.

How do I know if it's best to lock in my interest rate or to let it float?

Mortgage interest rate movements are as hard to predict as the stock market and no one can really know for certain whether they'll go up or down.

If you have a hunch that rates are on an upward trend then you'll want to consider locking the rate as soon as you are able. Before you decide to lock, make sure that your loan can close within the lock-in period. It won't do any good to lock your rate if you can't close during the rate lock period. If you're purchasing a home, review your contract for the estimated closing date to help you choose the right rate lock period. If you are refinancing, in most cases, your loan could close within 30 days. However, if you have any secondary financing on the home that won't be paid off, allow some extra time since we'll need to contact that lender to get their permission.

If you think rates might drop while your loan is being processed, take a risk and let your rate "float" instead of locking. After you apply, you can lock in by contacting your Loan Officer by telephone.

How much money will I save by choosing a 15-year loan rather than a 30-year loan?

A 15-year fixed rate mortgage gives you the ability to own your home free and clear in 15 years. And, while the monthly payments are somewhat higher than a 30-year loan, the interest rate on the 15-year mortgage is usually a little lower, and more important - you'll pay less than half the total interest cost of the traditional 30-year mortgage.

However, if you can't afford the higher monthly payment of a 15-year mortgage don't feel alone. Many borrowers find the higher payment out of reach and choose a 30-year mortgage. It still makes sense to use a 30-year mortgage for most people.

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Are there any prepayment penalties charged for these loan programs?
None of the loan programs we offer have penalties for prepayment. You can pay off your mortgage any time with no additional charges.
What is your Rate Lock Policy?

General Statement

The interest rate market is subject to movements without advance notice. Locking in a rate protects you from the time that your lock is confirmed to the day that your lock period expires.

Lock-In Agreement

A lock is an agreement by the borrower and the lender and specifies the number of days for which a loan’s interest rate and origination points are guaranteed. Should interest rates rise during that period, we are obligated to honor the committed rate. Should interest rates fall during that period, the borrower must honor the lock.

When Can I Lock?

On-line rate locks are not available. A loan officer can discuss rate lock options with you.

Fees

We do not charge a fee for locking in your interest rate.

Lock Period

On-line rate locks are not available. A loan officer can discuss rate lock options with you.

Lock Confirmation

On-line rate locks are not available. A loan officer can discuss rate lock options with you.

Lock Changes

Once we accept your lock, your loan is committed into a secondary market transaction. Therefore, we are not able to renegotiate lock commitments.

Tell me more about closing fees and how they are determined.
A home loan often involves many fees, such as the appraisal fee, title charges, closing fees, and state or local taxes. These fees vary from state to state and also from lender to lender. Any lender or broker should be able to give you an estimate of their fees, but it is more difficult to tell which lenders have done their homework and are providing a complete and accurate estimate. We take quotes very seriously. We've completed the research necessary to make sure that our fee quotes are accurate to the city level - and that is no easy task! Continue Reading
What is title insurance and why do I need it?

If you've ever purchased a home before, you may already be familiar with the benefits and terms of title insurance. But if this is your first home loan or you are refinancing, you may be wondering why you need another insurance policy.

The answer is simple: The purchase of a home is most likely one of the most expensive and important purchases you will ever make. You, and especially your mortgage lender, want to make sure the property is indeed yours: That no individual or government entity has any right, lien, claim, or encumbrance on your property.

The function of a title insurance company is to make sure your rights and interests to the property are clear, that transfer of title takes place efficiently and correctly, and that your interests as a homebuyer are fully protected.

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What is mortgage insurance and when is it required?
First of all, let's make sure that we mean the same thing when we discuss "mortgage insurance." Mortgage insurance should not be confused with mortgage life insurance, which is designed to pay off a mortgage in the event of a borrower's death. Mortgage insurance makes it possible for you to buy a home with less than a 20% down payment by protecting the lender against the additional risk associated with low down payment lending. Low down payment mortgages are becoming more and more popular, and by purchasing mortgage insurance, lenders are comfortable with down payments as low as 3 - 5% of the home's value. It also provides you with the ability to buy a more expensive home than might be possible if a 20% down payment were required.

The mortgage insurance premium is based on loan to value ratio, type of loan, and amount of coverage required by the lender. Usually, the premium is included in your monthly payment and one to two months of the premium is collected as a required advance at closing.

It may be possible to cancel private mortgage insurance at some point, such as when your loan balance is reduced to a certain amount - below 75% to 80% of the property value. Recent Federal Legislation requires automatic termination of mortgage insurance for many borrowers when their loan balance has been amortized down to 78% of the original property value. If you have any questions about when your mortgage insurance could be cancelled, please contact your Loan Officer.
What is the maximum percentage of my home's value that I can borrow?
The maximum percentage of your home's value depends on the purpose of your loan, how you use the property, and the loan type you choose, so the best way to determine what loan amount we can offer is to complete our online application!
Can I apply for a loan before I find a property to purchase?

Yes, applying for a mortgage loan before you find a home may be the best thing you could do! If you apply for your mortgage now, we'll issue an approval subject to you finding the perfect home. You can use the pre-approval letter to assure real estate brokers and sellers that you are a qualified buyer. Having a pre-approval for a mortgage may give more weight to any offer to purchase that you make.

When you find the perfect home, you'll simply call your Loan Officer to complete your application. You'll have an opportunity to lock in our great rates and fees then and we'll complete the processing of your request.

What is a credit score and how will my credit score affect my application?
A credit score is one of the pieces of information that we'll use to evaluate your application. Financial institutions have been using credit scores to evaluate credit card and auto applications for many years, but only recently have mortgage lenders begun to use credit scoring to assist with their loan decisions.

Credit scores are based on information collected by credit bureaus and information reported each month by your creditors about the balances you owe and the timing of your payments. A credit score is a compilation of all this information converted into a number that helps a lender to determine the likelihood that you will repay the loan on schedule. The credit score is calculated by the credit bureau, not by the lender. Credit scores are calculated by comparing your credit history with millions of other consumers. They have proven to be a very effective way of determining credit worthiness.

Some of the things that affect your credit score include your payment history, your outstanding obligations, the length of time you have had outstanding credit, the types of credit you use, and the number of inquiries that have been made about your credit history in the recent past.

Credit scores used for mortgage loan decisions range from approximately 300 to 900. Generally, the higher your credit score, the lower the risk that your payments won't be paid as agreed.

Using credit scores to evaluate your credit history allows us to quickly and objectively evaluate your credit history when reviewing your loan application. However, there are many other factors when making a loan decision and we never evaluate an application without looking at the total financial picture of a customer.
Will the inquiry about my credit affect my credit score?
An abundance of credit inquiries can sometimes affect your credit scores since it may indicate that your use of credit is increasing.

But don't overreact! The data used to calculate your credit score doesn't include any mortgage or auto loan credit inquiries that are made within the 30 days prior to the score being calculated. In addition, all mortgage inquiries made in any 14-day period are always considered one inquiry. Don't limit your mortgage shopping for fear of the effect on your credit score.
Will I be charged any fees if I authorize my credit information to be accessed?
There is no charge to you for the credit information we'll access with your permission to evaluate your application online. You will only be charged for a credit report if you decide to complete the application process after your loan is approved.
Are we right for you?
Whether you're purchasing or refinancing, we're certain you'll find our service amazing!

If you'll be purchasing but haven't found the perfect home yet, complete our application and we'll issue an approval for a mortgage loan now with no obligation!
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