Portland Metro Area Mortgage Lenders and Brokers

Home Loan Programs let Buyers put less Down

money-down-mortgageThe New York Times reported in their February 7, 2015 edition that with the introduction of several new programs, prospective home buyers with little money to put down now have more options to consider. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently introduced similar programs aimed at middle-income borrowers that permit down payments as low as 3 percent. And the Federal Housing Administration, which insures loans and generally requires down payments of at least 3.5 percent, recently lowered one of its fees, making the program a bit more competitive with the two new options.

Whether it is prudent to buy a home with so little down is the first question borrowers need to answer. Critics have already questioned whether borrowers’ having such small stakes in their homes will potentially result in another rush of defaults, which tend to be higher on mortgages with smaller down payments.

But it is important to know that the low-down-payment options now available are not synonymous with the subprime loans that proliferated during the housing bubble, which often required little more than a pulse to qualify. Without these new programs, advocates said swaths of the population will be locked out from the forced savings plan that is homeownership. After all, it would take 20 years for a household earning about $50,000 to save 10 percent, plus closing costs, for a $158,000 home, according to calculations by the Center for Responsible Lending. 

Borrowers who determine they are in a position to push ahead have a few avenues to consider.

  • 97% LTV Options  Fannie’s new offerings are two-pronged. Its first program called  97% LTV Options permits all first-time home buyers — that is, at least one co-borrower must not have owned a home in three years — to put as little as 3 percent down. They must also pay mortgage insurance.
  • MyCommunityMortgage  Fannie’s second new program, as well as Freddie’s HomePossible, are programs different in that they are available to people with lower and moderate incomes based on where they live; the limit is generally about $128,865 in the high-cost New York metropolitan area, for instance.  Fannie also requires a minimum credit score of 620. Taking this loan may require borrowers to have some form of “prepurchase” counseling.
  • HomePossible  Freddie HomePossible is available to people with lower and moderate incomes based on where they live; the limit is generally about $128,865 in the high-cost New York metropolitan area, for instance. Freddie minimum score is determined by its automated software and varies based on borrowers’ other characteristics; for manually underwritten loans, it’s 660. Taking this loan may require borrowers to have some form of “prepurchase” counseling.

Those two options have several benefits: Borrowers are likely to receive better pricing on interest rates and pay less for mortgage insurance, and gifts and certain grants can be used toward the down payment. Fannie’s program requires that at least one co-borrower be considered a first-time home buyer, while Freddie’s program is open to all.

Then there is the F.H.A. option: It permits credit scores as low as 580 with a down payment of at least 3.5 percent, which is slightly higher than Fannie and Freddie require. “F.H.A. is more flexible on credit scores and debt loads,” relative to income, said Bill Banfield, a vice president at Quicken Loans.

With F.H.A. mortgages, borrowers will now pay an annual mortgage premium of 0.85 percent of the loan amount, down from 1.35 percent, on 30-year fixed mortgages with down payments of 5 percent or less. That fee is broken down into monthly payments. But borrowers must also pay an upfront mortgage premium of 1.75 percent of the loan amount, which is often rolled into the mortgage.

Portland Metro Area Mortgage Brokers

Consumers can check to see if the mortgage company they wish to use is licensed in Oregon at the DIvision of Finance and Securities website.

Portland Area Mortgage Lenders

In March 2016 the Portland Business Journal published a list of mortgage lenders in the metro area.  The list of 23 was ranked by the number of residential loans issued in the Portland metro area in 2015. The metro area is defined as Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties in Oregon and Clark County, Washington. Click here to view the list.

  • Chase Home Finance  Their office is located in the Pearl District at 422 NW 13th Avenue, Portland, OR, 97209.  Telephone: (503) 804-8850.
  • Wells Fargo Bank  Telephone (877) 937-9357. Address:  Numerous locations in the Portland metro area.

Penrith Home Loans (former Windermere Mortgages Services)

Penrith Home Loans  (PHL) Penrith was former called Windermere Mortgage Services and  they changed their name in 2015. PHL is Northwest owned and operated and headquartered in Seattle wiyh offices throughout Washington and Oregon.  PHL is a full service mortgage banker and direct lender — in addition, they have access to numerous other lenders which allows us to meet everyone’s individual needs.

  • West Portland Contact:  Bertha Ferran, telephone (503) 464-9215. Address: WMS Series LLC/AT, West Portland Branch, 6400 SW Barnes Road, Suite 305, Portland, OR 97225.
  • East Portland Contact:  Tanya Elder, telephone (503) 497-5367. Address: WNS Series LLC/AT, Lloyd Tower Branch, 825 Northeast Multnomah Street, Suite 120, Portland, OR 97232.
  • Lake Oswego Contact:  Clayton Scott,  telephone (503) 497-5060. Address: WMS Series LLC/AT, Lake Oswego Branch, 220 “A” Avenue, Suite 200, Lake Oswego, OR 97034.

Other Mortgage Sources

  • Bankrate  Online mortgage services allow you can click through to lenders whose deals you find appealing.
  • Costco  If you are a Costco member, the mega warehouse company offers a full range of financial services to include mortgages.  They partner with LendingTree for home loans.  Telephone:  800-237-3806.
  • HSH Associates Online mortgage services so you can click through to lenders whose deals you find appealing.
  • Mortgage Loan Place  They specializes in FHA and VA loans.
  • Veterans Administration Home Loans  The VA Home Loan Program provides one of the only remaining options for a $0 down payment home loan, and is the reason why each month, thousands of families are able to take advantage of their VA Home Loan Benefits.

Mortgage Broker or Lender?

moneyMortgage brokers, middlemen who shop for home buyers among banks and lenders, can choose from programs from numerous sources.  They may be able to offer a variety of deals that are not available at your own bank.  Examples of deals include: first-time buyer programs, low- or no-down-payment loans for certain occupations (police and firefighters), and low-cost mortgages for energy-efficient homes.

Most of a broker’s compensation comes from fees paid by the lender.  The lenders that mortgage brokers deal with quote a “wholesale” price to the broker, leaving it to the broker to derive the “retail” price offered the consumer by adding a markup. For example, the wholesale price on a particular program might be 7% and zero (0) points, to which the broker adds a markup of one (1) point, resulting in an offer to the customer of 7% and one (1) point (Each point is equal to one percent of the loan amount). But if the broker adds a two (2) point markup, the customer would pay 7% and two (2) points.

Due to the mortgage problems, some of the biggest companies in real estate have decided to stop working with brokers. Chase won’t lend to brokers’ clients anymore. The PMI Group, one of the biggest companies in the mortgage insurance business, refuses to underwrite any policies on loans that started with a broker.

All of this is happening just as borrowers need plenty of guidance. Mortgage rates are low, fueling demand for refinancing. But banks’ loan rules seem to change by the day, and many banks don’t have the staff to handle the volume. So if you’re hoping to refinance or looking to snap up a bargain home in the next year or so, you’re faced with a tricky question. Given the number of institutions that want nothing to do with mortgage brokers, shouldn’t you stay far away from them as well?

If you want to be sure you’re getting the best rate and the lowest costs, the only way to come close to succeeding is to hunt extensively on your own.  Here are three of the most important steps on your journey to home financing:

  • The Comparison  Shopping will be simpler if you pick a specific kind of loan and look only for that, say a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage with no points. Start with a credit union or two and then a few community banks. Next try a few big national banks nearby. Give your investment firm a notice and the bank that has your checking account, since they may offer you a deal. And if you’re refinancing, don’t forget your current lender. Next, call a few mortgage brokers recommended by people you trust. Talking to more than one isn’t a breach of etiquette.
  • The Compensation  If you find mortgage brokers who can match or beat the best rate and deals you found elsewhere, see if you can get a straight answer to the question of precisely how they are getting paid. The problems in recent years, however, came when banks offered more money to brokers who pushed certain loans or terms, say loans with interest rates that rose quickly and imposed penalties if the borrower refinanced within a few years. Though many of the worst loans don’t exist anymore, it’s still worth asking mortgage brokers point blank whether their yield-spread premium — the industry term for the money they earn from lenders — could be lower if you were in a different type of loan. And if you don’t understand the answer, run it by an accountant or a more sophisticated friend whose compensation does not depend on the answer.
  • The Guarantees  If you’re comfortable with the answers so far, you’ve probably found a good match. There are plenty of mortgage brokers out there who earn their keep, and the best of them know home loans.  Still, test them with two more questions. First, ask if they’ll guarantee the rate and costs in the good faith estimate they give you when you apply with a lender. If the broker is wrong on their good faith estimate, then they should pay you. We should all have something binding upfront so people can shop. Second, ask if they’ll sign a piece of paper agreeing to work solely in your best interest. The legal word for this is “fiduciary” and it means a legal relationship of confidence or trust between two or more parties.

Oregon Mortgage Lending Regulations

According to the Oregon Division of Finance and Corporate Services website (Oregon Revised Statute 59.840 to 59.996), the below rules govern the licensing of mortgage bankers and brokers in Oregon:

Beginning on Jan. 1, 1994, the State of Oregon required licensing for mortgage bankers and mortgage brokers. The licensing law required that each licensee maintain a surety bond or irrevocable letter of credit of at least $25,000 and use an in-state clients’ trust account if the licensee accepts clients’ funds prior to the close of escrow. Each licensee is also required to employ an experienced person who has at least three years experience in mortgage lending. The law provides for the licensing of the company, not the individual loan originators.

Since Jan. 1, 2002, licensees have been required to notify DFCS of the names of loan originators working for the licensee that originate Oregon residential mortgage loans. All loan originators also must complete 20 hours continuing education every 2 years.

Oregon Regulations on Fraudulent Mortgage Marketing

On March 11, 2008, Senate Bill 1064 was signed by the governor and went into effect.  It expanded enforcement over loan originators by allowing the Department of Consumer and Business Services (DCBS) to ban or suspend loan originators from engaging in dishonest or fraudulent practices. DCBS maintains a registry of loan originators and list complaints made against them as well as actions taken. The bill also required lenders to file an annual report with DCBS detailing their lending activity.

Stricter and clearer rules to enforce the 1993 Oregon Mortgage Lenders Law took effect on May 7, 2008 according to  the state Division of Finance and Corporate Securities. The new rules will, among other benefits, make it easier for the state to penalize “bait-and-switch” tactics, in which companies lure customers with fictitious loan terms and coax them into accepting inferior loans. Other rules:

  • The new rules require mortgage lenders to prominently display the complete terms of loan fees and interest rates.
  • Mortgage companies no longer may advertise a teaser rate in large print and bury the true loan terms in tiny print at the bottom, or in a rapid-fire voice on a radio ad.
  • If it’s a subprime loan that resets after two years to a higher interest rate, that must be explained and advertised in the same style and size of lettering.
  • If the loan allows “negative amortization,” in which the borrower may – and often does – add to the loan principal each month, that must be clearly stated.
  • Advertisers no longer may pretend to be the customer’s existing lender, or make false statements that a customer has pre-qualified for a loan.

Penalties remain unchanged at $5,000 per violation. As before, regulators also may strip the licenses of the 1,500 mortgage lenders licensed by the state to operate in Oregon.  The new rules, as with other state banking regulations, do not apply to national banks that are federally licensed. Those banks include Wells Fargo and other major home lenders.

Mortgage Resources

  • Compare Interest Rates  Find the best mortgages at the lowest interest rates.  Search for current mortgage interest rates from lenders and brokers nationwide.
  • Freddie Mac  Visit this site for information about home buying.  Freddie Mac is private shareholder-owned corporations operating under a congressional charter.
  • Oregon Association of Mortgage Professionals  The Oregon Association of Mortgage Professionals (OAMP) represents the mortgage industry of more than 10,000 individuals in Oregon.  They promote the mortgage industry through programs and services such as education, government affairs representation, networking events, and local chapters.