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USAA Mortgage Review for 2022

USAA mortgage rates

VA mortgages typically come with lower rates than most loan types. And you don’t have to pay monthly premiums for mortgage insurance.

So USAA already has a head start when it comes to mortgage rates and costs, assuming you qualify for a VA loan.

Those who use a conventional loan — whether through USAA or another lender — will usually pay higher interest rates.

Average 30-year mortgage rates at major lenders

USAA Mortgage Rocket Mortgage Wells Fargo Freedom Mortgage
Avg 30-Yr Interest Rate, 20211 2.87% 3.00% 3.14% 2.66%
Median Total Loan Costs, 2021 $3,660 $4,670 $3,600 $3,880
Median Origination Fee, 2021 $250 $2,430 $1,330 $0

Average rate and fee data were sourced from public rate and fee records required by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).

USAA Mortgage review for 2022

USAA Bank was founded in 1922 by 25 military officers who wanted to insure each other’s vehicles. Headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, it’s expanded outside of insurance, providing a variety of financial services for its 13 million members nationwide.

When it comes to mortgages, USAA has a great reputation. It scored highest in J.D. Power’s 2021 mortgage satisfaction study, which ranks lenders on everything from their customer service to their pricing and loan products.

In fact, USAA scores highest on this survey just about every year. Customers seem to have very little to complain about. That’s likely because USAA is so specialized. It only serves current and former U.S. armed forces members and is uniquely attuned to their needs.

In terms of mortgage lending, that means USAA is deeply familiar with the ins and outs of VA loans — which are often the best choice for qualified home buyers.

With backing from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA loans have flexible credit and income requirements, competitive rates, and often require zero down payment and no mortgage insurance.

USAA Mortgage eligibility

Probably the biggest drawback to USAA is that it’s not available to more people. You have to join the USAA to access its financial products. And you can do that only if you’re eligible.

USAA membership is open to veterans and active duty or honorably discharged members of the:

  • U.S. Air Force
  • U.S. Army
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Marines
  • U.S. Navy
  • U.S. National Guard and Reserves

Many widows, widowers, and unremarried former spouses can also qualify.

Working with USAA Mortgage

The USAA mortgage website looks as modern, informative, and welcoming as any other. But beneath the surface, it offers less functionality than some more innovative lenders’ sites.

True, you can get preapproval for a new home loan within minutes, all online, provided you’re already a USAA member. And there are helpful online articles tailored to VA mortgage borrowers.

But other web-based services currently seem limited.

You should probably expect to spend more time on the phone with your real estate coordinator and USAA loan officer than you might with many other lenders. Some borrowers will be just fine with a more traditional mortgage application process. But tech-lovers might find the experience old-fashioned.

USAA Mortgage customer service reviews

USAA really stands out when it comes to customer satisfaction.

J.D. Power doesn’t technically include USAA in its customer satisfaction ranking, because the company isn’t available to many borrowers. But it gives USAA Mortgage a score nonetheless.

And USAA shines. This year, it scored 906 on a 1,000-point scale — beating out front-runner Guild Mortgage by 22 points.

CFPB Complaints, 20214 Complaints Per 1,000 Mortgages, 20215 J.D. Power Satisfaction Score, 20216
USAA Mortgage 28 0.57 906/1,000
Rocket Mortgage 376 0.24 876/1,000
Wells Fargo 488 0.58 832/1,000
Freedom Mortgage 262 0.35 829/1,000

USAA also has a low number of customer complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB): less than one complaint per 1,000 mortgages.

USAA Mortgage loan products

Pretty much everyone who qualifies for USAA membership is also eligible for a VA loan. And, given what great deals those loans typically provide, it’s unsurprising that USAA delivers a lot of them.

Over the years, the bank has built up considerable knowledge and expertise as a specialist lender of VA mortgage products. However, it also has other types of loans in its portfolio, most of which provide for low down payments:

  • VA mortgage: VA mortgages are available to qualified service members and veterans. They offer competitive rates, flexible credit and income requirements, and may let you buy with 0% down
  • Fixed-rate mortgage: Fixed-rate mortgages have a stable interest rate over the life of the loan, which is typically 15 or 30 years. Unlike VA loans, conventional fixed-rate mortgages require private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums if you put less than 20% down
  • Adjustable-rate mortgage: Adjustable-rate mortgages have a fixed interest rate for the first few years, and then the rate floats with the market for the rest of the loan term
  • Conventional 97 (“First-time home buyer loan”): This variety of conventional loan lets you borrow up to 97% of the home’s value (thus the name) and may allow as little as 3% down. A good alternative to an FHA loan
  • Jumbo mortgage: Jumbo loans can help when you need to borrow more than conventional mortgage caps allow, currently $ in most areas
  • VA jumbo loan: All VA jumbo loans come with no private mortgage insurance with loan limits of $3 million for a new home

USAA can also help you to finance or refinance investment properties and second homes.

USAA home equity loans

USAA does not offer home equity loans or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

However, homeowners can get either a conventional cash-out refinance or a VA cash-out refinance from USAA. This is another way to tap the equity in your home and use its cash value to make a large purchase, pay off other loans, pay for a child’s college, etc.

However, unlike a home equity loan, a cash-out refinance involves re-starting your mortgage. So you need to carefully consider the long-term costs in principal and interest before committing to one.

USAA construction loans

USAA offers VA loans, which can be used for home purchases as well as new construction. A USAA construction loan lets you pay for the lot and construction, then roll the balance into a mortgage once the home is completed.

VA IRRRL program (Streamline Refinancing)

USAA offers the VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance loan as a refinance option.

The VA IRRRL is a type of Streamline Refinance that makes it easier for VA loan holders to switch to a lower rate and monthly payment.

Using the VA IRRRL, you can refinance a VA loan without a home appraisal, income check, or employment verification.

USAA doesn’t charge loan origination fees on IRRRLs, and it will cover the VA funding fee. This generally makes it faster and cheaper than a traditional refinance.

If you’re getting a VA IRRRL from USAA, but your original mortgage was from a different lender, you may still be required to get a home appraisal.

Where can you get a mortgage with USAA Mortgage?

You’ll have to be very lucky to have a USAA branch location around the corner from home. It has only five.

  1. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  2. West Point, New York
  3. Highland Falls, New York
  4. Annapolis, Maryland
  5. San Antonio, Texas

However, USAA has nearly a century of experience providing financial services remotely.

USAA members in all 50 states and the District of Columbia can begin their mortgage application process with a USAA loan officer, over the phone or online. And, given its website’s limited functionality, you may end up spending a lot of time on the phone. Still, the company’s exceptional customer satisfaction score suggests that’s not a problem for its members.

USAA mortgage FAQ

Is USAA good for mortgages?

USAA is a good mortgage lender to check out if you’re VA loan-eligible. In J.D. Power’s satisfaction survey, USAA is top-rated by its mortgage customers year after year. It has special expertise in serving veterans, military members, and their families, and would be a great resource for all your VA loan needs. Just be sure to compare USAA rates with other top VA lenders to make sure its pricing is competitive for you. Veterans United and Navy Federal Credit Union are good options for VA loan comparison shopping.

Who can get a USAA mortgage?

To get a USAA mortgage, you need to be a current U.S. service member, a veteran, surviving spouse of a military member, or have other military ties. VA loans have their own specific eligibility guidelines, too, including a minimum credit score of 620 in most cases. USAA also offers non-VA loans (like conventional mortgages), but you still need to be affiliated with the military to work with the company.

What are USAA mortgage rates?

USAA mortgage rates are generally lower than other major lenders. That’s because USAA primarily offers VA loans, which have below-market rates thanks to their backing from the Department of Veterans Affairs. But rates vary by customer and loan amount, so you’ll need to request a rate quote to find yours.

Does USAA pay closing costs?

USAA will not pay your closing costs for you. But there are other ways to get closing cost assistance. You can apply for down payment assistance or closing cost grants. You could ask a family member for gift funds. And if you’re refinancing, you might be able to roll the closing costs into the loan balance and pay them over time. Talk to your USAA loan officer about options.

What credit score does USAA use for mortgages?

USAA requires a FICO score of at least 620 to get a mortgage.

What credit score do you need to qualify for a VA loan?

The Department of Veterans Affairs technically does not require a minimum credit score for VA loans. However, most lenders set their own minimums. Many mortgage companies require at least a 620 FICO score for a VA loan, including USAA. To improve your credit score, be sure to pay debts like personal loans and credit card bills on time, and check your own credit report for errors before applying for a mortgage

What kind of documentation does USAA require?

Like other mortgage lenders, USAA’s underwriting process will ask you to document your income and assets. Your loan officer could ask for bank statements, investment balance sheets, W2 forms, and pay stubs. For a VA loan, you’ll need a Certificate of Eligibility to prove you’re eligible for the VA home loan program. COEs are easy to get; many lenders, including USAA, will help you file the paperwork.

Is USAA the best mortgage lender for you?

If you’re eligible for USAA membership — meaning you’re a current or former member of the U.S. armed forces, or an eligible spouse — USAA might just be the best mortgage lender for you. It has incredible customer satisfaction scores and competitive VA mortgage rates.

But remember that rates vary a lot by borrower and by company. Even if you’re set on USAA for your mortgage, get a couple of Loan Estimates from other lenders anyway — just to make sure you’re getting the best deal on your rate and closing costs.

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