A mortgage originator is an individual or a company that will guide you through all the necessary steps of completing a mortgage transaction. Most mortgages in the United States originate from large companies, but there are also many small companies and individuals that offer this service. A mortgage originator will guide the borrower through all of the necessary steps, from taking out the loan to the disbursal of funds. Mortgage origination also involves all of the required legal documents, buyer qualification, and mortgage placement in the lender’s books. Because a mortgage originator’s main goal is to persuade you to apply for a mortgage loan, he can be very helpful in guiding you through the whole mortgage loan process. Before choosing a mortgage originator, you should look at the following:
Things to Look for in a Mortgage Originator
- Service Quality. A good loan originator must make you aware of all the terms and conditions of the mortgage, and work with you to find a mortgage that best fits your needs and financial standing. They must not pressure or mislead you into going with a mortgage that might not be in your best interest. If you feel that you are being pressured or don’t fully understand the process, feel free to shop around until you find a mortgage originator that will better satisfy your requirements. Learn about your mortgage borrowers’ rights here.
- Loan Origination Fee. This fee is paid to the mortgage originator who initiates and completes the mortgage loan transaction with the borrower. The loan origination fee is usually between 0.5% and 2% of the loan amount, and should be fully disclosed by the mortgage originator. The fee varies from originator to originator and, in some cases, can even be waived, so doing some research into this is very important when choosing a mortgage originator.
- Reputation. Choosing a mortgage originator with a good reputation will not only give you peace of mind, but also insure that you are going to be treated correctly. Check with the local Better Business Bureau (BBB) if there are any complaints against the mortgage originator that you’re considering. The length of time that they have been in business can also be a good indicator of their reputation.
There are no specific rules when comparing mortgage originators. Doing some research and asking for recommendations can go a long way toward finding someone that you will be comfortable working with. To help you with your search, here is a list of the top 10 mortgage originators:
Top 10 Mortgage Originators
- Wells Fargo. Through more than 9,000 branches and 12,000 ATMs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, Wells Fargo offers mortgage, banking, investment and insurance services. The 23rd biggest company in the United States was founded in 1852, employs 270,000 people and has over 70 million customers.
- JPMorgan Chase. JPMorgan Chase offers individual and small business banking, mortgage, and financial transaction processing in over 60 countries. It is the largest bank in the U.S. by assets and the second largest company in the world. JPMorgan Chase was founded in 2000, and is the result of the combination of several banks in the United States.
- US Bancorp. Recognized by Fortune Magazine as the 2012 Most Admired Super Regional Bank and the fifth Most Admired Company in management quality in the world, US Bancorp has over 3000 branches and over 5000 ATMs in the United States. With 63,000 employees, US Bancorp offers banking and wealth management services, mortgage, and global payment services to over 15 million customers.
- Bank of America. Bank of America, the second largest bank in the United States by assets and the third largest company in the world, offers its services to 57 million customers in 50 states. Founded in 1998, Bank of America now has over 5,500 branches and over 16,000 ATMs.
- Quicken Loans. The largest online mortgage lender in the US, Quicken Loans has over 8,500 employees and offers its lending services in all 50 states. Founded in 1985, the company has received many awards, including being included in Fortune’s “Top 30 Best Places to Work in America.”
- Citigroup. With over 16,000 branches in 140 countries, Citigroup offers consumer banking, mortgage, credit, and wealth management to over 200 million customers. Founded in 1812, Citigroup was the largest bank and company in the world until 2008, and is now ranked as the 20th company worldwide based on the Forbes 500 list.
- SunTrust Banks. One of the largest banks in the United States, with assets of over 170 billion dollars, SunTrust Banks has over 1,600 branches and approximately 3,000 ATMs located in Virginia, Florida, District of Columbia, Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, South Carolina and Tennessee.
- Flagstar Bank. One of the largest savings banks in the United States, Flagstar Bank offers retail and commercial banking, mortgage services, and asset management. Founded in 1987, Flagstar Bank also offers mortgage services online.
- PHH Corporation. Founded in 1946, PHH Corporation has over 5,000 employees and offers mortgage services to customers in all 50 states.
- Fifth Third Bank. With more than 1,200 branches and over 2,200 ATMS, Fifth Third Bank is one of the largest banks in the Midwest. Founded in 1858, it now has 122 billion dollars in assets and offers banking and mortgage services in North Carolina, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, Illinois, Florida, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Tennessee, Michigan, Georgia and Ohio.
There are plenty of mortgage originators out there, and separating the good ones from the bad can be quite a task. Finding the one that will satisfy your needs can be an even harder task, so make sure that you do your homework before choosing a mortgage originator. The companies mentioned in the top 10 are among the best and, even if you decide not to go with one of them, their reputation and service quality should serve as a guideline when choosing a mortgage originator. Now, you want to check out one of our other top 10 articles on top lenders for first-time home buyers or top lenders for mortgage refinancing.