PROS / U.S. Bank offers construction loans.
CONS / It only has 28 branches and does not service loans for Washington, DC.
VERDICT / U.S. Bank offers mortgages and construction loans, often at lower-than average-interest rates. Its bank fees are a little high, but it has good customer service, making it a bank worth considering, especially if you are building your home.
U.S. Bank offers the usual choices of fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages and refinancing options. It is also one of the few mortgage lenders that also offers construction loans. Construction loans are more difficult to obtain because they lack the usual equity – aka, the house itself. It doesn't offer home equity loans, however.
U.S. Bank's posted interest rates are among the lowest of those we found online. While this is good for a rough comparison, each bank picks its ideal loan situation and posts rates for that loan, which means the examples vary. Therefore, we also obtained interest rate information for a $150,000 home in California with $20,000 down for a borrower with a 700 credit rating. We found this lender's rates to be even better for the test case. In addition, U.S. Bank members can get lower rates with specific checking accounts. The bank fees are $945, which is within average. These fees are paid during closing along with the appraisal and title fees from other institutions. U.S. Bank does not charge application fees.
Like most mortgage lenders, U.S. Bank requires a five percent down payment but prefers 20 percent. At 20 percent, you no longer have to pay private mortgage insurance. However, for military members it can waive the down payment. It looks for a 700 credit score, which is higher than most, but may work with borrowers who have lower scores. It does require you to have been employed for at least two years.
U.S. Bank earns top marks in customer service for how it handled phone conversations with us as potential customers. We were able to reach an operator quickly who connected us to a loan officer. In one case, we had a long hold time. This isn't unusual for a large institution, but we were impressed that the operator personally checked in to make sure we were still on the line. Loan officers explained things with the right amount of detail and asked good questions to get the information needed to make applicable answers. There is a live chat, but it's not always available, and the email form simply requests a loan officer contact you.
While it can service mortgages for all 50 states, it only has branches in 28 states. If you prefer to work with a loan officer in person, you'll need to check online to see if a branch is in your state. It does not handle loans for Washington, DC.
If you prefer to work with a lender in person, you'll need to check whether U.S. Bank has a loan officer in your area. However, it can process loans for all 50 states, offers very competitive interest rates and reasonable processing fees. It's a good bank to consider for a mortgage, especially if you are planning on building a home.