Alliant Credit Union Mortgage Review 2020
Editor’s note: The overall conclusions, recommendations and opinions are the author’s alone. The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.
Alliant Credit Union is an online-only credit union and mortgage lender. It offers web, mobile and phone services, along with more than 80,000 ATMs throughout the country.
Alliant was founded by a group of United Airlines workers in 1935 and was originally called the United Airlines Employees’ Credit Union. Over time, the name changed and the credit union grew, from 146 members in 1935 to half a million today.
Working with Alliant Credit Union
Membership at Alliant Credit Union is not required to apply for the bank’s mortgage products; however, prospective customers must join before their loans close. Alliant offers membership to the following:
- Employees or retirees of qualifying companies
- Immediate family members of existing Alliant members
- Members of qualifying organizations
- People who live or work in a qualifying Chicagoland community
- Supporters of Alliant Credit Union’s partner charity, Foster Care to Success
The credit union issues mortgages nationwide, but its home equity products are only available in the 24 states below and the District of Columbia:
As a bank with no brick-and-mortar locations, Alliant Credit Union serves its members through four channels: online banking, mobile banking, phone banking and a nationwide ATM network. Alliant currently has $12 billion in assets and $8.3 billion in loans, according to its website.
Alliant Credit Union borrowing requirements
Alliant Credit Union does not publish its mortgage borrowing criteria on its website. However, it uses a number of factors when deciding whether to approve a mortgage application and determining a borrower’s interest rate. These factors include:
- Credit score
- Overall creditworthiness
- Debt-to-income ratio (DTI)
- Down payment amount
- How much you want to borrow
This lender provides financing for several types of properties:
- Single-family homes (existing and new construction)
- Multifamily homes (for commercial investments only)
Alliant Credit Union mortgage products
Alliant Credit Union offers 15-, 20- and 30-year fixed-rate mortgages for primary and secondary homes. (It does not offer fixed-rate options for borrowers in Maryland.)
The lender also offers several adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) options for primary and secondary properties, including:
- 1/1 ARM
- 5/1 ARM
- 7/1 ARM
- 10/1 ARM
A review of Alliant’s website indicates the credit union doesn’t appear to offer government-backed loans, including those from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA loans), Federal Housing Administration (FHA loans) or U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA loans).
Home equity products
Home equity line of credit (HELOC). Alliant Credit Union offers an interest-only HELOC, in addition to the more traditional version. The biggest difference between the two is that if you opt for the interest-only product, you won’t have to make payments on the principal for the first 10 years of your repayment period. There is a $50 annual fee for the interest-only HELOC, which is waived for your first year, compared with no fee for the traditional option. Alliant doesn’t charge closing costs or appraisal fees for either of its HELOC programs.
Alliant Credit Union special mortgage programs
- Alliant Advantage Mortgage (AAM). This program helps buyers who are putting down less than 20% or want to refinance their homes before reaching 20% equity. First-time buyers can borrow up to $500,000 with 0% down and no private mortgage insurance (PMI) payments. Repeat buyers can purchase with only 5% down or refinance with as little as 5% equity without having to pay PMI.
- Alliant Home Rewards. Customers can get a cash rebate of up to $6,500 when they buy or sell their home with a participating local real estate agent. Customers who are both buying and selling through the program can receive up to $13,000. The amount of the rebate is dependent on the sale or purchase price, and the program is not available in Iowa, Missouri, Alaska or Louisiana. (Alliant Credit Union partners with HomeStory Real Estate Services for this incentive program.)
The mortgage application process
- How to apply. Customers begin the mortgage process by applying online. You can apply for mortgage preapproval before you begin looking at homes, and the preapproval application takes 10-15 minutes. If you’re ready to submit a mortgage application, you can do so online, or you can call or email a loan officer for help. After you submit, a loan officer will contact you to discuss your application, typically within two to four hours. You may choose to lock in your interest rate when applying.
- Disclosure process. Your loan officer will discuss additional information that Alliant needs to process your application and submit it for approval.
The loan officer will be in contact throughout your application process and will likely be your primary point of contact with Alliant.
Pros and cons of an Alliant Credit Union mortgage
- Offers special programs. Alliant Credit Union’s Alliant Advantage Mortgage enables homebuyers to secure a loan with as little as 0% or 5% down and no private mortgage insurance. The Alliant Home Rewards option provides buyers and sellers an opportunity to earn $6,500 to $13,000 back when they work with an Alliant-preferred real estate agent.
- Accepts low down payments. Alliant Credit Union addresses the challenge of saving up for a home by offering low-down-payment programs to both first-time and repeat homebuyers.
- User-friendly website and robust digital tools. The website is easy to navigate and has useful features, such as customized quotes and homebuyer resources. There’s also a mobile banking app and digital lending platform.
- Rate Watch. Customers can set interest-rate alerts based on their specific criteria.
- Low fees on home equity products. Alliant’s home equity products do not carry appraisal fees or closing costs.
- Limited mortgage products. Alliant’s mortgage options appear to be limited to conventional and jumbo loan products.
- Origination fees. Although some lenders do not charge origination fees, Alliant is not one of them. Alliant charges a $995 fee for ARMs and $1,795 for fixed-rate mortgages.
- Borrower criteria not available. The company’s website does not provide detailed eligibility information, such as credit score requirements.
- No physical branches. Consumers who want a face-to-face experience may not like a purely digital bank.