Cardinal Financial Mortgage Review

About Cardinal Financial Company, Limited Partnership

Cardinal Financial Company, Limited Partnership

Headquartered in Charlotte, NC, Cardinal Financial is a nationwide direct mortgage lender that provides modernized home financing solutions. Since 1987, we’ve been committed to facilitating a lending experience of unrivaled transparency, simplicity, and value. We have nearly 1,000 employees across the country who are routinely generating billions of dollars in loans and connecting borrowers to their homes every day.
Only mature lenders with a proven record of success achieve the status of “approved lender” for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae as well as “approved lending institution” for the FHA, VA, and USDA. Not only has Cardinal Financial earned all of these approvals, but we have consistently maintained the high standards required by them.

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What is Cardinal Financial?

Boasting fast closings, a huge variety of products and many low-down-payment options, Cardinal Financial is a technologically innovative mortgage company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C. The company started in 2013 and had a total 2017 mortgage volume of $979 million.

Working with Cardinal Financial

At its 118 locations, Cardinal Financial writes loans for the purchase or refinance of many properties that other lenders won’t, including:

  • Single-family homes
  • Multi-family homes
  • Manufactured homes
  • Condominiums
  • Townhomes
  • Tiny homes (fixed foundation)
  • Container homes

The company underwrites loans for borrowers with credit scores as low as 580 for FHA loans and 620 for conventional loans.

The company is licensed to lend in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.

Cardinal Financial products

Cardinal Financial has a range of products for borrowers who want to buy a new home or refinance a property.



The mortgage application process

  • Apply in person or over the phone. According to Cardinal Financial, the goal is to pair borrowers with a loan officer who will craft a loan that meets their unique needs. Borrowers start this process by calling, visiting an office, or filling out a free quote form online. This leads to a conversation with a loan officer. Once the borrower has spoken to a loan officer, they will get a link to Cardinal Financial’s proprietary home loan platform, called Octane, which will allow the borrower to apply online. As soon as the borrower has access to Octane, they can view a dashboard that summarizes where the loan is in the process. From there, they can upload documents, see outstanding items and access their notifications. Octane is also mobile-friendly, so the borrower can receive mobile alerts about outstanding documents and other needs.
  • Receive disclosures however you choose. Disclosures are sent through Octane and e-signed online. If the borrower prefers it, Cardinal can send and receive disclosures via fax or regular mail.
  • Getting approved. Once they have found a home, the borrower’s credit is reviewed and their loan offers are sent. They can then review all their options with a side-by-side comparison on Octane, choose the loan they want and lock the rate.
  • Review documents and schedule closing. After all documents are submitted and reviewed and the loan is processed, an estimated closing date will appear in Octane, as will closing documents so the borrower can review them. In most circumstances, borrowers can schedule the closing time and place, unless legal requirements state otherwise.


Communication during the process

One of Cardinal Financial’s biggest priorities is to equip borrowers with many options to do business. In an interview, company representatives said Cardinal does not take a one-size-fits-all approach and instead tailors the experience to the borrower’s preferences, comfort level and tech-savviness.

Borrowers get a link for the proprietary Octane dashboard once they talk to a loan officer. The borrower can choose to rely on Octane and its updates to follow the progress of the loan, or they can call their loan officer at any time throughout the process. In addition to being secured and constantly updated, the Octane dashboard is universal, so everyone — from borrower to underwriter to processor to loan officer — can see the same information. That means if the borrower needs to call the general client care line because their loan officer is unavailable, the representative who answers the call will be able to see everything the loan officer would.

Pros and cons of a Cardinal Financial mortgage


  • Lending for alternative property types. Cardinal Financial doesn’t just issue loans for standard single- and multiple-family housing but for tiny homes and container homes.
  • Offers construction and renovation loans.
  • Proprietary customer portal Octane. Octane is Cardinal Financial’s one-stop shop for clients. The system is updated live 24/7 and gives Cardinal the flexibility to do customized integrations.
  • Conventional loans for credit scores as low as 620.
  • Down payment assistance programs. Cardinal Financial participates in down payment assistance and community lending programs for first-time homebuyers.
  • Offers the FHA 203(h) disaster relief loan.



  • Does not offer home equity products.
  • Not entirely online. Borrowers can access the online Octane platform only after a loan officer gives them access. This can be done after email contact with a loan officer but is generally done after phone contact. People who prefer to do as much as possible online may not find this to be ideal.

Editorial Note: Parts of this article were reviewed by a lender to ensure accuracy prior to publication. The overall conclusions, recommendations and opinions are the author’s alone.

The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.