OneWest Bank Mortgage Review 2020
OneWest Bank is a retail bank based in Pasadena, Calif. It is a division of CIT Bank, a subsidiary of CIT Group Inc., a publicly-traded financial holding company founded in 1908.
OneWest Bank’s parent bank, CIT Bank is licensed to issue mortgages in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. However, OneWest’s mortgage division focuses on lending to customers in the Southern California market.
Working with OneWest Bank
OneWest Bank has 60 branch locations in Southern California, with a reach from San Diego to Ventura County north of Los Angeles. It offers deposit services and loans to both consumers and small businesses, both in-person and online.
OneWest does not post annual numbers for its mortgage loan volume. However, in 2019, CIT Bank issued nearly $2 billion in loans through its consumer banking channel.
OneWest Bank borrowing requirements
Like most lenders, OneWest focuses on a potential borrower’s credit history, ability to repay the loan and the home’s value. The bank doesn’t advertise minimum credit scores or debt-to-income (DTI) requirements. But it does look at a borrower’s previous mortgage payment history, rent history, credit use and the ability to consistently repay installment loans, like car loans.
Most of the mortgages that OneWest underwrites are for single-family primary residences. However, it also underwrites loans for:
- Vacation homes
- Investment properties (up to four residential units)
The bank doesn’t advertise whether it underwrites other types of homes, like manufactured homes, non-warrantable condos (a condo that doesn’t meet conventional lending guidelines) or other specialty properties.
OneWest Bank mortgage products
- Conventional loans. OneWest offers mortgages that meet conventional conforming loan limits, including higher-balance loans in high-cost areas like Southern California. Fixed-rate loans have terms that range from 10 to 30 years. The bank’s website doesn’t mention if it offers adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) for conventional loans.
- FHA loans. OneWest borrowers can get a loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). OneWest offers fixed-rate FHA options, with terms ranging from 10 to 30 years.
- Jumbo loans. OneWest offers jumbo loans and even super jumbo loans up to $5 million. Jumbo loan options include those with fixed rates, as well as hybrid ARMs that come with fixed rates for the first five, seven or 10 years and which can then adjust annually (5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 ARMs). The bank also offers an interest-only payment option to jumbo loan borrowers who make a 20% down payment.
OneWest Bank does not advertise USDA, VA or FHA 203(k) loans.
- Conventional refinance loans. This loan lets borrowers refinance to a fixed-rate mortgage with loan terms ranging from 10 to 30 years. OneWest also offers a 5/1 ARM for refinancing.
- Jumbo refinance loans. Borrowers looking for better loan terms on their jumbo mortgages — like fixed rates or lower monthly payments — may find a good option at OneWest. As with its other jumbo loans, the bank offers 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 ARMs for refinancing jumbo loans, as well as the interest-only payment option. You may also combine a first and second mortgage into a jumbo loan with a lower interest rate.
- Cash-out jumbo refinance loans. OneWest lets borrowers refinance a jumbo mortgage to a loan with a larger loan amount and then take out the extra cash to use for other purposes, like paying for a home improvement or consolidating debt.
OneWest Bank doesn’t appear to offer cash-out refinance options for conforming loans, or refinance options for FHA loans.
Home equity products
OneWest Bank does not advertise home equity products.
The mortgage application process
- How to apply. Before applying, you’ll need to work with one of OneWest’s loan specialists to get a mortgage preapproval. You can reach a specialist either online at OneWest’s website, or by phone. If you fill out the application online, a home loan expert will give you a call to guide you through the next steps. The application process requires a call from a OneWest lending expert and cannot be done entirely online.
- Disclosure process. After applying for a loan, you’ll receive a list with the required documentation you’ll need to submit, like proof of income, W-2 forms and tax returns. You’ll also need to show you have enough funds to pay for a down payment and closing costs. If you’re self-employed and can’t supply necessary documentation for a loan, OneWest offers options for providing supplemental documents.
- Submitting loan for approval. Once you’ve completed your application and submitted all necessary documents, OneWest will send your file to an underwriter for review. This will be the time to lock in an interest rate on your loan. OneWest offers free preapprovals to qualified borrowers, which might be especially useful in California’s competitive real estate market.
- Final approval. After your application has been submitted, OneWest schedules a home appraisal and orders a title search. Once your loan has been approved, you’ll receive a list of documents to bring to the closing and a closing disclosure with final closing costs.
- Closing. The closing takes place in person, but the location and the parties involved depend on where the borrower lives. In some cases, just the borrower and the closing agent might be present.
- Servicing. OneWest Bank does not service its own loans. Instead, they’re serviced by LoanCare, a private loan servicer based in Virginia Beach, Va. OneWest Bank may sell its conforming loans rather than service them.
Communication during the process
To start the process, applicants can fill out an online form to request a call from a mortgage expert. Applicants can also kick off the process by calling (888) 321-3863, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST.
Once applicants start the communication process, OneWest assigns a dedicated mortgage lending specialist to all potential borrowers. Borrowers looking for a jumbo loan receive help from specialists familiar with the luxury home market in their area. The bank’s underwriting team also has experience working with borrowers who are self-employed or who have variable income.
Once a mortgage is issued, if it’s a jumbo loan you’ll work with LoanCare to have it serviced.
Pros and cons of a OneWest Bank mortgage
- Offers jumbo loans. OneWest Bank offers a wide variety of jumbo borrowing options. They include interest-only loans and both fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, as well as bridge loans.
- Has strong regional knowledge. This lender serves mostly the Southern California market, so it has detailed knowledge of the area.
- Offers alternative documentation options. OneWest allows borrowers who may not have standard financial backgrounds the opportunity to use alternative documentation to qualify for a loan.
- Primarily serves Southern California. If you’re a borrower looking for a mortgage outside of Southern California, you may need to work with OneWest’s parent bank, CIT Bank.
- Doesn’t offer many federally backed loans. OneWest Bank offers only a 30-year FHA loan. It doesn’t offer any home rehabilitation loans like the FHA 203(k), nor does it offer VA or USDA loans.
- Doesn’t offer second mortgages. OneWest doesn’t advertise home equity loans or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). This means homeowners who already have a mortgage with the bank won’t be able to get a second mortgage through OneWest.