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PennyMac Mortgage Review 2021

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PennyMac Loan Services was founded in 2008 and has grown its operations to become a major U.S. mortgage lender.  The company is headquartered in Westlake Village, Calif., and offers wholesale loans through approved mortgage brokers or correspondent loans that it funds in its own name, then sells for servicing to direct lenders.

Pros and cons of a PennyMac mortgage


  • Offers a wide variety of traditional and government-backed loans
  • Offers low down payment and closing cost options for investors
  • Provides a detailed website with a wealth of mortgage product information


  • Doesn’t allow credit scores below 620 on FHA loans with a 3.5% down payment
  • Doesn’t offer fixed-rate home equity loans
  • Does not offer reverse mortgages

Working with PennyMac

PennyMac is a direct mortgage lender that’s licensed to issue loans in all states except New York. Customers can apply for a PennyMac mortgage directly at a branch location, or through wholesale and retail partnerships with mortgage brokers and retail mortgage banks across the country.

In 2019, the company originated more than $117 billion in loan volume, according to its website.

PennyMac borrowing requirements

PennyMac borrowers need at least a 620 credit score to qualify for a mortgage, according to a review of its website. The lender offers mortgages for the following property types:

  • Single-family homes
  • Multifamily homes (two to four units)
  • Condominiums
  • Planned-unit developments (PUDs)

PennyMac mortgage products

Fixed-rate loans. PennyMac offers fixed-rate terms of 15, 20 and 30 years for borrowers who want the security of a stable monthly payment.

Adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans. Borrowers seeking temporary mortgage payment savings compared with fixed-rate loans can choose an ARM with an initial, lower fixed-rate period between three and 10 years. After the teaser rate expires, the rate and payment may change.


Conventional loans. Borrowers with solid credit histories and stable employment can finance a primary residence, second home or even an investment property with a PennyMac conventional mortgage. Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate options are available.

Fannie Mae HomeReady and Freddie Mac Home Possible loans. Buyers with low-to-moderate incomes may qualify for a HomeReady® or Home Possible® loan to buy a home with a 3% down payment.

FHA loans. PennyMac requires a minimum credit score of 620 for loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) with a 3.5% down payment.

VA loans. No down payment is required for military borrowers seeking a mortgage backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). PennyMac requires a minimum 640 FICO Score for VA loans.

USDA loans. Rural homebuyers may be eligible for a zero-down mortgage guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Income limits apply and at least a 620 credit score is required.


Conventional refinance loan. Flexible term options may allow you to replace your current loan with a lower-rate mortgage without extending your loan term.

FHA streamline refinance loan. If you have a current FHA loan, you may qualify to replace it with a new rate or better terms with the FHA streamline refi program. In most cases, you won’t need to prove income or a property appraisal.

VA interest rate reduction refinance loan (IRRRL). Borrowers with a current VA loan may be eligible for a lower rate loan with an IRRRL without the hassle of income documents or a home appraisal.

USDA streamlined assist refinance loans. Current USDA borrowers may save money on their monthly payments with a new USDA mortgage. No appraisal is required.

Conventional cash-out refinance loans. Homeowners can tap up to 70% to 80% of their home’s equity, depending on their credit score and whether the home is a primary residence or a rental property.

FHA cash-out refinance loans. Qualified FHA borrowers can access up to 80% of their home’s value to consolidate high-interest debt or make home improvements.

VA cash-out refinance loans. Eligible VA borrowers can get up to 90% of the appraised value of their home with a VA cash-out refinance.

Home equity products

Home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). According to a 2019 press release, PennyMac offers a HELOC product, but qualifying information was not available at the time of this review. A HELOC works like a credit card secured by your home for a set “draw” period; once that period ends the remaining balance has to be paid off in installments.

PennyMac does not appear to offer fixed-rate home equity loans.

PennyMac special mortgage programs

Investment property loans. Customers building a real estate portfolio may be able to buy a single-family home with a down payment as low as 15%. Qualified buyers can benefit from reduced origination fees and in-house loan servicing.

Close on Time Promise. Eligible homebuyers may receive a $500 Visa® gift card if their conventional, FHA, VA or jumbo loan doesn’t close within 45 days of signing their purchase contract (some conditions apply). 

Better Rate Promise. If PennyMac is unable to beat a competitor’s loan estimate, homebuyers may receive a $250 Visa gift card (with some conditions).

The mortgage application process

  • How to apply. PennyMac offers a digital mortgage application process through its Mortgage Access Center (m.a.c). Application logins require two-step verification, which is a more secure way to log into a website with sensitive information.
  • Disclosure process. Lenders are required to provide a loan estimate detailing the terms and costs of their offer within three days of completing your application.
  • Submitting loan for approval. Employment and bank information can be verified electronically. Financial documents can be uploaded before and after normal business hours.
  • Final approval. A team of PennyMac employees will access all uploaded information and work on the loan. The typical loan takes 45 to 60 days to close from start to finish.
  • Closing. You’ll typically receive a closing disclosure (CD) three business days before your scheduled closing that details final loan costs. At closing, you’ll sign paperwork and get your keys.
  • Servicing. PennyMac services its loans and provides an online servicing information portal, as well as a PennyMac Mobile app for smart device users.

Communication during the process

To contact a PennyMac representative:

  • Call 866-549-3583 for rate quotes, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST; Saturday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. PST; and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. PST.
  • Call 800-777-4001 for questions about your current loan.
  • Call 866-545-9070 to discuss options for payment hardship, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. PST and Saturday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. PST.

Today's Mortgage Rates

  • 2.35%
  • 2.13%
  • 3.10%
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