SunTrust Mortgage Review


What is SunTrust?

Founded in 1890 and headquartered in Atlanta, SunTrust is one of the nation’s largest banks, offering a full range of products and services to individuals and businesses.

SunTrust Mortgage, the division that issues and services mortgages, was founded in 1927 and is based in Richmond, Va. It has originated and purchased $24.4 billion in mortgages and has a mortgage-servicing portfolio totaling $171 billion.


Working with SunTrust Mortgage

SunTrust Mortgage serves clients through 1,218 branches and retail locations in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic states and nationally through its online services, direct-call center and a network of partner lenders. There are branches in:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Maryland
  • Mississippi
  • North Carolina
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Washington, D.C.
  • West Virginia

However, SunTrust accepts phone and online applications from all states except Oregon, Alaska, Arizona and Hawaii.

The company offers loan options for customers at varying credit levels. For example, with FHA loans, SunTrust will accept borrowers with a credit score as low as 580, provided they meet down payment requirements.

To address the various needs of homebuyers, the company offers both manual and automated underwriting across its programs.

With SunTrust, customers can finance multiple property types as determined by the loan program:

  • Single-family homes
  • Multi-family homes
  • Modular homes
  • Prefabricated, panelized and sectional homes
  • Condos (under certain circumstances)
  • Co-ops (under certain circumstances)
  • Townhomes
  • Mixed-use properties
  • Planned-unit developments (PUDs)
  • Investment properties

SunTrust mortgage products

SunTrust offers a variety of options to consumers looking to purchase or refinance a home.

Purchase

Refinance

Home equity


SunTrust special mortgage programs

In addition to its standard offerings, SunTrust offers consumers the following programs and benefits.

  • Doctor Loan Program. SunTrust provides flexible financing options for professionals and students in the medical and dental fields.
  • Mortgage Assistance programs. Customers who run into difficulty paying their mortgages can access a variety of relief options.

The mortgage application process

SunTrust provides buyers with three ways to apply for a mortgage: online, over the phone or in person at a local branch.

How to apply.

With the online tool, you’ll sign application forms electronically, upload required documentation and will be able to automate the process of providing bank statements and tax forms. Once an application is submitted, a loan officer will contact you for further steps. The online account also allows you to check the status of your application.

    Customers can also initiate a request for preapproval online by completing a form on SunTrust’s website and will be contacted by a loan officer to complete the process.
    Phone and branch applicants start the process by having a consultation with a loan officer who will receive your information, help you identify your loan options and walk you through the process of getting pre-qualified or preapproved.
    SunTrust offers two options for preapproval. Its ConfidenceNow Preapproval is based on unverified information and is good for 120 days, while its Underwriting Credit Approval is verified by an underwriter.
    Customers who choose to apply online will do so through SmartGUIDE, SunTrust’s digital platform. You’ll be prompted to create an account and provide your personal information and details about the type of home you are buying. The application will walk you through determining the mortgage option that is best for you.

Disclosure process

After you’ve found a property, you will submit your official loan application. If you were preapproved, you might need to provide updated information. You can choose to lock in your rate at this point or at any time in the loan process up to 15 days before closing.

SunTrust gives all applicants the option of receiving loan disclosures electronically, including the loan estimate you will receive within three business days of submitting your application. Once received, you will then notify SunTrust of your intent to proceed with the loan and pay any application fees. This will also trigger an appraisal of the property.

Submitting the loan for approval.

A loan processor will prepare your file for underwriting and will request any additional information needed from you.

Final approval.

The loan processor will notify you of the final loan decision and whether you need to provide additional documentation or satisfy requirements.

Closing.

At least three days before closing, you will receive your closing disclosure, either electronically or through traditional channels, as per your choice. The closing disclosure details the final terms and fees associated with your loan. At the closing, which typically takes place at the office of one of the closing attorneys, you will sign all the documents related to the loan.

Communication during the process

Throughout the application and approval process, you will interact with the multiple SunTrust team members who will see your loan through to close. Your initial contact will be with your loan officer, who will help oversee and guide you through the entire process. However, as the loan processor prepares your file for underwriting, he or she will become your primary point of contact.

Additional team members include the underwriter who will decide whether your loan is approved and the closer who prepares your loan for closing.

If you choose to apply through SmartGUIDE, you will be able to communicate with your loan officer at any time.


Pros and cons of a SunTrust mortgage

Pros

  • Quick application process. A mortgage or refinance application can be completed online in minutes.
  • Discounts on other SunTrust products. Mortgage customers can receive an interest-rate reduction and discounts on other SunTrust services, such as auto loans, home equity lines of credit, personal banking and credit cards.
  • Homebuyer Privileges®. SunTrust customers can enjoy discounts from national retailers on a variety of items needed for the home from furniture and appliances to home decor and tools.
  • Mobile app. SunTrust customers can access their mortgage details through its mobile app.

Cons

  • Limited special programs. SunTrust lacks a robust offering of special mortgage programs, most notably, programs specifically for first-time homebuyers.
  • SunTrust does not accept applications in all 50 states.
  • Not good for those who prefer to apply in person. SunTrust has branches in only 11 states.
  • The website does not provide detailed information on all its products.
  • Limited criteria information. The website does not specify borrower eligibility or requirements, such as minimum credit scores or down payments, for its loans.

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.