Churchill Mortgage Lender Review 2021: No Online Rates, but Good for People With No Credit History

A photo to accompany a review of Churchill Mortgage Illustration/NextAdvisor

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Churchill Mortgage is an employee-owned mortgage lender that was founded in 1992. Today, Churchill is headquartered in Brentwood, Tennessee, and offers a standard lineup of mortgage products in every state and Washington, D.C.

Borrowers can start the loan process online, over the phone, at an office, or using the lender’s app, but they’ll need to work with a loan specialist before applying. Here’s what to know about Churchill Mortgage if you’re looking to purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage.

Pros and Cons of Churchill Mortgage

Pros

  • Offers loans for “credit invisible” borrowers

  • Borrowers may close within 20 to 30 days

  • Borrowers can lock in a rate for free during the home shopping process and once they submit a mortgage application

Cons

  • Doesn’t list rates and fees online

  • Doesn’t offer home equity loans or home equity lines of credit

  • You’ll need to speak with a loan specialist before applying

Churchill Mortgage: Loan Types and Products

Churchill Mortgage offers a standard lineup of mortgage options for borrowers who are looking to purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage. From start to finish, closing on a loan with this lender takes about 20 to 30 days. 

Here’s what’s on the lender’s menu right now: 

Churchill’s “no score” loan can help borrowers who have paid off debt and don’t have a credit score. Using manual underwriting, the lender will build a credit history to help the borrower get approved. This special process can take a little longer than traditional underwriting, and you’ll need to show housing payments for at least 12 months. 

There are several products missing from Churchill’s lineup. You won’t find reverse mortgages, home equity loans, HELOCs, renovation loans, and construction loans. That means Churchill isn’t the best lender if you need to build or rehabilitate a home. 

With its standard offerings, borrowers have a choice between fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) loans, and several refinance mortgage options.

Churchill Mortgage Transparency

Churchill Mortgage’s website contains several homebuyer education guides and mortgage calculators to help you figure out how much home you can afford — but the information isn’t always organized in a way that’s clear. The website also doesn’t advertise current mortgage rates, despite listing a few misleading links such as “Current Interest Rates” and “Rate Watch.”

But once you’re connected with a loan officer, the application process is straightforward and you’ll have help along the way. The lender offers several ways to connect, including phone call, an app for iOS and Android devices, and branch locations across the U.S.

Churchill Mortgage: Rates and Fees 

Churchill does not advertise mortgage rates on its website and doesn’t provide a list of lender fees that borrowers might pay at closing, so we spoke with a loan officer to get information.

The minimum credit score at Churchill Mortgage is 620, no matter what type of loan you’re applying for. This is a high benchmark compared to other lenders, which often lower the minimum credit score requirement to around 580 for government-sponsored loans. 

But you may have options if you’ve paid off your debts and lack a credit score altogether. With Churchill’s “no score” loan, the lender can create a credit history for you using at least 12 months’ worth of housing payments. 

Borrowers won’t pay prepayment penalties on any of Churchill’s loans, but they’ll pay a lender fee of $1,225 at closing. The lender says homebuyers should be prepared to pay between 2% and 5% of the loan amount in third-party closing fees and prepaid costs. 

The lender also offers a Rate Secured program, in which applicants can lock in an interest rate for up to 90 days while shopping for a home. You can also lock your rate for another 90 days after submitting a loan application. If rates drop after locking, you get the lower rate.

Refinancing With Churchill Mortgage

Homeowners usually refinance their mortgage to change their loan term or interest rate, remove private mortgage insurance, or switch loan types. When you refinance with Churchill, you have a few loan options:

According to a loan officer, borrowers may get a discount on their lender fee if they refinance an existing Churchill mortgage with the lender. Here are the other fees you may pay:

  • Discount points (optional)
  • Credit fees
  • Appraisal fees
  • Escrow and title fees
  • Prepaid homeowners’ insurance and property taxes

If you’d like to avoid these upfront costs, Churchill can roll your closing costs into your loan. 

Churchill Mortgage Compared to Other Mortgage Lenders

Churchill MortgageWells FargoloanDepot
Minimum credit score620620620 for conventional loans; 700 for jumbo loans; 580 for FHA loans; 620 for VA loans
Minimum down payment0% to 5%, depending on the loan program0% to 3.5% or more, depending on the mortgage program)0% to 5%, depending on the loan program
Where does the lender operate?All 50 states and Washington, D.C.All 50 states and Washington, D.C.All 50 states and Washington, D.C.
Major loan typesConventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, various renovation loans, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, cash-out refinance, reverse mortgages, home equity loans, home equity lines of creditConventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, cash-out refinance, construction loansConventional, jumbo, VA, FHA, renovation loans, adjustable-rate, fixed-rate, refinance, cash-out refinance

How to Shop Around to Get the Best Mortgage Rate

Mortgage rates aren’t standard across the board — they can change every day and vary widely with every lender. So it’s a good idea to shop around and compare offers so you know you’re getting the best deal.

Start by comparing mortgage lenders and submitting mortgage applications with at least three of them. These applications will each cause a hard inquiry, but you can lessen the impact to your credit if you submit all of your applications within one 45-day window.

The lender will go over your application, pull your credit, and provide you with a mortgage Loan Estimate. This standardized form can help you compare interest rates and lender fees on each loan. Taking this simple step helped borrowers save an average of $3,000 over the life of the loan, according to a Freddie Mac survey.

You might be able to save more if you negotiate, too. Send the best offer to another lender, and ask them to beat the interest rate or closing costs (or both). Having good credit may encourage lenders to compete for your business. 

Bottom Line

Churchill Mortgage is a good option for people who lack a credit history or borrowers looking for a standard home loan product. But if you need to build or rehabilitate a home, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Either way, it’s always a good idea to compare lenders and loan offers before applying for a home loan.