I love Navy federal, but they've kinda bummed me out...

17 Replies

Going through the process of buying my first home. Plan to live there for 6 months or so, then move and rent the residence out. I am doing a Va loan through Navy Federal Credit Union. Let me start with this, I absolutely love nfcu. 3am and you need someone to talk to? Call navy fed and they'll tuck you in. BUT....oh boy, as soon as I take out a loan and am assigned a loan officer, I was shaken to find out that communication wasn't going to happen. I was assigned Jessica (not her real name). I can tell you, over this month long process(so far), I have never heard Jessica's voice. At first I cut her some slack because her online business card said she answered emails faster. I quickly realized this wasn't "fast" either. She never answered or returned any calls when I or my real estate agent left voicemails. Thank the heavens my real estate agent is awesome and helped me through. After 10 or so days of her emails not being answered she bombarded there call centers raising cane and our questions were "answered". Now we find out that I may not make our close date because the va appraisal wasn't scheduled, it was requested. Which could take 2-3 weeks. I feel like some of this could've been avoided if I had experience, but I simply didn't. 

2 questions:

1. Is this typical behavior of a loan officer? I ask because I honestly don't know. I'm sure she's loaded with other clients, and I was always nice. Maybe I was to understanding? Ps: she also took a week vacation during(I only found out from an robot email) and although they said i'd receive a replacement agent, I didn't.

2. Because my (freshly assigned) processing agent can't control the VA side of the house as far as time, is there a way I can contact the VA and check the status of appraisals?

Not uncommon to read this feedback for VA loans and the "default" places that veterans go. Basically it's no different than the used car lot or tattoo parlor right outside the base gates.

Some people have great experiences, and like anything else there are good and bad people. It's a matter of probabilities. 

Speaking to probabilities, it does appear that most of the stories like yours seem to come out of places like that, "default" places a veteran will go for a VA loan, where they don't need to compete on pricing, communication, rate, fees, service, or speed, since they can be horrible at them all, and people will STILL call them up because "I've had my checking account there since I was a private." No real incentive to sharpen the pencil, is there?

Same thing with that tattoo parlor right outside the base gates. The bald eagle on that tat can look like melting candle wax, but they will STILL get business, won't they? 

When I got my VA Loan....not through NFCU by the way....it was pretty darn seemless and my loan officer was very prompt. By hte way, if your plan is to live there 6 months and then move out and rent it to someone, i would NOT be telling this to the NFCU people,...not saying you did, but do not communicate that to them....sometimes they can be a little touchy on this.

It's hit or miss with NFCU and USAA when it comes to VA loans.

Mentioning you plan on moving is a surefire way to get turned down. 

@Brian Garlington thanks for the heads up! I told them I wasn’t planning on living there forever and of my plan to rent. They said as long as it was my primary for a month or so. 6 months is just a ball park. If I find a partner for my first actual investment property, it could be longer.

The Federal credit unions in general typically really suck. Just think it through logiclly. Credit union, non profit, whixh leads to low paid loan officers, which leads then to low quality loan officers in addition to high turnover.

In the DC area, most sellers and listing agents wont even look at an offer if the lender is a federal credit union, since there is a high probability of problems with the transaction. (Penfed excluded from the generalization)

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :

In the DC area, most sellers and listing agents wont even look at an offer if the lender is a federal credit union, since there is a high probability of problems with the transaction. (Penfed excluded from the generalization)

3 or 4 years ago, PenFed 15/15 was the hottest thing in town. :) 

@Colby Easterling

NFCU....Well yeah they can be difficult & it does depend on your loan officer. We have used them in the past for auto/refinance & tried with VA but they were so picky about everything when it came to the home loan. USAA wasn't any better. We actually used a bank that had multiple locations in the Midwest then sold out to bank of the west. The difference was that we actually met with a loan officer & had a green light for VA loan in less than an hour. She helped us from beginning to end! I will say that the real estate agent I have used for the last 16 years is always able to recommend a good loan officer especially for VA. It's good that you have an agent that's actually jumping in there & turning up the heat. Best of Luck!

@Colby Easterling

I started with Navy Fed and did not have same trouble. In fact they would not stop calling to check in on me. Also, I used their home buying service and had an extra assistant just to answer questions and keep a check on my recommended real estate agent. I think I might ask for another loan officer. Good luck!

@Colby Easterling I bought my first house through USAA. Had no issues with the loan officer but the appraiser took the maximum amount of time to knock out the appraisal. I think flash to bang we were in the house within 30 days which I think is pretty quick

@Colby Easterling  Honestly, the home buying process is one of the most stressful life events. 

Think about it, it is one of the most expensive purchases you'll make. Of course, some people would get a smooth process from start to finish.

Best thing you could do here is trying to stay on her and NFCU in general by calling them.

Hope it all works in the end, it always does too. 

@Colby Easterling

I am not a vet, so I don't have experience with their VA loans. But I do bank with Navy Fed, so I tried using them for both my primary home purchases. One 5% down, one 20% down, both conventional. They offered uncompetitive rates both times and gave slower closing timelines. The only reason I would ever try them again is if I were going to use their 0% down loan. I am kind of shocked that they are not good at VA loans... when I tried the second time with 20% down they seemed clueless about how to deal with a traditional loan. I assumed that was because they spent most of their time working VA loans. I guess they just aren't good at mortgages overall.

@Colby Easterling

I am a Loan Officer and have done more than a few VA loans. Honestly, I couldn't imagine originating a loan of any kind and not having a line of communication with my client, especially in the early stages, including through completion of the appraisal. I've competed against Navy Federal a few times and they are usually very good at what they do from my experience. With that said, not all Loan Officers are as diligent or attentive as they should be.

As far as the appraisal, most lenders contract it out to a third party company.  If it's been assigned, a call to schedule the inspection should have been made by the appraiser to the seller or the seller's agent.  Your realtor should be able to contact the other agent to see if it has been scheduled.  Furthermore, the processor should be able to update you on that.  I'm a little confused as to why they are saying they can't.  

If you keep having problems, speak to a manager.

I have two NavyFed loans and have had the same experience. Ive had to get the loan officer's boss on the phone and chastise them. Poor communication would be an understatement. However, for a little work I have two loans at 3.75% and a HELOC, so meh. I have experienced the same with a few other loan officers that I ended up firing. In the end business is booming so if you fall off the earth they don't care.

Final conclusion: “Not all loan officers are created equal” and credit unions (due to volume) are hit or miss.

Update: the loan processing officer seems a lot more available, and they apologized for the lack of communication from the other office.

All in all. I think I got my answer. I’m going to keep pushing with navy fed for this house and chock it up to a “live and learn”.

Thanks for all the wisdom guys! I figured I just got a bad/busy apple 😂

@Colby Easterling navy federal has great rates but I don't recommend anyone using them for a first time home purchase unless they have an experienced agent. I purchased my home with them and constantly had to catch their mistakes. With a big bank it is just a cost of doing business. Your agent should have been on top of these things to avoid these situations.