PNC Mortgage Review: More Convenience, Fewer Details

PNC Mortgage Review: More Convenience, Fewer Details

PNC may be a good place to start your mortgage search if you value peace of mind in dealing with loan officers and real estate agents. Although PNC’s online mortgage estimates don’t quite live up to the level of transparency and customization offered by competitors, its dedicated Home Insight Tracker streamlines the home loan process in a way that few other mortgage lenders can match. Otherwise, PNC Bank’s mortgage products appear quite similar to mortgage loan offers run by larger national banks.

PNC Mortgages: Greater Convenience But Fewer Details

A mortgage with PNC may provide some unique benefits if you happen to live within the bank’s service area. The Home Insight Tracker is PNC’s web interface for managing your mortgage application. It allows you to track the progress of your documents and application in real time, communicating with your loan officer and real estate agent via email and secure messaging. Not many other mortgage lenders have devoted such attention to keeping borrowers and lenders on the same page, making the Home Insight Tracker a significant advantage to choosing PNC for your home loan.

PNC’s focus on using web solutions to deliver added customer convenience is also apparent in its deposit account products like Virtual Wallet, which may make the bank convenient for you as a place to centralize all your finances. But overall, PNC’s mortgage rates and fees are about the same as most other brick-and-mortar banks. This problem is amplified by the fact that the bank’s online tools won’t show you any of the usual information on mortgage closing costs.

How Do PNC Home Loans Compare?

Where mortgage interest rates are concerned, PNC appears slightly more affordable than major banks in the US. However, the inability to adjust your quote with specific details and the lack of information about its closing costs makes it difficult to compare the value of a PNC home loan. We’ve reviewed below how PNC stacks up against its competitors for a typical and standard 30-year mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 10% down payment:

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30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Estimates at Major Banks

PNC Chase Bank of America Wells Fargo
Interest Rate 3.88% 4.00% 4.00% 4.00%
APR 4.03% 4.27% 4.35% 4.23%
Down Payment 20% 10% 10% 10%
Monthly Payment $752 $1,077 $1,073 $1,078

PNC’s estimated monthly payment is for principal and interest but excludes property taxes and insurance

At first glance, PNC’s mortgages offer considerably lower interest rates than you’ll find at larger banks such as Bank of America or Wells Fargo. However, the limited functionality of PNC’s online mortgage tools don’t allow you to see customized rates based on your own credit score or down payment amount. Moreover, the bank’s rate estimator doesn’t permit users to see any information about typical closing costs for a mortgage. These factors make it important and inescapable for applicants to speak directly with a mortgage loan officer at PNC rather than rely on online tools alone.

If you’re determined to choose PNC for your mortgage because you’re already a customer with existing checking or savings accounts, you should begin by requesting a formal home loan estimate. Although this involves more documents and a credit check, it’s a necessary step towards discovering the closing costs you’ll be facing at PNC. Keeping all your finances at one bank can be much easier than cherry-picking services from different institutions, but keep in mind that a mortgage usually represents one of the largest expenses you’ll ever have. This means you shouldn’t default to choosing a PNC mortgage based on convenience alone.

Customer Service and Mortgage Servicing

We looked at a few different measures to rate PNC’s performance in customer satisfaction for mortgages. PNC Bank scored at exactly the industry average in JD Power’s 2017 survey of satisfaction in mortgage loan servicing, but its rate of CFPB complaints was much lower than those experienced by customers of the three largest US banks.

Mortgage-Related Complaints at Major Banks, 2013-2017

Company Mortgage Originations CFPB Complaints Ratio 2017 JD Power Rating
PNC 477,347 4,092 0.86% 750
Chase 948,000 14,778 1.56% 764
Wells Fargo 2,155,222 25,182 1.17% 745
Bank of America 1,172,113 28,187 2.40% 767

With less than half the origination volume of Chase, Wells Fargo and Bank of America, PNC Bank had far fewer complaints reported to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. For mortgage lending in general, the most common complaints include those dealing with billing and payment, escrow accounts and overall communication. PNC’s survey performance may be average, but its low ratio of actual complaints suggest that the bank is better than average in dealing with such issues.

Mortgage Loan Products at PNC

Besides the standard 15- and 30-year fixed rate purchase mortgages, PNC carries products for homeowners that want to refinance existing mortgages or take out a second mortgage in the form of a HELOC or home equity loan. In short, this bank offers the standard range of home loan products you’d expect of any major US bank.

Mortgage Product Interest Rate APR Monthly Payment
30-year fixed rate 3.88% 4.02% $752
15-year fixed rate 3.13% 3.56% $1,105
FHA 30-year fixed 3.63% 4.49% $836
FHA 15-year fixed 2.88% 3.94% $1,189
5/1 ARM 3.38% 4.21% $685
7/1 ARM 3.38% 3.90% $707

PNC’s online mortgage tools assume that you’ll provide a full 20% down payment on the bank’s conventional loans, which results in significantly lower monthly payment estimates. Contrast this with PNC’s FHA mortgage loans, which project monthly costs based on a down payment of just 5%. Other mortgage lenders advertising home loan estimates online will allow you to adjust your anticipated down payment, but PNC’s site streamlines its presented costs by setting down payment at a level high enough to eliminate the extra expense of mortgage insurance.

Interestingly, PNC also offers a unique mortgage program for people interested in minimizing their down payment without incurring mortgage insurance premiums. The 80-10-10 Combination Loan consists of a conventional first mortgage for 80% of your purchase price alongside a home equity line of credit for 9.9%. The loan requires a down payment for the remaining 10.1%, about half of what you usually need to eliminate mortgage insurance. Doubling the number of loans may raise your closing costs, but PNC’s Combination Loan may be worthwhile if you’re concerned about mortgage insurance.

Where Can You Get a Mortgage With PNC?

PNC has hundreds of branch locations in the Eastern US, but it’s not as easily found in New England and some parts of the South. If you aren’t considering a home purchase close to one of its brick-and-mortar offices, there’s no shortage of alternative mortgage lenders you should consider before PNC. Mortgages are one of the biggest and most complex financial products you’ll deal with as a consumer, and many borrowers find it important to have an option for in-person service at their local bank or lender.

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