SunTrust Mortgage Review
SunTrust is a financial services firm that operates across the southeastern U.S. The company offers banking and investment products, credit cards, mortgages, student loans, auto loans, home equity loans, and more.
This post dives into detail on SunTrust’s mortgage services. Specifically, I’m going to talk about the different types of mortgages and refinancing options that SunTrust offers, the bank’s customer service ratings, and the pros and cons of deciding to do business with SunTrust, among other things.
Let’s pull back the curtains and let the sun shine on SunTrust Bank’s mortgage division so you can decide whether they are the right lender for your next home.
About SunTrust Bank
SunTrust has an interesting history with roots stretching back over a century.
SunTrust originally started out as two separate companies: Trust Company of Georgia, which was founded in 1891, and Sun Bank, which was founded in 1911. The two companies merged in 1985 and have acquired several other businesses after that time.
Today, SunTrust is headquartered in Atlanta and employs around 23,000 people. They have over 1,200 branch offices located throughout the Southeast.
Who Owns SunTrust Mortgage?
In 2013, SunTrust was fined $1.5 billion for sketchy mortgage lending practices. (They later settled for a cool $968 million.) In 2019, BB&T Bank acquired SunTrust for $28 million in stock. Together, both SunTrust and BB&T will soon operate under the name Truist.
- Competitive Rates
- Loan Options
- Local Branches
- Offers Banking & Investing Services
- Not In All 50 States
SunTrust Mortgage Loans
Now that we’ve covered the backstory let’s take a look at SunTrust’s mortgage services and product portfolio.
SunTrust offers Fixed-Rate Mortgages, which is the most common type of mortgage loan. Fixed-rate loans include a fixed monthly payment and fixed interest rate for the duration of the loan.
Adjustable-Rate Mortgages (ARMs)
SunTrust’s Adjustable-Rate Mortgages include 5/1 ARMs, 7/1 ARMs, and 10/1 ARMs. These types of loans might be beneficial if you prefer making lower payments toward the beginning of your loan or if you plan to sell your home within a few years from the purchase.
Agency Affordable Financing
Agency Affordable Financing is ideal if you want to make a minimal down payment on your home purchase. (You can put down as little as 3% and still get financing, but you’ll have to pay mortgage insurance unless you put down 20%.) Keep in mind that the maximum allowable home purchase price under the Agency Affordable Financing plan is around $500,000 in most areas and $765,000 in high-cost areas.
Agency Plus Financing
Agency Plus Financing, which is also called High-Cost Mortgage Loans, provides loans for up to $765,600 in high-cost areas as determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Loans
SunTrust offers FHA Loans, which are government-backed loans for first-time homebuyers. FHA Loans might also be an option for people with less than perfect credit who might not qualify for a traditional loan.
Jumbo Mortgages are available for loans up to $3 million. The buyer will have to put anywhere between 6% to 20% down, depending on the amount of the loan, their credit history, and other factors.
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Loans
VA Loans are designed to make home purchases easier for eligible individuals that are either actively serving or have served in the U.S. Armed Forces.
USDA Rural Development Loans
USDA Rural Development Loans are for home purchases in rural areas. In some cases, you don’t even need a down payment or cash reserves. Not all locations qualify for this type of loan, so make sure to contact SunTrust if you think this is the right avenue for you.
Doctor Loan Program
SunTrust’s Doctor Loan Program is available exclusively for dentists, physicians, licensed residents, interns, and fellows. The loan types include fixed or adjustable rates, and the amount you qualify for depends on your employment status.
SunTrust Mortgage Refinancing
Homeowners who are looking to get a better interest rate on their mortgage might consider SunTrust’s Mortgage Refinancing options. You can also refinance your loan to free up cash for a big expense, such as making home improvements or paying off high-interest credit card debt. (SunTrust calls this Cash-Out Refinancing.)
SunTrust Mortgage Rates
You can view SunTrust’s current mortgage rates on their website, but their current advertised interest rates and APR are as follows (1 point):
|Loan Type||Interest Rate||APR|
|30-year fixed interest rate||2.900%||3.0289%|
|15-year fixed interest rate||2.125%||2.3694%|
|30-year Jumbo loan||2.865%||2.9611%|
|FHA 30-year fixed interest rate||2.375%||3.4830%|
|VA 30-year fixed interest rate||2.250%||2.5532%|
*Rates updated as of January 21, 2021
Keep in mind that the actual interest rate you qualify for will depend on a variety of factors, including how much money you put down, your credit score, your employment history, and the value of your property.
To start the mortgage application process, click Apply Now on the right side of your browser. Then enter your email address and password to create a SunTrust online account.
Next, tell them if you’re looking to buy a new home or refinance your current mortgage.
Getting To Know You
At the next step, enter your first name, last name, phone number, marital status, and home address. You can also indicate if you’re an active member of the U.S. Armed Forces (which would likely qualify you for a VA loan).
After that, tell them what type of property you’re looking to buy, what the purchase price is, and how much you’re willing to put down. You’ll also be asked to confirm your Social Security number.
Assets & Income
Once that’s done, it’s time to tell SunTrust about your assets and income.
SunTrust will ask you to confirm if you have any serious financial obligations that might impact your ability to pay back your mortgage loan (e.g., you owe child support, are involved in a lawsuit or owe money to the IRS). Hopefully, your answer is no across the board here!
Once your declarations are submitted, SunTrust asks about your citizenship status, gender, and ethnic background. It looks like you’ll have to provide an answer about your citizenship status, but declaring your gender and ethnic background are optional.
The last steps include a series of additional questions that ask where you’ve lived and worked over the past few years, what your educational background is, whether you have any dependents and if you currently own any real estate.
After that’s done, your application is ready!
The entire process took me about 10 minutes to complete and was pretty painless. As you can see in the above screenshot, you may have to upload tax and employment documents to finalize your application, but that often comes with the territory.
Security & Fraud Protection
SunTrust has a dedicated fraud and security department that provides information about how to protect your accounts and data online.
You can also report suspicious activity through their website or by calling them at 1-800-447-8994.
What’s more, SunTrust offers free identity theft protection—powered by Experian—to their online banking customers. This is a pretty cool feature that I haven’t seen other banks offer.
If you prefer to work with a mortgage officer in person, you can search for a local agent near you. SunTrust’s general customer support line is 1-800-SUNTRUST (1-800-786-8787), and their dedicated mortgage line is 1-800-634-7928.
I did notice that SunTrust doesn’t seem to have the best customer support ratings on Consumer Affairs, so that is something you might want to watch out for. They are ranked in the top third of JD Power’s primary mortgage service customer satisfaction study, so that’s good news, at least!
Pros and Cons
- Competitive mortgage rates and a wide variety of loan options
- Many local branches (if you’re located in the Southeastern U.S.)
- Banking, investing, and credit card services also offered
- Not available in all 50 states
- Some questionable customer service ratings
- You might be able to find lower mortgage rates elsewhere
Alternatives to SunTrust Mortgage
Some of the most popular mortgage lender alternatives to SunTrust mortgage are:
How Do I Pay My SunTrust Mortgage?
There are three ways to pay your SunTrust mortgage: online, over the phone, and by check. I would guess that the easiest way to pay them is by setting up recurring payments online, which you’ll need to be a SunTrust checking account customer to do.
Does SunTrust Do Mortgages?
Yes. SunTrust provides mortgage loans in all shapes and sizes.
Can You Pay SunTrust Mortgage Online?
Yes. You can pay your SunTrust mortgage online. You can either make a one-time payment or set up recurring payments if you’re an online banking customer.
Is SunTrust Right for You?
While SunTrust might not be the most widely recognizable bank or mortgage lender in the US, they have been around for over 100 years and seem to be pretty good at what they do.
If you live in the Southeast and are in the market for a new mortgage or if you’re looking to refinance your current mortgage, you probably can’t go wrong by seeing what SunTrust has to offer.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for an online-only mortgage experience, or if you don’t live in the Southeast, you might want to check out some of the newer mortgage lenders (like Better Mortgage or SoFi) that are available in most states.
It’s no secret that getting a mortgage is a stressful and intensive process. I hope that this post has helped you decide if SunTrust offers the services you need. If you’d like to learn more about how the mortgage process works, check out my post: What is a Mortgage?
Happy mortgage shopping!