Citibank Mortgage Review: Average Rates and Limited Service

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Citibank Mortgage Review: Average Rates and Limited Service

With few branch locations outside major cities and average interest rates, Citimortgage isn't the best choice for most borrowers.

Good for

  • Large variety of mortgage loan types and options
  • Convenient for linking mortgage payments to Citi deposit accounts
  • Relationship rate discounts for existing Citibank customers

Bad for

  • Limited availability of offices outside major cities
  • Above-average interest rates on mortgages

Editor's Rating


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CitiMortgage: Limited Availability and Average Service

With a complex product like mortgages, many borrowers need and expect lenders to provide service at brick-and-mortar locations. However, Citi's limited set of US branches makes it difficult for the bank to meet this demand, making Citi's mortgages relevant to just a small portion of homebuying consumers. Even if you have Citibank nearby - like many in major cities like New York and Miami, the bank's slightly subpar satisfaction scores and ratio of CFPB complaints suggest that mortgages aren't a stellar area for the brand.

Citibank advertises mortgage rates that depend on the purchase of discount points, making its online estimates less reliable to most borrowers than a formal estimate obtained from a mortgage loan officer. When you take the effect of points into account, Citi's online mortgage estimates present slightly higher rates and fees than similar products at other lenders. If you're considering CitiMortgage for your home loan, it's best to compare it using a formal estimate rather than by relying simply on the bank's limited web tools for mortgages.

How Do Citibank Mortgages Compare?

While Citi's interest rate for a 30-year mortgage may seem similar to offers at other large US banks, you may have to pay for discount points in order to bring your mortgage rate down. Combined with a high monthly cost estimate, the need to buy points at Citi to get a similar rate takes away from its potential value for home buyers. To compare Citibank and its competitors, we obtained online estimates for a standard 30-year mortgage on a $200,000 home with a 10% down payment.

30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Estimates at Major Banks

CitibankChaseBank of AmericaWells Fargo
Interest Rate4.00%4.00%4.00%4.00%
Lender Fees$1,526$1,158$1,073$1,078
Taxes/Third Party Fees$7,134$7,230$8,076$7,565
Monthly Payment$1,260$1,077$1,073$1,078

Because the online mortgage tools provided by each bank uses their own assumptions and calculations, it's somewhat tricky to use them for a fair comparison. Still, it was apparent that Citi's inclusion of a fee for discount points made it significantly more expensive, especially when other lenders quoted the same interest rate with no points needed. In other areas, Citi's closing costs were fairly standard and even offered a slight edge over competitors.

However, it's important to note that Citi's online tool will list costs such as escrow reserves which may inflate its estimated closing costs versus other lenders. These expenses are standard with any mortgage loan, even if lenders choose not to list them in online estimates. You should always base your actual comparison of mortgage options on the formal lender estimates that banks must legally provide within three days. Such estimates are much more closely regulated than online comparison tools and are much more useful for a point-to-point comparison of rates and fees.

Customer Service and Mortgage Servicing

CitiMortgage rates about the same as other popular mortgage lenders when it comes to customer satisfaction. A JD Power survey of mortgage borrowers found that Citibank landed just above the industry average for satisfaction in home loan customer servicing, putting it behind two of the three major US banks.

Mortgage-Related Complaints at Major Banks, 2013-2017

CompanyMortgage OriginationsCFPB ComplaintsRatio2017 JD Power Rating
Wells Fargo2,155,22225,1821.17%745
Bank of America1,172,11328,1872.40%767

However, Citibank posted a higher ratio of complaints than Wells Fargo, illustrating the potential for problems in mortgage servicing. While smaller market share often leads to a lower rate of complaints from borrowers, Citi's relatively small number of originations didn't translate into more focused and reliable service than either of these national megabanks.

Mortgage Loan Products at Citibank

Citibank carries all the common mortgage products that you could expect of a major lender, including fixed rate 15-year and 30-year mortgages and an array of adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs).

Mortgage ProductInterest RateAPRPoints
30-year fixed rate4.00%4.45%1.00
20-year fixed rate3.75%4.13%1.25
15-year fixed rate3.13%3.56%1.38
5/1 Libor ARM3.38%4.21%1.13
7/1 Libor ARM3.50%4.18%0.88
10/1 Libor ARM3.75%4.27%0.88

Citi's advertised mortgage rates are slightly tricky to navigate because they assume the purchase of discount points, which shave percentage points off the initial number in exchange for an upfront fee. While these points can be a useful way to reduce your long-term costs by paying a smaller amount right away, they can also get in the way of an apples-to-apples comparison of mortgage interest rates at Citibank and its competitors. CitiGold and Citi Priority customers enjoy a few more benefits on mortgage products as well. These include a rate discount of 0.25% off of standard home equity lines of credit rates, and tiered mortgage rates and closing costs for home loans based on your balances. Details aren't published, and you'll have to speak with your banker to obtain them.

For any borrowers earning less than 80% of the median income in their area, Citi offers a low-cost mortgage program called HomeRun. With down payments low as 3% and no requirement for mortgage insurance, the bank offers HomeRun mortgages as part of its obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act. Applicants may be required to participate in homeownership education and counseling courses as a prerequisite to qualifying for the program.

Where Can You Get a Mortgage With Citibank?

Citibank is an international institution, but its network of branch locations in the US is somewhat limited outside of major cities like New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. If you're not planning on buying a house within range of Citi's services, you'll probably get better value with a lender that operates closer to home.

map of Citibank branches in the US, by county

Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It has not been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.

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