SunTrust Mortgage Review: Down Payments as Low as 3%

SunTrust Mortgage Review: Down Payments as Low as 3%

SunTrust is best for people in the Southeastern US who are looking for mortgages with lower down payments.

Good for

  • FHA and HomeReady loan options for lower down payments
  • Fewer complaints per mortgage customer than average banks

Bad for

  • Mortgage interest rates similar to competitors
  • Service availability limited to Southeastern US states

Editor's Rating

3.0/5.0

A regional bank found predominantly in the Southeast, SunTrust provides multiple choices for home loans that reduce your down payment obligation. At SunTrust, mortgages guaranteed by the FHA allow for down payments as low as 3%. While the bank doesn't provide a great deal of specific information online, SunTrust has received solid ratings for its mortgage servicing and customer satisfaction.

SunTrust: Good For Low Down Payments

SunTrust can be a good choice if you're concerned about meeting your down payment requirement. The bank participates in several mortgage programs that help borrowers stretch the purchasing power of their savings. Specifically, SunTrust offers both FHA loans and HomeReady® loans, which can drastically lower the required down payment on a mortgage. Depending on your income, credit and other financial details, these products enable lenders like SunTrust to accept as little as 3% of the total loan value in down payment.

The bank's strong focus on these programs is obvious when you consider the fact that its website doesn't even list mortgage rates for its own conventional loans. While you can still apply for these mortgages at SunTrust, you'll have to go through the longer process of requesting a Good Faith Estimate by contacting or meeting a loan officer. This can take up to three business days and requires you to submit a substantial amount of personal information, but it's easily the most thorough source of information about the rate and fees you can expect.

How Do SunTrust Mortgages Compare?

SunTrust's mortgage rates are in line with national averages for each of its loan types. SunTrust's website doesn't share the rates for conventional mortgages, so we compared the bank's fixed rate 30-year HomeReady® loan to conventional loans of the same length at the largest US banks.

30-Year Fixed Rate Mortgage Estimates at Major Banks

SunTrustChaseWells FargoBank of America
Interest Rate4.10%4.00%4.00%3.75%
APR4.17%4.05%4.04%3.91%
Monthly Payment$966$955$955$926
Points0.05--0.94

Unlike other well-established banks of its size, SunTrust doesn't seem to provide informal rate and fee estimates through its mortgage website. To get a more accurate comparison of SunTrust's published mortgage rates, we took the assumptions used by the bank and plugged them into online rate tools built by three other major banks. All of the interest rates for SunTrust's home loans were based on a home price of $250,000, with a down payment of $50,000.

Doing so showed that SunTrust's version of the Fannie Mae HomeReady® loan carried a slightly higher interest rate than standard conventional loans at any of the three national banking brands. One exception might be found at Bank of America, where the lower rate was partly due to the effect of mortgage discount points, which allow you to "buy down" your interest rate with extra fees. Unfortunately, SunTrust doesn't provide any look at its mortgage closing costs either, making it hard to judge the effect of points on its own products.

Customer Service and Mortgage Servicing

As a regional bank, SunTrust seems to have translated its smaller share of the mortgage market into a more satisfying customer experience for its existing home loan customers. The bank ranked a dozen points above the average score in JD Power's 2017 survey of consumer satisfaction among US mortgage servicers.

Mortgage-Related Complaints at Major Banks, 2013-2017

CompanyMortgage OriginationsCFPB ComplaintsRatio2017 JD Power Rating
SunTrust315,7482,2620.72%767
Chase948,00014,7781.56%764
Wells Fargo2,155,22225,1821.17%745
Bank of America1,172,11328,1872.40%767

Home loan customers with SunTrust also tend to complain about service issues at a lower rate than customers at any of the three biggest banks. For this comparison, we looked at the public database of complaints collected by the CFPB since 2013. Dividing the total number of complaints by the volume of mortgage originations gave us a better picture of how often borrowers run into issues with different lenders. Together, SunTrust's low rate of complaints and high survey score suggest that it does a significantly better job of managing its mortgage relationships with consumers.

Mortgage Loan Products at SunTrust

SunTrust has a somewhat jumbled list of mortgage products available on its website, but it doesn't include much information about its own conventional loans. Instead, it advertises a variety of programs backed by other institutions like Fannie Mae and the Federal Housing Administration. These include HomeReady® financing and FHA loan programs.

Mortgage ProductInterest RateAPRPoints
Agency 30 Year Fixed4.10%4.17%0.05
FHA 30 Year Fixed3.90%4.96%0.01
Jumbo 30 Year Fixed4.60%4.64%0.01
Agency 15 Year Fixed3.38%3.49%0.06
Agency 5/1 ARM3.63%3.94%0.09
Agency 7/1 ARM3.49%3.84%0.25

Agency loans are SunTrust's label for the Fannie Mae HomeReady® and Home Possible® programs, which both allow higher loan-to-value ratios that allow people with less in savings to think about applying for a home loan. Alongside the more popular FHA loans, SunTrust's participation in these programs make it a mortgage lender that's particularly focused on providing more options for customers that want to lower their down payment requirements.

As far as mortgage interest rates go, SunTrust's offerings are about average. The rates above assumed a purchase price of $250,000 with a 20% down payment and credit score of 720. If you factor in the effect of the discount points lowering the mortgage rates, then a few of SunTrust's mortgage products actually charge higher rates than usual. For instance, the conventional 30-year fixed rate of 4.10% with 0.05 purchased points would otherwise be 4.15% —15 basis points higher than the standard rate at most US mortgage lenders today.

Where Can You Get a Mortgage With SunTrust?

SunTrust branch locations are exclusive to the Southeastern US, from Maryland and the DC area down to Florida. If you're living or moving outside of these areas, SunTrust might not be an available mortgage provider.

map of SunTrust branches in the US, by county

How Does SunTrust Compare to Today's Mortgage Rates?

If you'd like to explore alternative lender options to SunTrust, use the table below to compare today's mortgage rates.

LenderAPRMonthly PaymentLoan Fees
Homestead Funding Corp4.625%$822.62$0.00Inquire Now
Citibank, N. A.5.052%$846.73$3,190.00Inquire Now
HomeDirect Mortgage4.875%$846.73$0.00Inquire Now
Ally Bank4.911%$846.73$665.00Inquire Now
Flagstar Bank4.931%$846.73$1,028.00Inquire Now

Rates assume a home purchase of $200,000 in New York with a 20% down payment and credit score of 740. Estimates include origination fees and points but don't include other closing costs.

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