USAA is a full-service financial institution that specifically serves military personnel and their families. Established in 1922 in San Antonio, Texas, USAA stands for the United Services Automobile Association, but its services have grown to include mortgage products, banking, insurance policies and investment options.
Over 8.8 million veterans, active service military personnel and their families are members. USAA is not a publicly traded company, nor is it affiliated with the U.S. Department Veterans Affairs (VA); it only answers to its members. Much like a credit union, you must be a member to obtain a mortgage or participate in any of the other programs that USAA offers.
Home Mortgage Programs
USAA mortgage rates are very competitive with the market. They offer a full range of loans, including VA and FHA mortgages, as well as conforming mortgages backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. Fixed-rate mortgages are available in 15- or 30-year terms, and adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs) are offered with a 5-year initial term.
USAA also offers jumbo loans on mortgages over $417,000. Rates for jumbo mortgages follow market value and tend to run a bit higher than standard conforming mortgages.
If you’re shopping for a home, you can get pre-approved for a USAA Mortgage via their website, usaa.com. Once you have been pre-approved and have a contract for a home purchase, you can complete the process with USAA Mortgage through their toll-free number.
USAA offers a full range of mortgage refinancing options, including cash-out refinancing. Refinance rates are very competitive with other mortgage lenders. Refinance options are the same as for mortgages to purchase a home, including conforming, VA, FHA and jumbo mortgages, with terms of 15- or 30-year fixed-rate loans or 5-year ARMs.
A standard refinance will require that you have an appraisal done to determine the current property value and how much equity you have. You’ll also need to go through a credit check, and provide proof of your income. Fees are similar to those on a home purchase mortgage.
If you owe more on your mortgage than the property is worth (known as being underwater on the loan) or have little equity in the property, you will not be able to qualify for a standard refinance. If you have a VA or FHA mortgage, you may still be able to obtain a streamlined refinance as long as you are current on your mortgage payments, as those do not require a property appraisal.
If you are underwater on a conforming mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you may be able to qualify for a federal Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) through USAA, provided that you are current on your mortgage payments. You do not need to have your current mortgage with USAA to qualify for a HARP refinance through them.
Home Equity Loans
USAA offers two distinct home equity loan programs. The first is a standard home equity loan, where you borrow a single lump sum secured by the equity in your home. USAA allows you to borrow against up to 80 percent of your home value on a home equity loan, minus whatever you still owe on your current mortgage. These are fixed-rate loans with terms of up to 20 years, although you can get a lower rate by choosing a term of 15 years or less.
The other product is a home equity line of credit (HELOC). This is like a credit card secured by the equity in your home. You can borrow up to a certain predetermined amount, when you need it and in the amounts you need. You pay interest only on what you borrow. USAA allows you to borrow against up to 70 percent of your home value on a HELOC (again, minus whatever you owe on your current mortgage). USAA does not charge closing fees, annual fees or early payment charges on HELOCs.
USAA Federal Savings Bank
9800 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78288
Hours of Operation
7:30am to 7:00pm Monday through Friday
Mortgage pre-approval online at or call 1-800-531-0463.
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