Industry Watch: New programs from Fifth Third, UWM, Planet Home Lending and more

Fifth Third Bank announced its Rate Drop Protector program to help allay concerns about fluctuating interest rates as the Federal Reserve works to tame inflation. Through the program, prospective homebuyers can purchase a home and lock in rates, knowing that if rates decrease in the future, Fifth Third will waive all applicable lender closing costs on the subsequent refinance transaction for clients who apply for and purchase a home with an eligible Fifth Third Bank product between April 1 and Sept. 30, 2023. If these eligible borrowers opt to refinance their home between six to 24 months from the time of the original purchase closing date, Fifth Third will waive their processing, underwriting, application, origination and commitment fees — a savings of up to $1,295, according to the company.

United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) announced Conventional 1% Down, a product that will allow for a home purchase with a downpayment of only 1% contributed by the borrower. When a borrower puts 1% down, UWM will pay an additional 2%, up to $4,000, giving the borrower a total of 3% for their downpayment. The offer will be available for homebuyers who have an income at or below 50% of area median income.

First Federal Bank and BNC National Bank announced the signing of a definitive agreement for First Federal to acquire certain assets and liabilities of BNC’s mortgage division. As a result of the transaction, First Federal will continue to serve BNC’s mortgage customers from its existing locations in Overland Park, Kansas; Moline, Illinois; and Bismarck, North Dakota; as well as in the Phoenix area. The purchase is expected to close in the second quarter of 2023. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Planet Home Lending added a new home loan option, 1st Year Flex, which lowers monthly payments for new homeowners for one year. The program is a temporary buydown, paid through a lender credit, essentially giving the effect of a lower rate for the first year of the loan term. With a temporary buydown, the interest rate is effectively lowered for a limited time, typically one or two years. This temporarily lessens the monthly payment, with the ability to refinance into a lower fixed rate when rates decrease. Planet also offers two-year temporary-buydown and permanent-buydown options. Buydowns can be paid for by home sellers, buyers or Planet Home Lending.


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