Franklin American Mortgage Review

Franklin American Mortgage Company was established in 1994 as a small mortgage lender with a single office in Brentwood, Tennessee. Within one year of its founding, Franklin American had expanded its reach to residents in Texas and continued to grow until it was acquired by Citizens Bank in 2018.

Although the merger with its parent is ongoing, Franklin American’s customers enjoy the same personalized service they received during the company’s 25 independent years in business.

Franklin American Background

Franklin American Mortgage Company has been in operation for just over 25 years, yet it has fostered a positive reputation as a trusted home loan provider in Tennessee and parts of Texas. The company was formally acquired by Citizens Bank in 2018 and is currently in the process of merging its assets and online resources.

This acquisition has caused some disruption to the company’s normal operations and it is unclear whether Franklin American will continue to process new mortgage applications moving forward.

While the company’s website does advertise a number of mortgage products, including conventional fixed- and adjustable-rate, jumbo, FHA, USDA, and VA loans, it lacks all of the information a borrower needs to make an informed decision. Franklin American’s website also does not allow users to apply for a home loan or obtain a rate quote.

Franklin American was fully accredited by the Better Business Bureau in 2005, with almost all of its physical branches earning an A+ rating from the business accreditation organization. However, visiting the company’s BBB profiles will automatically redirect users to the Citizens Bank headquarters page, which houses more than 750 customer complaints filed over the past three years.

Homebuyers should be aware that any new mortgage provided by this lender will be facilitated by Citizens Bank, so be sure to do significant research before submitting a home loan application.

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Franklin American Loan Specifics

Franklin American Mortgage Company provides its customers with a standard selection of home loan solutions, including fixed- and adjustable-rate, jumbo, FHA, VA, and USDA loans. Due to its recent acquisition, all new applicants are redirected to the website of Citizens Bank to learn more about its mortgage products and available rates.

Fixed-Rate Loans

This conventional mortgage type benefits its lenders due to stable interest rates and monthly payments over the full loan term, making it a solid choice for homebuyers who plan to settle down for the long haul. Borrowers can select a loan term of 15 or 30 years, though they should keep in mind the fact that shorter repayment periods typically offer more competitive rates.

Adjustable-Rate Loans

This variable home financing option features low starting rates that automatically adjust to the ebb and flow of certain market indices’ performance after a set fixed-rate period. Most lenders provide borrowers with a wide variety of ARM loan options, but Franklin American only offers 7/1 ARMs since its acquisition by Citizens Bank. Adjustable-rate mortgages are often best suited for homebuyers who plan to relocate within 5 years.

Jumbo Loans

Borrowers interested in financing an expensive home can take advantage of this mortgage option, as it covers purchases that exceed the conventional conforming limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The 2019 conforming loan limit for one-unit properties stands around $484,350, though this amount tends to vary between states. Jumbo mortgages can be secured as either fixed- or adjustable-rate loans, but may require a high down payment and credit score to qualify.

FHA Loans

This mortgage program was created by The Department of Housing and Urban Development to support first-time homebuyers and borrowers who are unable to qualify for traditional home loans due to low credit scores and sparse credit histories. FHA loans can be secured with as little as 3.5 percent down by applicants with a credit score of 580 or higher.

VA Loans

Eligible military veterans and active service members may be eligible for this 100 percent home financing program through The Department of Veterans Affairs. This mortgage option features some of the lowest available interest rates and does not require borrowers to put any money down upfront. Additionally, qualified applicants who put no money down do not need to enroll in mortgage insurance.

USDA Loans

This government-backed home loan is perfect for borrowers looking to invest in certain rural and suburban properties, as it can be secured with no money down. The Department of Agriculture created this program to support low-to-moderate income homebuyers who may be unable to qualify for conventional mortgages.

The property must be located within an agency-designated census tract, though most rural communities in the U.S. fall under the qualification guidelines.

Franklin American Online Lending

Franklin American’s ongoing merger with Citizens Bank has caused a good deal of disruption to its normal lending operations, especially through its website. The company has taken down a significant portion of its product details and rate estimates, leaving their online resources feeling quite thin.

At present, there is no specific information available for Franklin American’s mortgage programs beyond a shortlist of its offerings. Many of the company’s web pages redirect users to Citizen Bank’s website to learn more about home financing, which makes it hard to tell whether Franklin American will retain any of its mortgage services.

A 2018 press release from Citizens Bank outlined its “acquisition of certain net assets” that included “a sizable mortgage servicing portfolio,” though it stopped short of clarifying whether Franklin American would continue to play a role in the loan origination process.

Judging from the lender’s website, Franklin American appears to have turned over all its loan application activities to Citizens Bank. The company’s website does not allow users to submit a formal loan application or obtain a personalized rate quote. While many of Franklin American’s online educational resources still exist, it seems like they have not been updated since the 2018 acquisition.

Homebuyers looking to learn more about mortgages and interest rates will have a hard time locating useful information on the company’s website and maybe better off browsing Citizens Bank’s digital help center instead. Interested homebuyers can contact a Franklin American lending agent by visiting one of its physical branches, calling its support line, or filling out a digital form via its website.

Franklin American Ratings

Before its 2018 acquisition by Citizens Bank, Franklin American Mortgage Company had built an excellent reputation as one of Tennessee’s most trusted lending institutions. The company was formally accredited by the Better Business Bureau in 2005 and almost all of its branches carried a BBB rating of A+.

Visiting any of Franklin American’s BBB profiles will automatically redirect users to Citizens Bank’s profile, which features a mixed bag of ratings and reviews. Although Citizens Bank does possess an A+ BBB rating, a total of 767 customer complaints have been filed against the financial institution over the past 3 years.

  • Information collected on Feb. 25, 2019

Franklin American Mortgage Qualifications

Credit Score Credit Score Rating Mortgage Rate Impact
800 – 850 Exceptional Able to secure the best available interest rates from almost every lender
740 – 799 Very Good Able to secure better than average interest rates from most lenders
670 – 739 Good Able to secure average interest rates from most lenders
580 – 669 Fair May have difficulty qualifying for a mortgage even with below average interest rates
300 – 579 Poor Likely to have difficulty qualifying for a mortgage even with large down payment and very high interest rates

Most lenders require down payments of at least 5 percent on all conventional fixed- and adjustable-rate loans, with higher minimums for jumbo mortgages. Luckily, FHA loans can be secured with as little as 3.5 percent down, which may help first-time homebuyers and moderate-to-low income borrowers obtain affordable rates.

Credit score is another important metric for determining program eligibility and formulating interest rates, as it helps lenders determine what level of risk an applicant may represent. According to FICO, the industry average credit score stands around 740, though most lenders are willing to work alongside borrowers with scores as low as 640.

Homebuyers with high credit scores should not have much difficulty qualifying for conventional loans with competitive rates, though every lender has its own eligibility rules. Franklin American’s website does not list qualification guidelines for any of its mortgage products.

This information was likely pulled from the website shortly after the company was acquired by Citizens Bank to prevent any conflict between the two organizations’ eligibility metrics. At present, there is no mention of specific down payment minimums, credit score conditions, median income limits or debt-to-income requirements within any of the lender’s informational resources or product pages.

Borrowers interested in learning more about Franklin American’s home financing solutions are redirected to Citizens Bank’s website, which also contains a limited amount of concrete information.

Franklin American Phone Number & Additional Details

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