Bell Bank Mortgage
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About Bell Bank Mortgage
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Bell Bank Mortgage (NMLS #419538) is headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota, and serves customers in 11 different states. The company offers conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, jumbo, construction and renovation loans. Bell Bank Mortgage is a division of Bell Bank and has been in business for decades.
Pros & Cons
- 1% down payment option
- “No origination fee” program
- Fast preapprovals
- Not available in most states
- Application isn’t fully digital
Bell Bank is a full-service mortgage lender that offers a variety of home loans. The company’s “no origination fee” is available on most loans. Its loan processing is done in-house, which can mean quick preapprovals. You can start the application online or contact a loan officer.
During the three-year period from 2019 to 2021, Bell Bank had an average home purchase rate lower than the national average. In 2021, it was 0.05% lower.
Your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, as well as your credit score and other factors, can greatly impact your interest rates. Generally speaking, the lower your DTI ratio, the better the interest rate you'll get. According to company origination data, over half of its applicants had a DTI ratio of 36% or lower.
Bell Bank offers both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). Fixed-rate mortgages offer predictable monthly payments, which is why it's the most common type of mortgage.
You may consider an ARM, however, if you plan to own our home for only a short period of time to save during the introductory low-rate period. There are some drawbacks to consider with an ARM, so you’ll want to consult with a loan advisor to see if it’s a good fit for your situation.
Bell Bank Mortgage average home purchase rate vs. national average
|Year||Difference from national average|
You can start the preapproval process by completing a loan application on Bell Bank’s website. It’s not a full loan application; it only asks for preliminary information like your name, address and Social Security number. The company will also ask for authorization to pull your credit report.
Once you complete this short application, a loan officer will reach out to gather more information. Be prepared to answer questions about your income and assets — Bell Bank uses this information to determine your loan amount. It may be helpful to have the following information handy:
- Employment history for the past two years
- Recent residence history
- Current pay stubs
- Prior years’ tax returns
- W-2s for past two years
Your loan advisor can provide information about the timeline for preapproval. The company states that you should receive a decision within 24 to 48 hours. Bell Bank processes and underwrites loans in-house, which allows for fast preapproval decisions.
Bell Bank Mortgage application features
|Mobile document upload|
|Physical branches||11 states|
|Publishes minimum rate on website||X|
|Rate lock||Up to 60 days|
|Pre-qualification (no hard credit pull)||X|
|Certified approval letter|
According to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, Bell Bank offers conventional (with fixed or adjustable rates), FHA, VA, USDA and jumbo loans. The company also offers a variety of loans to assist borrowers with building or renovating homes, like lot loans and construction-to-permanent loans. The Bell Doctor Loan Program features no PMI requirement for medical professionals on as little as 5% down.
In 2021, Bell Bank received 11,807 home purchase applications. Of those applications, zero preapprovals were denied. About 2% of these applications were denied, and about 88% of applications resulted in closed loans.
Loan applications for home purchases only by year
|Home purchase applications||11,807||11,157||9,192|
|Home purchase loans closed||10,371||9,780||8,146|
|Home purchase applications denied||199||176||98|
|Home purchase preapprovals denied||0||0||0|
Bell Bank offers both rate-and-term refinance loans and cash-out refinances. The industry shifted toward refinancing in 2020 and 2021 due to low rates — still, according to federal data, home purchases (about 48%) accounted for the largest portion of Bell Bank’s mortgages in 2021.
Since bottoming out in early 2021, rates have risen steadily. Fewer borrowers are expected to refinance in 2022 as a result.
Home purchase vs. refinance loans by year
|Home purchase loans||47.96%||43.99%||65.10%|
HELOC and home equity loans
Bell Bank has both HELOC and home equity loan options for borrowers looking to tap into their home’s equity for funding. While both forms of financing can come in handy for a variety of purposes, home equity loans are best used when you need the funds upfront (like for consolidating high-interest credit card debt into one payment). HELOCs are better when you need consistent access to funds (for emergencies, to pay medical bills, etc.).
Bell Bank isn't particularly transparent about its borrower requirements. You’ll likely need a 620 credit score and a 3% down payment to qualify for a conventional loan. The company does provide a low-down-payment option, called the Bell Moving Forward loan, which allows for 1% down. You do need a credit score of at least 620 to qualify, though.
Credit score requirements for government-backed mortgages can vary by lender, so you should consult with a loan officer to learn more about these options.
National mortgage requirements by type
|Min. credit score||Min. down payment||Compare with other lenders|
|Conventional||Typically 620||Typically 3%||Mortgage lenders|
|FHA||500||3.5% with 580 credit score||FHA lenders|
|VA||Set by lender (often 580)||0%||VA lenders|
|USDA||Set by lender (often 640)||0%||USDA lenders|
Cost and fees
Bell Bank doesn’t disclose its lender fees until you apply. However, the company does state that most home loans are eligible for no origination fees (these fees are often 0.5% to 1% of the loan amount).
Origination fees are part of closing costs, which altogether can add up to around 2% to 5% of the loan total. These costs may include appraisal fees, insurance premiums, real estate taxes, title fees and other fees. After you’ve been preapproved, you can expect to receive a Loan Estimate, which details all of the estimated closing costs.
What is Bell Bank Mortgage?
Bell Bank Mortgage is a full-service mortgage lender headquartered in Fargo, North Dakota. The company offers conventional mortgages, FHA loans, VA loans, USDA loans, jumbo loans and construction loans. Bell Bank is only available in 11 states. You can start the application process online.
Is Bell Bank Mortgage legit?
Bell Bank is a legitimate mortgage lender that closed over 10,000 home purchase loans in 2021. It is part of Bell Bank, which has been around since 1966 and has assets totaling over $10 billion as of the time of publishing.
Where is Bell Bank Mortgage available?
Bell Bank Mortgage is available in 11 states: Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, New Mexico, Tennessee and Wisconsin. The company operates branches in all 11 states it serves.
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- ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page. Specific sources for this article include:
- Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, “HMDA Data Publication.” Accessed Sept. 23, 2022.
Bell Bank Mortgage Company Information
- Company Name:
- Bell Bank Mortgage
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