Cardinal Financial

Cardinal Financial

 4.9/5 (65 ratings)
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About Cardinal Financial

Cardinal Financial (NMLS #66247) offers a wide variety of mortgage products for home purchase or refinancing. Borrowers can use Octane, a proprietary loan origination system, to upload documents and see loan details. Cardinal Financial is based in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is licensed to lend in all 50 states.

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    • Available nationwide
    • Variety of loan options
    • Free rate quote
    • Proprietary Octane platform for loan management


    • No mobile app
    • Doesn’t publish current rates or fees

    Bottom Line

    Cardinal Financial offers personalized loan options for homebuying and refinancing. The company doesn’t publish much information about rates and fees, but it is widely available and has many mortgage products, including specialty loans.


    Cardinal Financial doesn’t post its starting mortgage rates online. However, you can get a free rate quote; start the process by answering a few brief questions on the website, and a representative will contact you shortly after.

    Cardinal Financial offers both fixed-rate mortgages and adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs). ARMs have a relatively low introductory rate for a set length of time (generally three to seven years). Then the rate adjusts based on a benchmark index and margin used by the lender. The low introductory rates are attractive to borrowers, but it can be a shock when the rate reset comes if monthly payments increase.

    An ARM could be a good choice if you plan to own your home for a few years and then sell it before the introductory rate resets. But with interest rates rising lately, it's important to carefully think about all possible future scenarios.

    Compared with other lender rates, Cardinal Financial’s rates on home purchase loans were right around the national average from 2019 to 2021.

    Cardinal Financial average home purchase rate vs. national average

    YearDifference from national average
    Information pulled from public Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. Rates reflect noncommercial home purchase loans only.

    Application process

    You start the application process by requesting a free rate quote on the company’s website. The online form starts by asking you if you’re purchasing or refinancing.

    If you’re purchasing, you then answer questions about the type of property, how you plan to use the property, where you are in the homebuying process, the location where you’re buying, the estimated purchase cost, your down payment amount and your credit history.

    If you’re refinancing, Cardinal Financial asks about your objective (e.g., lowering your payment, getting cash out), the value of the property and your remaining mortgage balance.

    A loan originator then contacts you to provide loan recommendations, answer questions and guide you through the process, beginning with getting a certified preapproval letter. After this initial call, you should receive a link to Octane, Cardinal Financial’s origination platform. This is where you upload supporting documentation and track your loan progress.

    Once your application is complete, you can expect an approval decision within 24 hours.

    Curtis, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Detroit, said of applying at Cardinal Financial: “Ben walked me through my first real estate investment ... from the preliminary application to underwriting. … Cardinal Financial has a very efficient web portal to submit documentation, receive copies of reports and appraisals and obtain real-time updates on the mortgage application process.”

    Cardinal Financial application features

    Online application
    Mobile document upload
    Physical branchesX
    Publishes minimum rate on websiteX
    Rate lock30 to 90 days
    Pre-qualification (no hard credit pull)X
    Certified approval letter

    Loan types

    Cardinal Financial offers a variety of mortgage products, including conventional loans with fixed and adjustable rates and jumbo loans. In addition, the company offers government-backed FHA, VA and USDA loans. Conventional loan terms can range from 10 to 30 years. You can also refinance an existing home loan with Cardinal Financial, whether you’re aiming to cash out or get a lower interest rate.

    Cardinal Financial also offers specialized financing for home renovations and repairs, buying a condo and buying a tiny home.

    In 2021, Cardinal Financial took in 63,165 loan applications for purchase loans. Of those applications, 39,660 (62.8%) turned into closed loans, while 17,013 (26.9%) were denied.

    Loan applications for home purchases only by year

    Home purchase applications63,16551,98335,634
    Home purchase loans closed39,66032,84321,866
    Home purchase applications denied17,01312,1311,525
    Home purchase preapprovals denied39232044
    Information pulled from public Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. Includes conventional, USDA, VA and FHA mortgages.


    In 2021, most of the loans Cardinal Financial originated were for refinancing (about 62%, combining rate-and-term and cash-out refinances). A little over a third (about 38%) of loans were home purchase loans. 

    In 2020 and 2021, many homeowners refinanced their loans in an environment of historically low interest rates. Borrowers could save money in the long run by locking in a lower interest rate, even after accompanying fees and closing costs.

    Since that time, interest rates have risen. Today’s higher rates may make refinancing less attractive to borrowers this year.

    Home purchase vs. refinance loans by year

    Home purchase loans37.56%35.17%57.65%
    Refinance loans34.58%45.91%20.61%
    Cash-out refinance27.86%18.92%15.27%
    Information pulled from public Home Mortgage Disclosure Act Data. Includes conventional, USDA, VA and FHA mortgages.


    Each type of mortgage from Cardinal Financial has its own set of borrower requirements to determine eligibility and how much you can borrow.

    Cardinal Financial clearly states its borrower requirements online. The company requires a 620 credit score and a minimum down payment of 3% for its conventional loans. FHA, VA, and USDA loans require a 580 credit score; FHA loans require a down payment of at least 3.5%, while VA and USDA loans don’t require any down payment. Jumbo loans require a credit score of at least 660.

    National mortgage requirements by type

    Min. credit scoreMin. down paymentCompare with other lenders
    ConventionalTypically 620Typically 3%Mortgage lenders
    FHA5003.5% with 580 credit scoreFHA lenders
    VASet by lender (often 580)0%VA lenders
    USDASet by lender (often 640)0%USDA lenders

    Cost and fees

    Cardinal Financial doesn’t disclose specific loan costs and fees. Closing costs are usually between 2% and 5% of the loan amount, according to the company. Closing costs can include loan fees, title fees, taxes and insurance.

    After you apply, Cardinal Financial is required by law to provide a Loan Estimate with estimated loan fees and costs. Before you close on the loan, you’ll receive a Closing Disclosure with exact amounts for fees and costs, including how much cash you need to bring to the closing.


    How does Cardinal Financial work?

    To start, visit Cardinal Financial’s website, click “Get Started,” answer a few questions about what you’re looking for and your financial situation and provide your contact information. A loan originator will contact you; they can recommend a loan type and answer your questions. The loan originator will assist with next steps, including preapproval, getting set up online with the Octane platform, applying for a mortgage, locking in your rate and proceeding through underwriting to closing.

    Is Cardinal Financial legit?

    Cardinal Financial is a legitimate mortgage lender with a variety of loan options for purchasing and refinancing. It has been in business since 1987.

    Where is Cardinal Financial available?

    Cardinal Financial is available in all 50 states.

    Cardinal Financial Reviews

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    Page 1 Reviews 0 - 5
    Rated with 5 stars
    Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
    Original review: April 1, 2022

    No one has worked harder to help us in the mortgage process than Cody. I feel as if he's 110% on my side, making sure everything possible is done for the best mortgage experience and outcome for myself and my family. Highly recommend Cody. Cardinal Financial is blessed to have him!!

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    Rated with 5 stars
    Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
    Original review: March 25, 2022

    Loan product: Cashout Refi. Jose ** went ABOVE and BEYOND the scope of his responsibilities (within regulatory requirements) to ensure the process would have the expected outcome. There are several words to describe Jose (not all-inclusive): Honest, trustworthy, personable, empathetic, professional, and knowledgeable. I had several prospects vying for my business. I presented competing offers to Cardinal Financial, and they beat those offers. Of course, I know this may not be the likely outcome for all cases -- I'm just grateful that it was my outcome. It displayed the company's dedication and commitment to providing clients with a great product. He was forthcoming with updates. Questions or concerns I brought to his attention were acknowledged and addressed promptly.

    Several issues arose that delayed the process significantly (contractor delays, title issues, and unexpected family matters). I felt the weight and stress of it all. I wanted to discontinue the process. Jose and Manny ** reassured me--through action--they would do their best to move things forward. This level of openness and honesty forged a strong rapport amongst us.

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      Rated with 5 stars
      Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
      Original review: March 15, 2022

      Had a great experience purchasing our first home with the help of Cardinal Financial and Anthony ** specifically. He and his team worked hard to ensure our experience was smooth and not frightening! Even when there were curveballs, Anthony was reassuring and helped us get through every step and remained positive. In the end, we'd work with Anthony again if given the chance and would recommend him to any of our loved ones.

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      Rated with 5 stars
      Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
      Original review: March 15, 2022

      Josh was flawless throughout this entire process. He was very attentive and professional. This was my first time doing a cashout refinance and he was able to explain the intricate nuances (mortgage refinance) to my level of understanding. Josh stayed on top of any and all documentation in order to ensure a smooth and timely transaction. My appraisal was ordered within the first week and completed less than 3 days after that. The entire process took less than a month. There were no hidden fees/costs which is why I chose this company over any other lender. I put my trust in him and he delivered on ALL of his promises. I was able to completely pay off all of my debt because of Josh’s guidance and knowledge. My overall experience was definitely a walk in the park; 10/10 stars.

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      Rated with 5 stars
      Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
      Original review: Feb. 1, 2022

      Paul ** and Cardinal Fin did an outstanding job. I had recently refinanced a home and the comparison is night and day. Paul and his team definitely outshined the other. I was kept abreast the whole way thru the process, and I never felt like I was being asked to provide documents unnecessarily.

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      Rated with 5 stars
      Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
      Original review: Jan. 24, 2022

      I just have to say that Mike ** is the best rep in any field I've ever met. Kept a nervous guy like me at ease the whole time. Kept me well informed and comfortable with the whole transaction. Give this guy a raise now!!!

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      Rated with 5 stars
      Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
      Original review: Jan. 11, 2022

      Thanks to Kelley ** and the others at Cardinal Financial that made a tough process so much easier! They helped me to understand everything that was needed and kept me informed on changes every step of the way. I would highly recommend Kelley to anyone considering refinancing their home!!

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      Rated with 5 stars
      Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
      Original review: Jan. 5, 2022

      We have originally bought our first home 3 years ago. Interest rates were high and we the housing market wasn’t doing well. Tyler has walked us through every step of purchasing our first home. The best part during 3 years of owning a home Tyler has stayed in contact and became a friend. When interest rates started to drop, he personally contacted me and recommended refinance to lower our interest and save significant amount of money. My family has financed over 4 properties through Tyler and I recommend and still recommend him to all of my friends and coworkers. I rarely review my transactions, however I cannot find enough words to praise how amazing he is. Thank you for all that you do, have done and will do for us.

      Andrey and family

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      Rated with 5 stars
      Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
      Original review: Jan. 4, 2022

      Working with Chad Jenny of the Cardinal Financial Group was a delightful experience. From the start to the completion of the refinancing of the home it just seemed to be such an easy process. Chad was very courteous and knowledgeable. He always had the answers to the questions I would ask and if he wasn't sure of something he would find out and get back to Me quickly. I would definitely refer others to Cardinal Financial.

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      Rated with 5 stars
      Verified Reviewer Verified Buyer
      Original review: Dec. 21, 2021

      Refinanced my home with Cardinal. They are a very honest and upfront company, and the whole process went pretty smoothly. My loan officer Jeff and other Cardinal staff were very responsive when I had questions. Great low interest rate offered, and everything was done online except at the end when they sent a notary to my home so I could sign all the loan documents.

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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:
        1. NMLS Consumer Access, “Cardinal Financial Company, Limited Partnership.” Accessed Sept. 2, 2022.
        2. Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council, “HMDA Data Publication.” Accessed July 6, 2022.

        Cardinal Financial Company Information

        Company Name:
        Cardinal Financial