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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.
Pros & Cons
- 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
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.
Top Cardinal Financial Reviews
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 ...Read full review
Josh was flawless throughout this entire process. He was very attentive and professional. This was my first time doing a cash-out refinance and he was able to explain the intricat...Read full review
Our editors’ take on Cardinal Financial
We highly recommend Cardinal Financial to buyers and current homeowners who are looking for a lender that goes above and beyond to provide a personalized experience.
A common theme in our reviews are individual Cardinal Financial loan officers called out by name and praised for their honesty, dedication and patience. Many reviewers felt guided and benefited through the confusing mortgage process because of their loan officer.
One Ohio reviewer even said of their loan officer, “I am still in awe and extremely grateful for his advice and guidance. It's rare to encounter someone who is in it for the ‘passion’ of it.”
Another reviewer mentioned of their loan officer, “His steadfast approach to tackling all the different problems that we had along the way, his creative flexibility, in tackling them one at a time or all at once as the situation dictated and his overall "sticktoitiveness" in maintaining accountability in these matters to help us see them through.”
While we think many home shoppers would be satisfied with Cardinal Financial, it is not an ideal fit for those who don’t want a 100% online lender. For those who prioritize an in-person experience, your local bank or credit union for your home loan might be the better option.
Cardinal Financial Reviews
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Eric D was fantastic however after that Cardinal Financial felt extremely short! Lost our paperwork multiple times and we had to resend it! Sent in the exact same paperwork which was requested then it wasn’t what they wanted. Had them send very specific detailed information on what they were needing and we sent the documents. It was the same documents we originally sent in that they had lost!
We were told closing costs would be $23,410 with taxes and titles, nope… closing was $31,234 and that was the morning of closing. We get to closing, go to sign the papers and then we were informed the closing costs were incorrect and would now be $32,240. My husband had to run to the bank, get another cashier’s check for the balance!
We questioned why the closing costs went from $23 thousand to $32 thousand within 4 days and they said the rate had changed but we noticed the rate was still the same! We filed a complaint and are still waiting on that. We contacted Cardinal multiple times and to date nobody has contacted us! Cardinal Financial owes us almost $9000 because they processed our loan incorrectly and gave us wrong information! Absolutely HORRIBLE company!!!!
My loan officer Jake ** went above and beyond to make my dreams come true. When I didn't quality several months ago he continued to assist me with specific instructions on how to negotiate and clean up my credit (this took months). Then I finally qualified for a loan. He assisted me with all problems/issues as they came up morning, noon, and night, and by text, telephone, and email. Jake assisted with anything and everything I needed, including my various panic attacks along the way! He was professional, patient, kind, meticulous, and genuine throughout the entire process. Many times, I would panic about things [that I did not understand] that had nothing directly to do with his role or my loan, yet he would patiently explain what he knew about the subject after years of being in the business and/or from his personal experience.
There were many times I really felt downright stupid and he would patiently reexplain something I did not understand. Jake went over ever single working part of the loan process. From the beginning to the end. Again, available and quick to respond to anything and everything morning noon and night. It is because of Jake that I have a new beginning after some serious past traumas. It's because of how amazing Jake was and how he was so kind and respectful, that I can look forward to my future. It is because of Jake that I will refer anyone and everyone I know to Cardinal Loans. Cardinal loan's entire team was topnotch professional in all their various roles. I am truly grateful them. I will never forget the amazing Cardinal loan officer Jake ** that changed my life and future forever.
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I am beyond disappointed with Kim **, I was not sure how she found my information. She called me on February 17th and she started to question me about the mortgage loan that I was not aware of or applied for the loan. I told her that I recalled applying for the grant that will help me buy a home with my fixed income and she said she had several other options. All I could do is apply through Octane and it should be a simple and quick process and I had to repeatedly myself to make sure that Kim aware that I was only looking to get a grant over and over again. I spoke with a friend of mine and did a 3 way call with Kim because my friend protected me to make sure that I am in good hands and Kim made it clear that I should be qualified if I receive Government checks and should be approved.
My gut kept telling me that something was not right and my friend alerted me it would not gonna work out but it did not hurt to try and see what happened so I went ahead and applied on the 18th. I received a response in the email from Kim ** on the 21st related to the TransUnion issue and I had to get this solved. I have not heard anything back from Kim ** so I sent her an email this morning on the 28th and she stated my credit was a very excellent score for a mortgage, however my income itself does not qualify and that I needed a co-borrower. I felt that she was wasting my time and I told her upfront in the email that I made it loud and clear that I was looking to apply for a grant, not the loan!
She came up with an excuse to the next excuse. Now she hurt my credit score due to hard inquiry for nothing. After this I wonder what she will do with my sensitive information? Was playing around and tricking someone like me and got away with it? Again, I am very disappointed with Kim ** for her actions, dishonest and unprofessionalism.
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!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!!!
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!!
How we rated Cardinal Financial
We gave Cardinal Financial the top score for many factors, including the application process, loan types and requirements. Not only did Cardinal Financial have glowing reviews for these aspects, but it makes it easy to find information about requirements and more through its website.
Cardinal Financial was downgraded to a good rating for its rates and closing costs only because it does not publish this information on its site. Reviewers were happy with both, but full transparency online would have been helpful for buyers still in the research phase.
Cardinal Financial doesn’t post its starting mortgage rates online, which is one of the reasons why we rated the lender as good rather than excellent. 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.
A handful of reviewers mentioned that while Cardinal Financial’s rates were on par with other lenders, it was the level of customer service that ultimately led them to work with the lender.
“Many of the rates were similar, but [the loan officer’s] responsiveness beat out the competition,” said Nina from Florida.
Another customer from Texas said, “Cardinal Financial really delivers great customer service and highly competitive rates—enough so that we switched from another lender during our refinancing process.”
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
|Year||Difference from national average|
Application process: Excellent
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.
“This was the fastest and easiest process to refinance our home. In Less than a month we were signing closing papers and loan ready to go,” said Adrianna from Texas.
Curtis of Michigan shared similar praise for the process, saying, “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
|Mobile document upload|
|Publishes minimum rate on website||X|
|Rate lock||30 to 90 days|
|Pre-qualification (no hard credit pull)||X|
|Certified approval letter|
Loan types: Excellent
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.
Even when one Florida reviewer couldn’t get their original loan type approved, their loan officer still worked with them to secure a different loan.
Marissa from Virginia was one of the reviewers who used Cardinal Financial for a VA loan and said that the whole process “was a breeze.”
Loan applications for home purchases only by year
|Home purchase applications||63,165||51,983||35,634|
|Home purchase loans closed||39,660||32,843||21,866|
|Home purchase applications denied||17,013||12,131||1,525|
|Home purchase preapprovals denied||392||320||44|
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 loans||37.56%||35.17%||57.65%|
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.
“When I didn't [qualify] several months ago [the loan officer] continued to assist me with specific instructions on how to negotiate and clean up my credit (this took months),” said Lorrie, a reviewer from Georgia. “Then I finally qualified for a loan. He assisted me with all problems/issues as they came up morning, noon, and night, and by text, telephone, and email.”
Cardinal Financial 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: Good
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.
One cash-out refinance customer was able to pay off all of their debt with Cardinal Financial. They said, “There were no hidden fees/costs which is why I chose this company over any other lender.”
Compare Cardinal Financial to other lenders
|Cardinal Financial||New American Funding||Rocket Mortgage|
|# of reviews||68||793||1,181|
|Purchase options||FHA, VA, USDA jumbo and conventional loans||FHA, USDA, conventional, refinance, HELOC and reverse||Conventional, jumbo, FHA and VA loans|
|Refinancing options||Cash-out, rate and term||Cash-out, rate and term, cash-in||Cash-out, rate and term|
|Minimum credit score||580 to 660||580 to 640||580 to 620|
|Read Reviews||Read Reviews||Read Reviews|
Cardinal Financial FAQ
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 Company Information
- Company Name:
- Cardinal Financial
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