ATLANTA, CALIFORNIA -- Considering a refi with Angel Oak Funding? My experience felt like bait-and-switch, and was a very rough ride! Angel Oak Funding's initial approach was very warm and inviting, and they assured me that they could meet all of my requirements - zero out-of-pocket, a simple and uncomplicated process, fold my HELOC into the refi, and competitive fees and interest rates. I checked their fees and the title search, and they were higher in some fees than the big banks by about $350 - but they said that they would bring that down (but I never did see that happen). Their $600 appraisal fee was also high, but they would not bring that down.
When Angel Oak's good-faith estimate came, it made me a little concerned, because the numbers they put on their estimates were not the numbers that they had discussed with me on the phone, including differences in interest rates and the higher fees they promised to lower. They assured me that these were just estimates that would be adjusted later. After that, however, I found it very difficult to get straight answers on my loan numbers.
Shortly after starting my process with them, the interest rates dipped a little, and I had to bring the fact that interest rates had dropped a little during our process, instead of them advising me. As we started the exchange of signed documents and copies of statements, I was only about a day into it when they told me that I had to complete and return all of the documents within three days of receiving them! Had they told me this ahead of time, I would have advised them that I was in heavy work travel mode, and it would take many days longer than that.
I told them I need more days, but I received a great many emails and phone calls, from multiple employees, pressing me to complete and return the documents more quickly. It became clear that this was not a simple and uncomplicated process. Their website tries to make an electronic signature possible online for some documents, but the site did not seem to work well all the time, and even with this, there were still a lot of documents that had to be printed, signed, and sent back. I did not have a fax machine and had to scan and email my documents back to them, which took a lot of extra effort.
After I sent them the scanned documents, they notified me that they could not read the standard jpg format that I had sent to them. I pointed out that they had not designated a format, and asked if they could simply convert them to pdf format at their end with a simple freeware app, and they said that they could not. They said that I had to convert all my documents to pdf format and re-send them.
Throughout the process, multiple people continued to contact me with multiple emails and/or calls each day. My employer does not send out standard "pay stubs" these days, and the payment notice that they do send to me was not acceptable to Angel Oak (it was suitable for the last refi that I did a couple of years ago), so I had to go back for a different views. When I thought that I finally had all my documents into Angel Oak, they called to tell me that they had lost all of my documents, and I had to download a completely new set of documents, sign them, and do the scan-convert-email routine all over again – within their three-day time limit!
After digesting my second batch of documents, the main guy who was processing my application - Mr. **, contacted me, indicating that, after the many days of discussing and exchanging documents, they had overlooked some aspects, and the numbers were going to be different than we had initially discussed. Mr. ** said that there were implications to folding in my HELOC that I was not told about until that point. Mr. ** laid out a number of options, but none were really the same deal that I had been discussing from the beginning.
I don't know if any of these bad things that happened were done deliberately, or if they were just a sign of very bad management, but either way, in my opinion, Angel Oak Funding is clearly not a firm that can be trusted. At that point, despite already having spent $600 on an appraisal, I decided to stop working with Angel Oak Funding before completing my refi, and I went to another firm.
The new lender, Joe **, who works with the Axiom Lending Group, gave me accurate numbers in the first 15 minutes of our initial discussion, and allowed me, without any badgering, more than 3 days to get my paperwork back (Angel Oak told me that three days was a legal requirement for every lender).
I originally planned to send out this review immediately after switching to the new lender, but I thought I would first give Angel Oak a chance to compensate for their shoddy service. I sent the review above to Mr ** boss. Mr. ** contacted me promptly, apologized for their service issues, and said that he would ask his management (which I believe is in Atlanta, while I am on the West Coast) for permission to offer reimbursement of my expenditures. He reported back shortly that reimbursement of any amount would not be possible.
This indicates to me that the problem is not only with Angel Oak Funding's local teams, their main office does not respond responsibly to issues with their service. In the interests of full disclosure, I should say that I would have reconsidered posting this had they responded differently. I did not find any of Angel Oak's employees/representatives to be rude. My issue is with the poorly orchestrated process, inadequate information delivery, and inability to respond effectively to poorly-treated customers.
A deal like mine represents many of thousands of dollars in revenue to lenders, and with interest rates likely to move up off of near-record lows, it appears that Angel Oak is caught up in a gold rush of refi opportunities, and based on my experience, they don't really seem to mind rushing people through a rough process, providing inadequate information, and failing to respond adequately to poorly treated customers. I am happy to respond to questions about this review at **.