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PenFed Sucks
Old 12-04-2020, 12:17 PM   #1
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PenFed Sucks

I had heard a lot of good things about PenFed on this forum over the years, so I decided to apply for a home equity line of credit (HELOC) through them. The process has taken months, has been a hassle, and it's common for whomever is communicating with me to disappear, and then have someone new show up. But that's not what my beef is about.

HELOC's are variable rate loans. It's reasonable that the borrower understand what conditions can cause the rate to adjust up or down.

The loan officer had quoted me a rate of 3.75%. Right here on PenFed's website it says that for a HELOC up to $500k, where the CLTV is less than 70%, and it's owner occupied (all of which apply to me) that the rate is Prime + .25%. And the graphic shows that equals 3.75%. But lower on the page, it says that effective in March 2020, the Prime rate dropped to 3.25%, implying that HELOC rates should have dropped to 3.5%.

I'm not overly concerned about a quarter of a point, but I am concerned about understanding when and how my rate would adjust. So two weeks ago, I emailed my loan officer, politely showed him this apparent contradiction on their website, and asked what the story was. He gave me a huffy reply that their credit union does not always lower rates immediately when Prime goes down and that customers simply don't understand this. So I sent a follow up polite email (and followed up with a polite voice mail) asking him to explain how the rate would work so I'd know how to figure out if my rate was going to adjust in the future. He didn't respond. After wasting months of my time on this loan, he literally ghosted me two weeks ago for having the audacity to ask how rates would adjust going forward given the inconsistency on their very own website. (And remember, I both emailed and left a voice message, so it's not likely that he simply missed the email.)

This is not acceptable customer service. I now believe PenFed is composed of scummy bankers whose only criteria in rate-setting is, "What do you think you can get from this borrower?" as opposed to anything that's actually consistent between borrowers of similar financial circumstances. I won't be doing business with PenFed for anything, and am sending a letter to their CEO letting him know what a PITA it's been trying to work with them. It's not worth it to me to do business of any kind with an institution that loses my trust over something so trivial.

I realize many others here have had good experiences with Pen Fed, but I wanted to share this so that potential new customers of Pen Fed can realize it's not all roses and rainbows with them, and that you may have a better experience dealing with a credit union local to where you live.
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Old 12-04-2020, 12:35 PM   #2
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This does not surprise me. I think the mechanics of the rate adjustment are beyond the job description of the people that interface with customers. Iím pretty sure the terms are spelled out in the loan document but I donít blame you for being uncomfortable taking a loan from them. I had scary interaction with NFCU and Andrews FCU mortgage depts too.
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Old 12-04-2020, 12:46 PM   #3
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PenFed has developed a well-deserved reputation for lousy service. Other than their 5% cash back for pay-at-the-pump CC, I no longer do any business with them.

Oh, and if any of you have seen their current TV commercial, note the Col's uniform isn't correct - it is an enlisted uniform (hat and lapel insignia) with officer rank insignia on the hat and epaulets. Add to this the totally trashed way he's wearing his flight cap (crushed in the back), and you end up with an unforgivable mistake for any business who claims the military is their primary customer.

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/tTv3/penfed-...-card-twinzies
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Old 12-04-2020, 12:52 PM   #4
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PenFed has developed a well-deserved reputation for lousy service. Other than their 5% cash back for pay-at-the-pump CC, I no longer do any business with them.

Oh, and if any of you have seen their current TV commercial, note the Col's uniform isn't correct - it is an enlisted uniform (hat and lapel insignia) with officer rank insignia on the hat and epaulets. Add to this the totally trashed way he's wearing his flight cap (crushed in the back), and you end up with an unforgivable mistake for any business who claims the military is their primary customer.

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/tTv3/penfed-...-card-twinzies

The girl is cute though and that's what the commercial is all about!
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Old 12-04-2020, 12:55 PM   #5
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We had let our share account drop to the minimum but kept the credit card because it has no international fees. We won't be traveling internationally for a couple of years so decided to close them both. When I called I discovered that DH had paid a Kaiser visit charge to that card, blew me away as we haven't used that card for over a year. They couldn't close the share account until the credit card was paid off so must wait until next week to wrap this up. PenFed CC is now cut up.

We don't have any military presence in my area so access to PenFed is all internet. As we get older I want to reduce the number of accounts we must deal with

Like others, we signed up for PenFed years ago to obtain a home loan. It was a hassle then but I discovered that the home loan department was in Eugene, Oregon. I threatened to knock on their door with the paperwork if they didn't shape up. Whether that threat was the reason or not, the loan was processed shortly thereafter.
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Old 12-04-2020, 01:06 PM   #6
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I have used them for multiple home purchases and HELOCs over the years. The last home loan I did with them was in August. What a cluster.

I use them for the 5% back at the pump CC and for their cheap rates in mortgages. I will admit though I am in no hurry to have any interaction with them anytime soon since I think everything now is set up automatic for us for a while. I am sure they are slammed with refi s
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Old 12-04-2020, 01:12 PM   #7
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PenFed has developed a well-deserved reputation for lousy service. Other than their 5% cash back for pay-at-the-pump CC, I no longer do any business with them.
Same here.
I first opened an account with them in 1983 and they were wonderful back then. But it has been a steady slide downward over the last 15 years or so. Very sad.
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Old 12-04-2020, 01:34 PM   #8
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The couple that bought a house from me earlier this year used PenFed for their mortgage. If it wasn't for the Real Estate agent that represented them being super aggressive and checking on things almost every day, the deal never would have closed. Constant issues involving new people involved, lost documents, the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing seems to be business as usual for PenFed.

I was somewhat apprehensive when the offer came in showing they would be using PenFed for their mortgage, but it was a better than full price offer so I took the chance. As it turned out, I had good reason to be apprehensive, however the deal did close on time, but just barely.
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Old 12-04-2020, 02:33 PM   #9
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We are happy with DCU.org.
Members for over 40 years.
We have done both a mortgage and a HELOC with them.

DCU shows HELOC rate at Prime + 1.25%, but we have been at 3% since April.
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Old 12-04-2020, 03:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by REWahoo View Post
Oh, and if any of you have seen their current TV commercial, note the Col's uniform isn't correct - it is an enlisted uniform (hat and lapel insignia) with officer rank insignia on the hat and epaulets. Add to this the totally trashed way he's wearing his flight cap (crushed in the back), and you end up with an unforgivable mistake for any business who claims the military is their primary customer.

https://www.ispot.tv/ad/tTv3/penfed-...-card-twinzies
Oh that was so painful to watch. If I saw that guy out and about...his picture would be immediately shared on the "Stolen Valor" website. The jacket is pretty old as well...certainly not the newest one. As far as the crushed hat...although not allowed per instructions (or regs for the old timers!) it is pretty much accepted but not quite the way he had it crushed.

We had a HELOC from PenFed with our last house and didn't have any issues. It was simple and was done in a couple of weeks. Of course, that was back in 2012'ish so there's that.
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Old 12-04-2020, 03:13 PM   #11
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As far as the crushed hat...although not allowed per instructions (or regs for the old timers!) it is pretty much accepted but not quite the way he had it crushed.
Yep, your photos show flight caps with what I call a "tuck & tail", perfectly acceptable even for us old timers back in the 70's. I'm not sure what I'd call the PenFed hat - other than a disgrace.
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Old 12-04-2020, 03:16 PM   #12
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Yep, your photos show flight caps with what I call a "tuck & tail", perfectly acceptable even for us old timers back in the 70's. I'm not sure what I'd call the PenFed hat - other than a disgrace.
Agreed.
And unless they've really liberalized the grooming regs, his mustache is illegal as well.
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Old 12-04-2020, 03:20 PM   #13
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Yep, your photos show flight caps with what I call a "tuck & tail", perfectly acceptable even for us old timers back in the 70's. I'm not sure what I'd call the PenFed hat - other than a disgrace.
And there is another name for the hat that can't be mentioned here.

I thought there some DoD deal about *not* using actual rank insignia in advertisements. I know USAA will have folks in "uniform" but there is no rank and usually no service tape on the BDUs/fatigues/etc. Not real sure, but nonetheless...PenFed isn't carrying much street cred w/ the Blue Kool Aid Society.

Sorry for the hijack...back to your regularly scheduled program.
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Old 12-04-2020, 03:26 PM   #14
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And there is another name for the hat that can't be mentioned here.


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Sorry for the hijack...back to your regularly scheduled program.
Move along, move along. Nothing to see here...
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Old 12-04-2020, 07:48 PM   #15
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I'm with most of you; just use the 5% on gas credit card now. I do have some cash in their "premium" savings, which I moved there when their CD rates fell from what used to be pretty good to no better than the savings.

To me the turning point came when they abandoned the % back credit card offer for some silly "points" game. No thanks. I know what a dollar is worth to me. No clue about a point.
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Old 12-04-2020, 09:44 PM   #16
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I still have two PenFed accounts, one with $5 and one with $6. All else is gone, including the credit card.

They used to be great for CD deals, but no longer.

What put me over the edge was an issue I had transferring funds via ACH regarding availability. I won't get into the details but when I emailed them regarding an issue (regarding timing) they gave me a BS answer. I responded to the email quoting the ACH member bank rules after which they changed their tune and fessed up.

That was enough for me to close out the rest of the accounts. I don't like being lied to.
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Old 12-04-2020, 11:25 PM   #17
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I have those 5% ten yr CDs expiring next month so I canít be mad at them. I use the cashback gas card and premium online savings also. They want to be competitive with NFCU but they closed the only branch convenient to me while NFCU is opening more branches.
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Old 12-05-2020, 08:05 AM   #18
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Yup - I also have three, 5% cds expiring next month. I am thinking that I will be all done with PenFed. Their customer service is anything but. My spouse died a few months ago. NFCU was a breeze - as was the local bank, Schwab and Fidelity. PenFed was a slow NIGHTMARE. Recently, I can't even log into PENFED using Chrome. I have called several times and mentioned that since the IOS update and their new website, I haven't been able to use Chrome. They said they don't have any "tech" people and to just use Safari. Geesh.........their interest rates are not worth the aggravation.

I might add that NFCU was terrific when I had to deal with the inherited accounts.....FAST, EASY, and COMPETENT.

Now, where do I stash my cash?
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Old 12-05-2020, 08:32 AM   #19
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It's easy to find complaints about PenFed, but here's one I saw on WalletHub that made me laugh -- the response is so ridiculous.
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Old 12-05-2020, 10:15 AM   #20
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I have the PenFed credit card which I got a few years ago because it was a true chip-n-pin card which I found helpful when buying train tickets in some European cities. And I had several 3% five year CD's with them but they matured a while back.

I keep the card active with an occasional purchase on it. But, now that I have the First Tech chip-n-pin, I wonder if that is necessary.
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