Berkshire Bank offers a range of business and consumer banking services, including mortgages and home refinancing. Berkshire’s medical loans provide home financing to doctors, dentists, and medical professionals who may not otherwise qualify for a traditional mortgage.
Berkshire Bank physician mortgages have more relaxed terms designed to meet the needs of high-debt, high-income borrowers. This flexibility includes no down payment or low down payment options and flexible debt-to-income (DTI) calculations.
Keep reading to find out more about Berkshire Bank and how its physician loan program works.
About Berkshire Bank
Massachusetts-based Berkshire Bank is one of the state’s oldest and largest financial institutions and is one of the nation’s 150 largest banks. It is not affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway, the Nebraska-based business holdings company led by Warren Buffet.
Berkshire Bank was founded in 1829 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Its present-day headquarters are still there. Berkshire Bank is the fourth-largest Massachusetts-based bank. It operates over 100 financial centers (branch locations) in the Northeast region.
- BBB score: A+
- CEO: Nitin J. Mhatre
- JD Power Score: NA
- Parent company: Berkshire Hills Bancorp
- Phone number: 1 (800) 220-6956 or 1 (833) BERK-BNK
- Services offered: Checking and savings accounts, money market accounts (MMAs), certificates of deposit (CDs), personal loans, vehicle loans, credit cards, retirement planning, wealth management, business and commercial banking, and home loans.
Berkshire Bank Physician Loan: Fast Facts
Here are a few fast facts about Berkshire Bank’s physician mortgage loan program.
- Discounts: Closing cost discounts may be available to borrowers of eligible hospital or healthcare groups. Employers can sign up with a bank representative to arrange this benefit.
- Financing options: 100% up to $1 million in most lending areas. In all lending areas: 95% financing up to $1.25 million or 90% up to $2 million.
- Physician loan products: Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages.
- Maximum loan amount: $2 million.
- Qualifying degrees: MD, DPM, DO, DDS, DMD, or DVM.
- Private mortgage insurance: *No private mortgage insurance (PMI) is required.
*Based on data information in circulation. Our editorial team has reached out to Berkshire Bank for confirmation.
Berkshire Bank Physician Loan: Qualifications
Physician loans aren’t a widely advertised product. Often, it’s a set of special exceptions that loan officers will make for high-earning professionals who are less likely than most borrowers to default on their mortgage payments. Additionally, they have substantial lifetime earning potential and are likely to bring mortgage referrals from their work peers.
Berkshire Bank’s medical loan qualifications are:
- Good to Excellent Credit: 700 minimum FICO score
- Down Payment: 0–10% down payment depending on the loan amount
- Owner-Occupied Property: Must be used to purchase or refinance a single-family home or condo being used as the borrower’s primary residence.
- Eligible Degree: Must have a medical doctor, dentist, doctor of osteopathy, or doctor of veterinary medicine degree.
- Significant Savings: No published requirements for cash reserves.
- Verified Income: Employment, residency, or fellowship verified via pay stubs. In some circumstances, a future-dated employment contract may be accepted.
How to Apply
Understanding what to expect when going through the mortgage application process can help you get ready for each step.
Prequalification is a simple step where you provide an estimate of your total household income and your debts. Then your lender lets you know how much financing you might qualify for. Prequalification usually involves a soft credit pull or an informal calculation from your lender. It gives you a rough idea of how much house you can afford.
Prepare Your Documents and Review Your Credit Report
The mortgage application process requires you to show a lot of documents. We recommend gathering everything you’ll need upfront and reviewing your credit report. Make sure that there are no inaccuracies, such as loans or credit cards that aren’t yours. You’ll also want to make sure you have at least a 700 credit score to be eligible for a Berkshire Bank doctor loan.
Among the documents, you should gather tax returns (the last 2 years), pay stubs, proof of medical credentials, employment contract, and any other proof of income or assets. For proof of assets, you can show bank account and investment account statements.
You also need to prove you have enough cash on hand to cover the down payment and closing costs. Having at least three (3) months of cash reserves is also a wise idea, and a cash reserve requirement is common among lenders. Gift funds are permitted, but you’ll likely be asked to prove where the funds come from (i.e., a letter from a family member gifting the funds).
The pre-approval stage is a more formal process than prequalification. Pre-approval typically takes place after you’ve set your price range and you’ve begun looking at properties with a realtor. (Although some realtors will not work with you until you have a letter of pre-approval so you may need to begin working with an agent at this phase.)
The pre-approval amount will only be valid for 90 days, so borrowers should hold off on this step until they’re prepared to make a serious offer of purchase.
Although the pre-approval can be started online with your mortgage application, the lender will ask for proof of income, assets, and identity, and verify them thoroughly.
Confirm and Lock in Your Rate
After your mortgage application is submitted, a loan officer will contact you to confirm both your loan amount and interest rate.
The borrower can choose to lock in a rate at the time of their application when they have a contract in hand, or they can float the rate and lock it in up to 10 business days before closing on the property.
Final interest rates, however, can vary based on property type, location, changes in internal underwriting processes, or shifts in the market.
In some instances, your pre-approval may be denied or approved with caveats. The lender can recommend that you pay down debt or have additional cash funds in your savings or checking account before they give their approval.
Your loan officer is committed to helping your mortgage go through and will offer advice on ways to strengthen your credit profile so you have the best chance of being approved. Discover The Best Lenders Answer just a few questions about your career, where you're buying, and how much you want to borrow. Our service will then show you the exact programs you're eligible for from vetted physician loan specialists who will guide you through every step of the process – obligation-free!
Discover The Best Lenders
Answer just a few questions about your career, where you're buying, and how much you want to borrow. Our service will then show you the exact programs you're eligible for from vetted physician loan specialists who will guide you through every step of the process – obligation-free!
Alternatives to Berkshire Bank
In addition to Berkshire Bank, many other financial institutions have a doctor mortgage loan program for physician homebuyers.
1. BMO Bank
Formerly BMO Harris Bank, BMO Bank offers a medical mortgage program for doctors and other medical professionals. While Berkshire’s program is available in a half dozen states in the Northeast region, BMO offers physician loan financing in the District of Columbia and all 50 states except New York.
Eligible physicians, doctors, dentists, and oral surgeons can borrow up to $1 million with zero money down and no PMI requirements. With a down payment, BMO will finance up to $2 million.
BMO will approve higher debt-to-income ratios — up to 45% — for medical professional borrowers, provided any student loans are in good standing (current repayment or deferment).
Home loan funds may be used to purchase or refinance a single-family or two-family housing unit with no acreage or property restrictions, provided that it is owner-occupied.
Ohio-based KeyBank has a physician loan program available to Doctors of Medicine (MD), Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (DO), Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPM), Doctors of Dental Surgery (DDS), and Doctors of Dental Medicine (DMD). Interns, residents, and fellows in these disciplines are also eligible.
The program will provide up to $3.5 million to purchase or refinance a first or second home, which is one of the highest home loan limits you’ll find. Most other physician loans will only provide financing up to $2 million.
Unlike Berkshire Bank, KeyBank does not have any zero money-down mortgage products. However, the down payment requirements are quite lenient. Additionally, Key Bank offers both conventional loans and ARM products.
3. Flagstar Bank
Based out of Troy, Mich., Flagstar Bank has a popular doctor mortgage program. Flagstar has the most lenient eligibility requirements when it comes to qualifying occupations. Beyond practicing physicians, podiatrists, and dentists, many other medical and non-medical professions are permitted.
In addition to working with a wider range of healthcare professionals, Flagstar Bank will also work with different residency statuses, including non-citizens. Flagstar Bank’s program offers physician mortgages to H-1B visa holders who wish to pursue home ownership.
Flagstar’s program provides less financing than other physician loans, as it offers home loans up to $1.5 million. Borrowers with excellent credit (minimum credit score 720) can finance up to 100% of their home purchase up to $1 million though.
4. Evolve Bank & Trust
Arkansas-based Evolve Bank & Trust has a similar medical loan program that provides special real estate financing to doctors. While Berkshire Bank provides mortgages in Massachusetts and a half dozen neighboring states, Evolve is a licensed NMLS mortgage lender in all 50 states.
Evolve offers up to $2 million in total financing, and qualified borrowers can finance up to $1 million with no money down. Additionally, Evolve Bank offers financing for primary residences or secondary residences. Qualifying structures include single-family homes, multi-family homes up to four (4) units, HOA properties, co-ops condominiums, or land purchases. There are even new construction loan options.
Credit requirements for Evolve Bank are among the most lenient you’ll find among physician mortgage lenders. Credit scores as low as 680 can qualify.
5. Citizens Bank
Rhode Island-based Citizens Bank offers up to $1 million in financing for its physician program. Practicing medical doctors can take out up to $1 million, and residents can borrow up to $600K.
Citizens does not offer any 100% financing options. A down payment of 5% to 11% is required. However, there is no PMI requirement for a professional mortgage through Citizens — this could lower your monthly payments by up to 2%.
Additionally, Citizens will finance a wider range of property types than many other physician programs. A home loan can be used to finance a PUD, condo, single-family home, or other qualifying primary residence.
Pros and Cons of Berkshire Bank Physician Loans
- No down payment mortgage options. Possible to finance 100% of home loans up to $1 million in many lending areas.
- Fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) financing. Flexible options for fixed-rate terms for a portion of the repayment period or the entirety of it.
- Lenient credit score requirements. Borrowers must have a minimum score of 700.
- Not available in all 50 states. Financing is offered in seven (7) states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
- 100% financing options are not available in all eligible lending areas.
Our editorial team has contacted Berkshire Bank for clarification on which lending areas (states) are eligible for 100% financing. We will provide an update after we hear back from a mortgage representative.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I Get a Physician Mortgage Before I Start My New Job?
Most doctor loan programs are quite flexible here. They will allow borrowers to receive home financing with proof of future employment (i.e., a future-dated work contract) provided that full-time work begins within 90 days of closing on the home loan.
Berkshire Bank does not have one blanket policy published on its website, but the bank is known for its flexible underwriting in working with physician borrowers which makes work contact-based financing likely.
Can Self-Employed Doctors Get a Physician Mortgage?
Yes, self-employed doctors or locum doctors, can get a physician mortgage. It may require a longer employment history (i.e., two or more years) and you’ll need to look for physician mortgage providers that are 1099-friendly.
Berkshire Bank, Fifth Third Bank, and Huntington National Bank are three (3) financial institutions that may offer locum doctor mortgage loans.
Can I Get a Physician Mortgage for Investment Property?
In some instances, yes. Most physician programs will only finance an owner-occupied residence, however, many lenders will provide home financing to physicians for second homes or investment properties.
Frandsen Bank & Trust, BMO Bank, and Northpointe Bank are three (3) financial institutions that are known for offering secondary property financing.
Keep in mind that there may be restrictions on property types (i.e., apartments up to 8 units) or residential areas.
Is It Harder to Get a Mortgage When Rates are High?
While it’s not necessarily harder to get a mortgage, when rates are higher it can decrease your purchasing power. With higher interest rates come higher monthly payments.
Let’s say your annual salary is $180,000 and you have no student loans or other monthly debts. At today’s current interest rates of *6.48%, a borrower with very good credit (720+) could afford a home up to $709,823. Your monthly mortgage payment would be $5,400.