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FAQ Details

If I am completing my residency, can I qualify for a Physician Loan?
  • Yes, medical residents with proof of a fully executed employment contract may qualify for a Physician Loan.
Who qualifies for a Physician Loan?
  • To qualify for our Physician Loan program, you must have one of the following degrees, or be a medical resident with proof of a fully executed employment contract:

    • Doctor of Medicine (MD)
    • Doctor of Osteopathy (DO)
    • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
    • Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD)
    • Doctor of Veterinarian Medicine (DVM)
    • Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD)

    Medical doctors with degrees listed above but specializing in a particular field, including but not limited to: Dentists, Podiatrists, and Ophthalmologists are also eligible.

What is Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI)?
  • PMI protects a lender in the event that you stop making payments on your mortgage loan. For a traditional mortgage, most lenders require PMI if the borrower puts less than a 20% down-payment on the home to help mitigate their risk. Level One Bank’s Physician Loan program does not require PMI, regardless of the down-payment amount, saving you money on your monthly mortgage payment.
What is a Physician Loan or a Doctor Loan?
  • A Physician Loan may also be referred to as a “Doctor Loan”. It’s a mortgage program designed for medical professionals that provides more flexibility with debt-to-income (DTI), does not require private mortgage insurance (PMI), and has lower down-payment requirements and higher loan limits than traditional mortgage programs.
Can I use a Physician Loan to refinance my current home mortgage?
  • Yes, our Physician Loan can be used to purchase or refinance your primary residence.
How do I apply for a Physician Loan?
  • You can easily apply online for a Physician Loan through our website. You can also contact a mortgage banker for a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about the program and find out what you may qualify for.
What are the advantages for a Physician Loan?
  • A Physician Loan offers several advantages for medical professionals when compared to a traditional mortgage. Here are some of the key benefits:

    • Special allowances are made for student loan debt in which deferred payments may not be included with other traditional debts when qualifying for a Physician Loan mortgage.
    • Down-payment requirements are lower than traditional mortgages, ranging from zero-down to 15% down.
    • There is no Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI) requirement, which saves you money on your monthly mortgage payment.
    • Higher loan limits are allowed on a Physician Loan; our program goes up to $1.5 Million.
    • If you recently signed a new employment contract, you can close a Physician Loan up to 60 days prior to starting your new job. Your fully-executed employment contract can be used as proof of income instead of pay-stubs.
How much money do I need to put down to qualify for a Physician Loan?
  • Our Physician Loan program offers low down-payment options, including zero-down opportunities. For eligible borrowers, 100% financing is available on loan amounts up to $1 Million1, and 85% financing is available on loan amounts up to $1.5 Million. For eligible residents, 100% financing is available on loan amounts up to $500,000.
How does a Physician Loan work?
  • A Physician Loan takes into consideration high student loan debt, residency, and new employment contracts when determining your eligibility to qualify for a loan. Student loans may not be counted in your debt-to-income ratio if you have deferred payments, offering a significant advantage over traditional mortgages. Additionally, if you recently signed an employment contract but haven’t started the job yet or haven’t received a paycheck, the contract can be used as your proof of income.
What about student loan relief?
Why is First Merchants expanding in southern Michigan?
  • First Merchants already operates several banking centers in southern Michigan, and, through the merger with Level One Bank, will expand its footprint farther into this area. Together, our companies can offer a wider array of services, better access, and improved banking experience to the region. Both First Merchants and Level One leaders are confident that our planned partnership will benefit our customers, communities, and teammates. And we think that’s something worth talking about. 

Do I need to update direct deposits and automatic payments to avoid disruption?
  • No. You do not need to make any changes to your direct deposits or automatic payments, and there should be no disruption in these services.

Does First Merchants Bank operate under any other affiliate names?
Will Level One Bank signage change?
  • Yes. You will see Level One signage transition to First Merchants signage beginning in late summer 2022.

Is First Merchants Bank a ‘big bank?’
  • First Merchants Bank may be larger than Level One Bank, but it is not a “big bank.” The four largest banks in the U.S. have asset sizes ranging from $1.6 to $3.3 trillion, and the largest 100 banks in the U.S. have assets averaging $193 billion.

    In comparison, the combined assets of First Merchants and Level One only totals $17.6 billion, making your average Top 100 bank 10 times our size.

    So, while we’re not a big bank, we’re not small, either – in fact, we’re unique. First Merchants is large enough to offer the at-your-fingertips services you may expect from a larger bank while embodying the friendly, trusted nature a small community bank. That’s because we are a community bank.

    We emphasize building trusted relationships with our patrons, greeting our clients by name, and improving the financial wellbeing of our diverse communities. Whether you’re looking for a top-rated mobile banking app, enhanced commercial lending limits, access to comprehensive wealth management and private banking, or for a bank that prioritizes initiatives supporting under-invested communities and local causes, we’re the bank for you. That’s because, at First Merchants, we’re committed to making banking accessible for every member of the communities we serve through our service philosophy, “Helping you prosper.”

    We’re not too small, we’re not too large: we’re just right to deliver needed services in a personal, individually tailored way.

If I have deposit accounts at Level One Bank and First Merchants Bank with combined totals more than the FDIC insurance limit of $250,000, what is the FDIC insurance impact?
  • If you have deposit accounts at both banks, the FDIC will insure your funds for six months after the legal merger date – in this case, six months after April 1, 2022. This is to provide you time to restructure your accounts if necessary.

    Should you need further assistance, First Merchants also operates under the trade name First Merchants Private Wealth Advisors. We would be happy to assist you through this process and help you find the right solution for your hard-won earnings.

    If you have questions about your deposit insurance, please feel free to visit any Level One Bank location or call the FDIC directly at 1-877-ASK-FDIC.

When can I begin to use First Merchants Bank locations, products and services?
  • We will communicate the exact dates in the coming months; however, you can look forward to having access to First Merchants banking centers in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, including 16 in southeast Michigan, along with expanded product and service offerings, leading mobile apps and extended commercial lending limits later this summer.

Should I continue to use my Level One Bank checks, online banking, telephone banking, bill payment and debit/ATM cards?
  • Yes, for now! Level One Bank will go through a system conversion later this year. We will communicate further information and instructions to you ahead of time in preparation for this system conversion. Please watch your mailbox and inbox closely throughout the summer for more information and instructions.

How can I get the most current information about changes that may impact me?
  • We will contact clients directly as we identify changes which could impact individual accounts or access – so keep an eye on your mailbox and inbox!

    We will also post important information and answers to frequently asked questions on our website at

    Our goal is to make this process a seamless one, and to ensure that your banking experience remains as easy and worry-free as it is today. We look forward to working with you as we continue to build a strong financial future, together. 

Will my account numbers change?
  • No.  Be assured that unless you are contacted directly, your account number will remain the same and you will continue to access your account as you do today.