Best Mortgage Lenders 2018

The "best" bank or lender for a mortgage will always change depending on your personal situation, but we compared home loan estimates from a dozen major institutions to find out which ones make the most sense in different situations. You can read more about our selections or enter your own details below to obtain more specific quotes.

Opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed here are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the companies. We may be compensated through affiliate programs. For a full list of our advertisers, see our disclosure page.

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Best Online Mortgage Lender: Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans

Consider this if you're looking for a convenient online mortgage lender with impressive customer service.

While it's one of the first mortgage lenders to develop an online platform for delivering home loans, Quicken also stands out for its strong record of customer satisfaction in both loan origination and payment servicing. While it's not a good choice if you prefer an in-person service experience, Quicken's Rocket Mortgage may surprise you with how easily it works.

Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans

Good For…Bad For…
  • People who want a swift and convenient loan process
  • Users comfortable uploading documents and tracking applications online
  • Borrowers who plan on purchasing discount points
  • People who prefer in-person service and guidance
  • Applicants with lower credit scores or high debt-to-income
  • Consumers looking for home equity loans or HELOCs

Quicken's major advantage over traditional mortgage lending is how quickly it can approve your application and show you interest rate quotes. Since Quicken's website processes the required personal information, Rocket Mortgage lets you avoid repeated phone calls or trips to the bank. You'll be able to scan and upload any necessary documents to your account online, which logs and tracks the status of your application. So long as you meet the average credit score and debt-to-income ratio expected at traditional lenders, Quicken will provide a faster experience.

Obviously, Rocket Mortgage won't work well for people who want to meet directly with their loan officer or broker during the mortgage process. While Quicken has topped the JD Power rankings in customer satisfaction for the past five years, all of its support is delivered through online chat, email or phone service. And while most people will be satisfied with the range of options for fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgage types, Quicken doesn't carry options for home equity loans or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

Best Mortgage Lender for First-Time Buyers: SoFi

Consider this if you want a mortgage lender with low down payments and less requirements for your first home.

SoFi's low down payments and alternative methods of assessing borrower credit make it an ideal option for first-time home buyers. While most mortgage lenders examine records of your financial past, such as credit score or outstanding debt, SoFi asks for details that help predict your future financial behavior.

SoFi Mortgages

Good For…Bad For…
  • People looking to purchase their first home
  • Consumers with limited or no credit history
  • People with high personal debt like student loans
  • People who don't want an online mortgage process
  • People who don't meet SoFi's "social" criteria

SoFi is often identified as a company aimed at millennials, and its alternative method of assessing borrowers does make it easier for applicants with shorter credit histories and higher debts to qualify. However, you must be able to prove that you earn a steady income and have a solid track record of repaying your debts. This makes SoFi a good fit for younger consumers whose large student loan debts result in a high debt-to-income ratio, which hurts their chances of approval at a traditional lender.

However, SoFi may not work if you don't meet the company's own rules for judging borrower risk. As its full name ("Social Finance") implies, SoFi considers not only current income and debt, but also factors in educational background and professional history. Some applicants may find that they don't meet SoFi's alternative standards, making it difficult to get financing from this lender. More traditionally minded people may also take issue with SoFi's lack of physical branches and options for face-to-face interaction with professionals.

Best Bank for a Mortgage: Chase

Consider this if you'd prefer a widely available mortgage lender with easy access and competitive rates.

Among the major US banks, Chase delivers the best combination of lower fees, greater detail and a better rating in customer satisfaction. While banks as a group aren't the most exciting or dynamic choice for your mortgage loan, institutions like Chase remain popular because they provide easy access to brick-and-mortar service.

Chase Mortgages

Good For…Bad For…
  • Existing Chase customers who prefer brick-and-mortar service
  • Bank customers trying to minimize origination fees
  • People looking for detailed mortgage estimates online
  • Mortgage shoppers interested in the lowest rates
  • People living in or moving away from Chase branches in major cities

For many people, the banks that manage their checking and savings accounts represent the logical first stop in shopping for a mortgage. If you already bank with Chase, applying for a home loan here makes it easier to manage your finances. You'll be able to make payments and view your mortgage balance in the same app you use for Chase checking, savings and credit cards. This makes it simple to stay updated with the state of your loan and make sure that you pay on time each month.

Compared to other banks, Chase charges a lower origination fee on its mortgages and provides more details about the loan as well. The online tools provided through the bank's website outline more of the fees and prepaid charges involved in the process, and while these numbers aren't as solid as an official Loan Estimate, Chase gives you more information than the vague mortgage details available from other large banks. But like all brick-and-mortar banks, Chase isn't a place to find the lowest mortgage rates or smaller closing fees.

Best FHA Mortgage Lender: PennyMac

Consider this if you want an FHA loan with low down payment options and low rates.

If you're shopping for FHA loans, PennyMac is a direct lender that offers competitive rates for both fixed-rate and adjustable FHA mortgages. While it's a private company not related to either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, PennyMac's interest rates rank among the lower estimates we've found among lenders that participate in the FHA loan program.

PennyMac Mortgages

Good For…Bad For…
  • Homebuyers who need a lower down payment option
  • Users who prefer looking at mortgage options online
  • People looking for jumbo loans on bigger homes
  • Borrowers who prioritize excellent customer service

With PennyMac, you'll find lower interest rates to go along with the smaller down payments required of all FHA home loans. This lender isn't notable for cheap fees or outstanding servicing, but PennyMac can net you significant savings on your mortgage interest if you stay in your home for the long term. PennyMac's web tools are also very detailed compared to other direct lenders, making it easier for customers to compare the different options available.

However, PennyMac isn't an option if you're purchasing or refinancing a property worth more than the conforming loan limit. In most parts of the US, any mortgage that exceeds $424,100 is considered a non-conforming or jumbo loan. High-cost areas such as major cities do allow a higher loan limit of $636,150, but borrowers looking for more than that amount won't be able to apply for financing with PennyMac.

Best VA Loan Lender: J.G. Wentworth

Consider this if you qualify for a VA loan and want a mortgage lender with a comprehensive online experience.

J.G. Wentworth may not be the only mortgage lender to specialize in VA loans, but its combination of VA loan expertise, good customer service and convenient online tools make it our top choice for veterans who are purchasing homes or refinancing. While it doesn't deliver superior interest rates or operate many brick-and-mortar locations, J.G. Wentworth offers a flexible application experience that is supported by reliable guidance from loan officers you can reach by phone.

J.G. Wentworth Mortgages

Good For…Bad For…
  • Veterans looking at VA loans for purchase or refinance
  • People who want quick and reliable service options online or by phone
  • People that prioritize good customer service in a mortgage lender
  • Borrowers shopping for the lowest interest rate
  • People who prefer having access to in-person service
  • Residents in HI, ID, MO, NV or NY

J.G. Wentworth's principal advantage is its focus on VA loans. For most veterans who qualify, the VA loan program is easily the most cost-effective way to finance a home purchase. Choosing a lender like J.G. Wentworth ensures that you'll receive in-depth advice on how best to take advantage of the VA loan program. The company also provides conventional mortgages and FHA loans, but its interest rates and fees aren't very different from what you'll see at competing lenders.

Unlike most competitors, J.G. Wentworth offers a strong mix of service options. While it's not the most widely available brick-and-mortar lender, its online tools mean that you'll have more control over the pace of your loan processing. J.G. Wentworth's mobile app and website will let you track your progress and upload documents at your convenience, while its loan officers are available by phone to address more detailed issues.

Finding Other Mortgage Lenders

As you shop around for mortgage companies to finance your home, you'll soon find that the best lender for you depends on your needs as a borrower and the location of your home. If you'd like to find the best lenders in your area, you can use our rate comparison tool or look into our best mortgage lender pages by state, which provide detailed information on lenders for common types of borrowers.

Chris Moon

Chris is a Research Analyst at ValuePenguin, covering consumer banking and mortgages. He graduated from Yale College with a B.A. in History.

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