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Illinois has many mortgage lenders advertising similar mortgage products, with rates and fees that are often difficult to distinguish. When one tenth of a percentage point can mean the difference of thousands of dollars, it's important to shop across multiple lenders. Find out which mortgage loan companies stood out in our analysis or look at our table below for some of the lowest rates in the state.
The Best Mortgage Rates Among Illinois Lenders
If you're trying to get a home loan in Illinois, take a look at some of the most competitive lenders in the state in the reviews below. Our research found that the most competitive lenders featured rates that were fairly close to each other. It's important to keep in mind that rates alone won't capture all the factors that might impact your mortgage. You should consider each lender's reputation for customer service, unique terms and closing costs. We've outlined our top choices for mortgage lenders below in accordance with how well they met borrower needs. Take a look at our top picks to help inform your shopping experience.
Best Mortgage Lender for First-Time Homebuyers: Chase Bank
If you're buying your first home in Illinois, Chase's wide network of branches and standardized product offerings make it a good place to start looking for mortgage loan estimates. Chase operates hundreds of bank locations in the state, making it ideal for borrowers who want direct access to the loan officer handling their application. It was also the most popular mortgage lender in DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties, and the second-most popular lender in Cook County over the past five years.
Chase is one of the oldest and largest banks in the country, and this is demonstrated by its record for reliable mortgage service. Whether you live in Rockford or Evanston, you probably aren't too far from a Chase branch, where locally based loan officers provide personalized expert service. Having access to a familiar face counts for a lot in complicated transactions such as mortgage lending, and Chase adds even more value with its modern approach to online banking. As a mortgage lender, the bank won't get you the lowest in rates or fees. However, Chase's all-in-one approach to customer service makes sense if you want a consistent and reliable borrowing experience from an established bank.
As rising costs and legal red tape drive many banks away from home lending, Chase continues to provide mortgages for its banking and credit card customers. This means Chase is less likely to nickel-and-dime you at every point in the origination process or pressure you to close a loan. Of course, this also means Chase may not try as hard to keep your business by matching competitor quotes.
Best Mortgage Lender for Refinancing: PNC
If you're an existing homeowner and looking to refinance or cash out on your home equity, PNC bank should be at the top of your list of lenders. The lender offers some of the lowest rates in Illinois as well as a wealth of home equity options that homeowners can take advantage of. The fact that PNC was the third-most popular provider of second mortgages in Illinois, placed it at the top of our list for best overall lender for refinancing.
A close contender was Citibank, which offered rates close to, if not lower than, PNC in the greater Chicago area. Although Citibank's rate quotes were slightly lower in the 10- to 15-year fixed-rate range, PNC outclassed its competitors in adjustable-rate mortgages, which were among the lowest we saw in our lender universe and beat out Citibank by 12 basis points or more across the board. This makes PNC an extremely versatile option for borrowers who want to take advantage of lower interest rates, but don't intend to stay in their homes for more than a few years.
Finally, demonstrating its home equity lending prowess, PNC offers home equity loans in no less than five separate terms, ranging between five and 30 years. Its HELOC offering also beat Citibank's HELOC rate by almost a full percentage point, thereby claiming it the title of best mortgage lender for refinancing in the state of Illinois.
Best Online Mortgage Lender: Guaranteed Rate
Guaranteed Rate offers competitive rates and lender credits that outperform most traditional banks and brick-and-mortar lenders; it's also well-known and licensed to operate nationwide. Chicago natives will also be proud to learn that this tech-savvy mortgage lender hails from their hometown. The lender's corporate headquarters sits right on North Ravenswood Avenue in downtown Chicago.
With few exceptions, Guaranteed Rate returned the lowest estimate on a 30-year mortgage in our analysis of purchase loans in Cook County. Even when compared with lenders that charged a lower interest rate, Guaranteed Rate offered superior value through its liberal use of lender credits. These credits are typically given to borrowers as compensation for taking a higher interest rate, but Guaranteed Rate's starting interest rates are already considered low for the area.
In our analysis of the lender's terms, lender-provided credits actually exceeded the company's origination fees. This left us with extra credits that could be used to pay for other expenses like homeowners insurance or third-party services required as part of the mortgage origination process. Guaranteed Rate's convenient web interface also grants users greater control over their loan applications than you'll find with most traditional lenders. The fact that Guaranteed Rate is the most popular mortgage lender in Cook County, and second-most popular lender in the state over the past five years, should come at no surprise.
Best Mortgage Lender for VA Loans: USAA
USAA is a popular choice for auto loans and deposit accounts aimed at military veterans, but it's also a leading provider of VA loans in Illinois. In fact, USAA was the fourth-most popular lender for VA loans in Illinois over the past five years; it was also the most popular VA lender in DuPage County over the same period. When stacked against its competitors, USAA's rate quote for a zero-point VA loan in Illinois turned out to be the best offer among the major VA lenders we examined.
While USAA's VA loan didn't top our rankings in any one category, the company's reputation for high customer satisfaction proved to be the deciding factor in a competitive field of VA-oriented lenders. While smaller lenders such as J.G. Wentworth charge less in origination fees, and major rivals like Navy Federal Credit Union advertise lower interest rates through the purchase of points, USAA gives you affordable value in both. We selected it as the first choice for a VA loan because that affordability is backed up by USAA's high customer satisfaction ratings from J.D. Power.
USAA is also a great place to obtain home financing if you prefer to keep all your finances in one convenient place. It delivers the same blend of value and quality in auto loans, deposit accounts and credit cards. Keep in mind that USAA limits its membership to qualified members of the armed forces and to veterans. Military personnel stationed at Naval Station Great Lakes or the Rock Island Arsenal, take heed: Applying for a membership with USAA should be the first step you take.
Best Mortgage Lender for Poor Credit: Quicken Loans
Borrowers struggling to qualify for a mortgage should consider applying for an FHA loan through Quicken Loans, as the online lender is both the largest private originator of FHA loans and one of the fastest-growing mortgage lenders in the state. The FHA program provides low-income homebuyers with an affordable mortgage, requiring low down payments and reduced credit score requirements as low as 580. Instead of the typical 20% down payment expected by conventional loans, Quicken Loans can get you qualified for an FHA loan with as low as 3.5% down.
Over the past five years, Quicken Loans underwrote more than 11,000 FHA loans across the state, and it was the most popular FHA lender in Bureau, Ford, Grundy, Henry and Jackson counties, to name a few. While both Guaranteed Rate and Wells Fargo were close contenders for the best lender for poor credit in Illinois, what set Quicken Loans apart was its untarnished record for customer service. The online lender obtained J.D. Power's top award for customer satisfaction in primary mortgage origination for the past eight years, as well as the top spot for customer satisfaction in mortgage servicing over the past four years. Even better, due to its status as an online lender, borrowers can expect consistent quality in service regardless of whether they reside in Springfield or Libertyville.
How We Chose the Best Mortgage Lenders in Illinois
We used the following criteria while comparing mortgage lenders in Illinois.
- Total cost: interest rates and closing costs
- Product: terms, programs and specialty
- Servicing: transparency, complaint data and branch network
While interest rates were an important factor in our decision, we also looked at each lender's closing costs, terms and fees. We reviewed each lender on the basis of total cost rather than any individual item.
When comparing lenders, we also chose to highlight any competitive advantages that a lender exhibited that weren't common to the industry. For example, most lenders offer conventional fixed-rate mortgages, but fewer lenders specialize in offering niche programs like FHA, VA or USDA loans, or even first-time homebuyer assistance. We reviewed each lender's relative expertise when determining whether it qualified as one of our top picks.
Our team also examined customer service records and public complaint data to try to predict how likely it was for customers to encounter difficulties during the underwriting and servicing process. We summed up each lender's total number of customer service complaints and divided them against its total number of loan originations over the past five years. The resulting ratios were sorted and ranked in order of magnitude.
Finally, each lender's branch network was mapped out and compared. We did this to evaluate whether a borrower in a less-populated region of Illinois might have access to a similar level of service as a similar borrower in Chicago. As a result, we scrutinized each lender's branch network and viewed it in relation to its overall record for customer service. This helped determine how accessible each lender was across the state.
Most Popular Home Loan Companies in Illinois
We've included the five most popular mortgage lenders in Illinois below. Each lender is ranked according to the number of residential mortgages it originated over the past five years.
Top 5 Biggest Illinois Residential Mortgage Lenders, 2013–2019
|Rank||Company||Mortgage originations||Average mortgage amount|
The lenders above may have been excluded from our best-lender categories for a number of reasons; this does not necessarily make them a bad choice. We reviewed a variety of lender characteristics in addition to origination volume when grading lenders. The lenders above only indicate which mortgage companies were most popular in the state. If you're shopping for a home loan in Illinois, you may find it useful to use our chart as a point of comparison.
Always remember to review each lender on a holistic basis by comparing its records for customer service, closing costs and any unique terms it offers. There may also be other factors that matter to you, the consumer, which might not have been covered in our review. It's important to evaluate each option based on your personal financial needs.
Mortgage Brokers Near Me in Illinois
Licensed mortgage brokers who are acquainted with your target neighborhood can save you both time and money when it comes to shopping for the right mortgage. They shop your loan across multiple lenders in order to get the rates and terms that work best for you. Mortgage brokers differ from mortgage loan officers, who are employed by a mortgage company and focus on selling loans from their employer's portfolio. Conversely, mortgage brokers act on your behalf and bid your terms to different lenders.
Here's a list of licensed mortgage brokers in your area.
|Lakeside Mortgage||3025 N Western Ave #200, Chicago IL 60618||(773) 935-8829|
|Omni-Fund Inc||1 Fox Hunt Ct, Hawthorn Woods IL 60047||(847) 847-7077|
|Home Mortgage Specialists, Inc.||6808 N Knoxville Ave, Peoria IL 61614||(309) 222-8286|
|Key City Lending||2121 W. Army Trail Road, Suite 108, Addison IL 60101||(888) 343-1790|
|Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp.||400 Skokie Blvd #100, Northbrook IL 60062||(847) 446-2957|
|Crossover Financial Group||6825 167th St, Tinley Park IL 60477||(708) 473-8966|
|GRU Financial Corporation||1410 W Higgens Road #103, Park Ridge IL 60068||(847) 292-0011|
|Two Roads Lending||1118 E Main St, Suite 1B, St. Charles IL 60174||(630) 313-4560|
|Market Place Mortgage Corp.||246 E Janata Blvd #220, Lombard IL 60148||(888) 777-0797|
|Smart Mortgage Centers Inc||4003 Plainfield-Naperville Road #207, Naperville IL 60564||(888) 999-1350|