The Best Mortgage Rates Among North Carolina Lenders
If you're shopping around for the best rates in home mortgages, take a look at the mortgage lenders below. Interest rates are an easy way to rank lenders by cost, but this approach dismisses factors that have long-term consequences on your borrowing experience—such as customer service and fees. As a result, we did a deeper dive into how mortgage lenders best matched up to borrower needs in areas that went beyond just rates and fees. Our criteria evaluated a number of qualitative factors, including lender transparency as well as notable services provided during the origination process.
Best Mortgage Lender for First-Time Homebuyers: BB&T
BB&T is the most active mortgage lender in the state and boasts the largest branch network of any bank in North Carolina; we recommend BB&T as our top choice for first-time homebuyers because of its accessibility and excellent reputation for customer service. Many borrowers find it helpful to speak face-to-face with an experienced loan officer during their first home shopping experience. BB&T is the ideal choice for in-person service, as the lender has 330 branch locations throughout the state, making it easy for you to speak to a loan officer regardless of whether you live in Wake County or Cumberland County.
BB&T also ranked well in terms of customer service. We studied the ratio of customer complaints versus total mortgage originations over the past five years, among each of the most popular lenders within the state. Our study found that BB&T achieved a ratio of complaints-to-originations of 0.20%, which was a fraction of the ratios achieved by similarly sized competitors, Bank of America and Wells Fargo, at 2.11% and 1.13%, respectively. This indicates that first-time homebuyers may be less likely to experience customer issues with BB&T than with its larger national competitors. Given the fact that BB&T originated more residential mortgages than any other mortgage lender in North Carolina over the past five years, first-time homebuyers can rest assured that they're in good hands with BB&T.
Best Mortgage Lender for Refinancing: Quicken Loans
Quicken Loans was our top pick among lenders for mortgage refinances because it offered some of the most competitive rates for refinancing and is responsible for the second highest number of refinancing and home equity loan originations over the past five years. Quicken Loan's helpful tools make it simple for homeowners to decide whether to refinance, and its easy-to-use online interface allows speedy applications.
The lender's unique mortgage terms provided under its trademarked YOURgage, allow borrowers to refinance their existing loans into any term they wish, between eight and 29 years, which provides unparalleled flexibility when compared to run-of-the-mill mortgage lenders that try to cram all of their customers into standard 10- or 15-year terms.
Curious borrowers often find that Quicken's mortgages rates are on par with the most competitive bank rates offered by Bank of America and Wells Fargo, however Quicken doesn't come with the negative stigma and customer service debacles that plagued its large bank rivals. Quite the contrary, Quicken Loans received J.D. Power's highest grade in overall customer satisfaction for primary mortgage originations for eight years in a row, and also secured the highest satisfaction rating in mortgage servicing for four years in a row. The lender's competitive rate offers, coupled with its unparalleled record for customer service, convenience and flexibility, ranks Quicken Loans at the top of our list for best lenders for refinancing.
Best Online Mortgage Lender: J.G. Wentworth
We found that J.G. Wentworth delivers the best value for conventional mortgages among online-based lenders in North Carolina. J.G. Wentworth's conventional loan estimates for North Carolina were the most competitive among the handful of online-only mortgage lenders operating in the state. And while J.G. Wentworth is a smaller company than Quicken or Guaranteed Rate, this lender's 30-year fixed-rate estimates beat those from both of its larger rivals.
One of the advantages of online lenders is the consistency of fees and services regardless of where you live. Borrowers who live in sparsely populated counties like Lincoln or Burke can be sure that they'll receive the same quality of service from J.G. Wentworth, as borrowers who live in metropolitan Guilford County. Many brick-and-mortar lenders often base their origination fees on a percentage of your total loan amount. By comparison, J.G. Wentworth charges a flat underwriting fee of $795, regardless of how much you borrow.
For veterans, J.G. Wentworth is also a good place to consider getting a VA loan. The company specializes in the VA loan program, and you'll find it easy to compare those rates with other lenders using J.G. Wentworth's online tools. Overall, we recommend J.G. Wentworth to anyone whose first priority is to find an online loan servicer that can reduce their mortgage rates and loan fees. However, people who want dedicated customer service may wish to choose larger, more established lenders like BB&T or Quicken Loans.
Best VA Loan Lender: USAA
While USAA's membership is limited to veterans and active servicemembers, the company's outstanding reputation for customer satisfaction, and history of serving this nation's veterans, puts it at the top of our list of VA lenders in North Carolina. Finding a solid VA lender is especially important in the Tar Heel state, as North Carolina is home to Fort Bragg, one of the most populated military bases in the country.
Among the four largest VA lenders in North Carolina, we found that USAA delivered the best balance between monthly payments and loan fees. This was largely due to the company's willingness to roll VA funding fees into loan balances, a practice that's common among smaller direct lenders, but less prevalent among larger national lenders. By financing the funding fee, borrowers can drastically cut their upfront expenses—which are further minimized by USAA's low origination fee of 0.5%.
Adding the funding fee to your loan balance will increase your monthly mortgage payments at USAA, especially when viewed next to Navy Federal's lower rate estimate. However, we found that the increased monthly cost of USAA's VA loan was still more economical than Navy Federal due to the credit union's higher upfront fees. When compared to banks and lenders like Loan Depot or Wells Fargo, USAA consistently scored higher marks in customer service, which cements its position as one of the best VA lenders in the market.
Best Mortgage Lender for Poor Credit: Movement Mortgage
Movement Mortgage is an excellent choice for low-to-moderate-income borrowers who have trouble qualifying for a conventional mortgage or need assistance making down payments. Movement Mortgage is the third-largest originator of FHA loans in the state, which are special government-guaranteed mortgages that allow borrowers to qualify for mortgages with as little as 3.5% down and poor credit scores. Movement also offers a variety of other government-sponsored mortgage programs with low or no down payment options, including loans originated through the VA and USDA as well as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's HomeReady and HomePossible programs.
A major advantage of Movement Mortgage is that it's qualified to offer down payment assistance through the North Carolina Housing Finance Agency's (NCHFA) Home Advantage program for qualifying first-time homebuyers and veterans. Through this state-sponsored program, homebuyers can receive up to 5% of their loan amount or $8,000 in down payment assistance for their first-time home purchases. This program can be a boon for North Carolina homebuyers who intend to reside in their homes for decades, as the program forgives the entire assistance amount if you don't sell, refinance or transfer your home for 15 years after purchase.
Finally, while Movement Mortgage is technically an online lender, the company encourages you to meet with its loan officers who work in your area. This hybrid approach allows for both in-person interaction and online applications, and has largely been a successful strategy for the lender, as it's currently one of the fastest growing mortgage companies in the country. We think borrowers with less-than-stellar credit will have a good shot with Movement Mortgage.
How We Chose the Best Mortgage Lenders in North Carolina
We looked at numerous factors when picking the best mortgage lenders in North Carolina. Our reviews took a consumer perspective and weighed the following criteria:
- Total Cost: interest rates, closing costs
- Product: terms, programs, specialty
- Servicing: transparency, complaint data, branch network
We evaluated lenders based on their rates, terms, customer service and closing costs. While interest rates played a large role in lender selection, we conducted an overall lender analysis, taking into account both quantitative and qualitative factors.
Customer service and lender experience play large roles in determining whether your closing proceeds in a smooth and timely manner. We, therefore, reviewed publicly available complaint data to dissect the reputation of each mortgage company. By reviewing a lender's ratio of customer complaints to mortgage originations, we were able to determine whether customers might be more likely to experience difficulties with certain lenders than others.
Finally, it's important to find the lender that best suits your needs. While most loan companies offer conventional fixed-rate mortgages, fewer lenders are set up to handle special government programs sponsored by the FHA, VA and USDA. Whether these programs were available, and each lender's unique terms under these programs, also determined how we classified the best lender for each category. Factors like these may be crucial for special borrower classes like low-income families or military service members stationed at Camp Lejeune or Elizabeth City.
Most Popular Home Loan Companies in North Carolina
Below, we've ranked the top five most popular mortgage companies in North Carolina. We selected these lenders based on the total number of residential mortgages originated within the past five years, based on data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Top 5 Biggest North Carolina Residential Mortgage Lenders, 2013-2019
|Rank||Company||Mortgage Originations||Average Mortgage Amount|
|2.||State Employee Credit Union||118,692||$126,131|
|5.||Bank of America||59,207||$185,647|
The lenders above weren't necessarily selected for our best in-class categories above, which considered a number of other consumer-oriented factors. If you're shopping for mortgages, you may consider using the lenders above as a baseline for comparison.
Mortgage Brokers Near Me in North Carolina
Mortgage brokers can help you shop for the right loan terms that fit your needs. They differ from mortgage loan officers, who are employees of a single lender, and only offer loans from their employer's portfolio. By contrast, mortgage brokers shop loans across multiple lenders, and act as the liaison between you and the mortgage loan companies.
A licensed mortgage broker is helpful if you prefer to let someone else handle the loan shopping. Below, we've assembled a list of licensed professionals in your area, based on information provided by the National Association of Mortgage Brokers.
|Mortgage Defense, Inc.||9721 Stonebridge Way, Mint Hill NC 28227||(704) 574-0364|
|Accenture Credit Services||8336 Forest Point Blvd, Charlotte NC 28273||(704) 522-4201|
|Arch Mortgage Insurance||230 N. Elm St, Greensboro NC 27401||(713) 553-5035|
|Lighthouse Mortgage||932 Hendersonville Road, Suite 201, Asheville NC 28803||(828) 274-4111|
|Wholesale One||8037 Stonehaven Drive, Waxhaw NC 28173||(704) 575-8003|
|Carolina Home Mortgage Inc.||148 East Street, Suite 101, Pittsboro NC 27312||(919) 545-3000|
|SMC Home Finance||PO Box 1376, Kinston NC 28503||(252) 523-5800|
|Carolina Ventures Mortgage||1516 E. Franklin St, Suite 103, Chapel Hill NC 27514||(919) 260-6020|
|Capstone Funding||3901 Barrett Drive, Suite 313, Raleigh NC 27609||(919) 615-1293|
|First South Bank||327 Glenburney Dr, Fayetteville NC 28303||(910) 484-2657|