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|Recommended for||Click for review||Minimum credit score||Highlights|
|First-time homebuyers||Citizens Bank||620|
|Online loans||Quicken Loans||620|
|VA loans||Veterans United||620|
|Poor credit||Freedom Mortgage||580|
Getting the best mortgage in Pennsylvania means finding the lender who offers the right mix of low interest rates, fast loan processing and reliable customer service. Read on to find out more about our top picks in the Keystone State.
Best Mortgage Lender for First-Time Homebuyers: Citizens Bank
Citizens Bank is our top lender for first-time homebuyers in Pennsylvania. Citizens has the second-largest branch network in Pennsylvania, with over 370 branches spanning from Erie to Philadelphia.
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If you're shopping for your first home, you might be feeling a little overwhelmed with all the unfamiliar terms being thrown around. Between closing costs, appraisals and APRs, most first-time homebuyers agree that it's helpful to have an experienced lender guide you through this complex process. Citizens makes an excellent choice, especially if you're looking for face-to-face customer service at a local branch office.
With almost 67,000 mortgage loans sold across Pennsylvania over the past five years, Citizens is certainly one of the most popular banks in the state when it comes to home lending. What's particularly enticing is that the bank offers a 0.125% rate discount if you set up auto payments from a Citizens Bank checking account. This can boost the attractiveness of its rate offers slightly, as the APRs on Citizen's fixed-rate mortgage loans fall in the middle of the pack when compared to its biggest competitors.
Where Citizens falls behind is its selection of government-backed mortgage products. Chief among these is the noticeable lack of VA and FHA loans, which are mortgages specifically tailored toward veteran and low- to moderate-income homebuyers. Rural Pennsylvanians searching for a USDA-backed home loan will also need to search elsewhere, as Citizens doesn't offer those either. Nevertheless, if you're just looking for something straightforward with reasonable rates, or if you already have an existing banking relationship with the lender, it's worth clicking the link above to see what Citizens can do for you.
Best Mortgage Lender for Refinancing: PNC Bank
PNC Bank is one of the top five most popular lenders for refinancing in Pennsylvania and tops the list as the most popular home equity lender. It also happens to have the largest branch network in the state.
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If you're trying to refinance your home, you'll want to maximize your savings and minimize your closing costs. PNC was excellent for both options, given that the lender quoted us some of the lowest refinancing rates around for both fixed-rate and adjustable-rate mortgages. Particularly impressive was their wide range of adjustable-rate terms, which included 10-year and three-year rate locks, in addition to the standard five- and seven-year locks offered by most lenders. These adjustable-rate mortgages can be useful if you're refinancing your home loan and are looking to lock in a below-average rate for a few years before selling your home for a profit.
Another thing borrowers look for in refinancing loans is convenience, and PNC offers a seamless combined online and in-person lending experience. Borrowers can choose their preferred loan type, ZIP code and loan amount, and obtain a rate quote on demand with PNC's HomeHQ. This is a far cry from most lenders, who won't even allow you to check your rates without calling a loan officer. Once you've submitted your application, PNC allows you to track the status of your application through the web, keeping you in the know and giving you one less thing to worry about in an already stressful process. Click on the link above to get a quick rate quote from PNC.
Best Online Mortgage Lender: Quicken Loans
Quicken Loans was our pick for the best online lender in Pennsylvania. Quicken offers the fastest, most convenient mortgage application around and consistently receives the highest customer satisfaction ratings in America, year after year.
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Mortgage applications often seem tedious, and the idea of having to compile paperwork and get pre-qualified can be a hassle for many. However, Quicken's Rocket Mortgage program is one of the fastest and most convenient mortgage applications on the market and can have you pre-qualified for a home loan within minutes. The best part is that you can complete the entire process from the comforts of your own home, a claim that few brick-and-mortar companies can make.
Quicken Loans claimed the No. 1 spots in VA, FHA and refinance mortgages in Pennsylvania over the past five years, making it a formidable regional competitor. It's also the fastest-growing major lender in almost every loan category. In a period of 10 years, the online lender managed to surpass Wells Fargo, Chase and Bank of America in loan volume. Click the link above to find out why Quicken Loans is one of America's most-trusted lenders.
Best Mortgage Lender for VA Loans: Veterans United Home Loans
Veterans United Home Loans is our No. 1 pick for veterans, active-duty military personnel and their families. Veterans United is hands-down the most popular and fastest-growing military lender in Pennsylvania, having sold over 4,600 VA loans over the past five years.
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Veterans United Home Loans is THE military lender for veterans and their families. Many of its loan officers and customer support teams are actually former enlisted servicemen and women, who hail from every branch of the military. That means that military homebuyers can look forward to working with a loan officer who understands their unique needs. Veterans United is one of the most experienced VA lenders in the market and also offers USDA and FHA home loans, which can be especially lucrative for rural homebuyers and those struggling with credit issues.
If you're in the market for a 0% down VA loan, Veterans United is the right place to look. It's one of the few lenders in the market who will let you roll your VA funding fee into your total loan amount, allowing eligible borrowers to close on their homes with no money down. If you're in the market for a VA loan, or you're stationed at any one of Pennsylvania's 10 military installations and are thinking about buying a home, click the link above to obtain a free rate quote with Veterans United.
Best Mortgage Lender for Poor Credit: Freedom Mortgage
Freedom Mortgage is our top choice when it comes to home buyers with low to moderate income. It's one of the most popular nonbank FHA lenders in Pennsylvania and was rated a top mortgage originator by the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency in 2017.
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Freedom Mortgage is an excellent choice if you have low to moderate income and need some help scraping together a down payment. The lender specializes in government-backed mortgage loans that appeal to a wide range of home buyers. Whether you're a military homebuyer stationed at the Carlisle Barracks, or a rural homebuyer out in York County, Freedom Mortgage is likely to have a low-down payment mortgage loan that fits your needs.
FHA loans are one of the most popular mortgage options offered by Freedom Mortgage. The lender sold over 5,700 of them over the past five years, ranking as the third-most popular FHA lender in the state. Freedom is also a participating lender in the Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency's network of lenders, which allows it to issue a number of government-backed bonding loans. This includes the Keystone Advantage Assistance Loan, which allows homebuyers to receive up to four percent of the market volume of their home purchase in closing cost assistance, to be repaid at 0% over 10 years.
While Freedom has a mixed record when it comes to customer satisfaction, this likely comes with the difficulty of underwriting borrowers with credit issues. Freedom Mortgage's main strength is derived from its emphasis on government-assistance mortgage programs, so you can expect to meet with a loan officer who’s familiar with the terms and requirements of these products. If you're looking for down-payment assistance, or have had trouble getting qualified for a conventional mortgage in the past, click the link above to see if Freedom has the right program to fit your needs.
Most Popular Mortgage Lenders in Pennsylvania
Included in the chart below are the five most popular mortgage lenders in Pennsylvania. These figures are based off the total number of residential home loans sold over the past five years.
Top 5 Residential Mortgage Lenders in Pennsylvania, 2013–2018
|Rank||Company||Mortgage originations||Change in Volume|
|5||First National Bank of Pennsylvania||43,833||22%|
If you're just beginning your search for a mortgage, consider starting with a quote from one of the lenders above. As the market leaders in Pennsylvania, these lenders are most likely to set the average mortgage rate for your area. You can also use our toolbox at the top of the page for a customized rate quote.
How We Chose the Best Mortgage Lenders in Pennsylvania
We reviewed each lender's terms and conditions in addition to its rates. While rates were often comparable across lenders, we found that certain companies quoted fees that came in thousands of dollars apart. Customer reviews of companies with poor records for customer service revealed that errors committed by lenders sometimes resulted in delayed closings or inadvertent defaults. Due to the complexity of each lender, we analyzed the following criteria.
- Total cost: interest rates and closing costs
- Product: terms, programs and reputation
- Servicing: transparency, complaint data and branch network
We highlighted any terms that weren't commonly offered. For example, some lenders specialized in products like VA and FHA loans, and were found to have greater knowledge of those programs. Other lenders offered borrower incentives in the form of rate discounts and cashback rewards. We also took into account each lender's experience, market share and growth when comparing it against its peers.
We reviewed customer complaint data obtained through the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau over the past five years. The rates of complaints were compared across lenders to forecast the likelihood of problems arising during the origination and servicing process. Third-party ratings from consumer-advocate platforms like J.D. Power were also factored into our review of the overall borrower experience.
Finally, we determined whether a lender's branch network was accessible relative to its peers. Lenders that were spread out geographically or maintained larger branch networks were found to be easier to access by borrowers in rural locations. We also reviewed each lender's web experience, taking into account whether borrowers were able to apply online, obtain rate quotes without the assistance of a loan officer, and whether lenders offered useful comparison tools on their sites.
Local Mortgage Brokers Near Me in Pennsylvania
If you're in the market for a home loan but aren't sure where to look, one option is to hire a loan broker who specializes in mortgage lending. Loan brokers can shop loans on your behalf from multiple lenders, rather than a single company, and often have access to direct and portfolio lenders that you wouldn't be able to find on your own. Check out the chart below for a list of local mortgage brokers near you.
|Allentown Mortgage Corporation||2067 Walbert Ave, Allentown, PA 18104||(610) 434-5222|
|Keegan Mortgage Corporation||1504 Walnut Ave, Oreland, PA 19075||(215) 885-5311|
|PA Mortgage Pros||3879 Charter Club Dr, Doylestown, PA 18902||(866) 577-7366|
|Norstar Mortgage Services||2066 Big Rd, Gilbertsville, PA 19525||(215) 661-1660|
|Holland Mortgage Advisors||4640 Campbells Run Rd, Pittsburgh, PA 15205||(412) 921-5263|
|Nations Home Loans||5033 Swamp Rd #504, Fountainville, PA 18923||(215) 256-9200|
|HP Mortgage LLC||500 N 21st St ste 1018, Philadelphia, PA 19130||(800) 974-3129|
|MoneyLine Lending||3913 Market St, Camp Hill, PA 17011||(717) 763-5626|
|Lancaster Mortgage Company||1794 Oregon Pike, Lancaster PA 17601||(717) 560-2114|
|Core Mortgage Services LLC||1609 N Atherton St, State College, PA 16803||(814) 272-0125|