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The Best Mortgage Rates Among Utah Lenders
Shopping for mortgages by interest rate can be an easy way to rank lenders in terms of cost, but this approach dismisses factors that have long-term consequences on your borrowing experience—such as customer service and upfront fees. As a result, we evaluated mortgage lenders on how well they matched up to borrower needs in areas that went beyond the estimated interest rate. Our criteria for evaluating the best lenders included their level of transparency as well as service features provided during the origination process. Check out our lender reviews below to see what Utah's most competitive mortgage companies have to offer.
Best Mortgage Lender for First-Time Homebuyers: Wells Fargo
We recommend Wells Fargo as our top pick for first-time homebuyers in Utah, thanks to its competitive rates and large branch network. Wells Fargo is the biggest mortgage lender in the country and also boasts the largest bank branch network in Utah, with over 100 brick-and-mortar locations. This makes it a great choice for borrowers who want face-to-face customer service. Over the past five years, Wells Fargo originated more than $5.8 billion in mortgage loans in Utah over the past five years, with $2 billion in Salt Lake County alone. Wells Fargo is also the most active mortgage originator in Summit County and second most active mortgage lender in the state of Utah, next to Academy Mortgage Corp.
Wells Fargo may not be the cheapest lender available, but its interest rates are competitive when compared to similarly sized competitors like Bank of America. However, Wells Fargo ranks better in customer service, with a ratio of mortgage complaints to originations of 1.17%, compared to Bank of America's 2.4%. At the same time, Wells Fargo originated almost twice as many mortgages as Bank of America nationwide. If you're looking for experienced, in-person customer service, few home loan companies can offer the same level of underwriting experience as Wells Fargo.
Best Mortgage Lender for Refinancing: Mountain America Federal Credit Union
Mountain America Federal Credit Union is our No. 1 choice for mortgage refinancing in Utah, because it offers the most comprehensive selection of mortgage refinance and home equity loans. Among the 10 largest mortgage lenders by volume in Utah, Mountain America has exhibited the fastest year-over-year growth in terms of total dollars originated over the past five years. This growth seems to be due, in part, to its competitive rates and breadth of offerings.
Mountain America offers an enviable selection of refinancing choices for current homeowners. Whereas many lenders limit your refinancing options to a few fixed loan terms, Mountain America's unique "Mini Mortgages" allow you to refinance an existing mortgage into five-, seven-, 10- or 12-year terms. These are below the range of what most conventional mortgage lenders are willing to refinance into, and provide borrowers who are approaching the end of their mortgage payments, an opportunity to squeeze more savings out of their home loans.
Borrowers looking to cash out on equity have a choice between five-, seven-, 10 and 12-year home equity loans. The credit union also provides home equity lines of credit with no fees or closing costs for loans approved for under $250,000. Many traditional mortgage lenders are more restrictive when it comes to home equity financing, typically offering terms of only eight or 15 years. These flexible offerings highlight Mountain America’s versatility.
Best Online Mortgage Lender: J.G. Wentworth
J.G. Wentworth is our No. 1 pick among online mortgage companies, due to its ease of use and widespread accessibility. Although J.G. Wentworth is best known for purchasing structured settlement payments, it's also a competitive online mortgage lender that provides a straightforward online platform for mortgage applications. Homebuyers in sparsely populated areas like San Juan or Emery counties may have trouble finding experienced mortgage lenders in their areas. Reputable online mortgage lenders like J.G. Wentworth provide you with the same level of service that you can expect from a major national bank, regardless of where you live. Borrowers residing in Morgan County can expect the same level of experience and customer service from J.G. Wentworth as borrowers who live in Salt Lake City.
J.G. Wentworth's online platform allows you to get personalized rate quotes within less than a minute. After entering your information, the website conveniently lays out your mortgage options, which include both fixed-rate mortgages and ARM loans. You can then pick a loan that fits you best, request for a representative to contact you, or apply online from the comfort of your own home.
Generally, it takes around 30 days to close on your mortgage with J.G. Wentworth after your application is submitted. However, the lender allows you to track the progress of your loan on its website and mobile app. J.G. Wentworth also offers float-down options to ensure you get the best deal, even if rates drop while you're waiting on loan approval.
Best VA Loan Lender: Navy Federal Credit Union
Navy Federal was our top choice among VA loan lenders in Utah because of its low rates and useful resources for veterans. Homebuyers stationed at the Hill Air Force Base can find dedicated loan officers specializing in VA loans and veteran lending at Navy Federal Credit Union. Like with all credit unions, you will need to be a member to apply for a mortgage loan, however membership is open to all branches of the United States military, service members and veterans alike.
Navy Federal offers competitive rates for veterans and will even finance the VA funding fee that must normally be paid upfront as part of the mortgage closing process. If you qualify for membership, you'll have access to Navy Federal's RealtyPlus program, where you can receive up to $5,050 cash back after closing, depending on the price of your home. In addition, Navy Federal has pledged to match mortgage rates at competing lenders for first-time homebuyers; if it's unable to do so, the credit union will deposit $1,000 in your bank account after closing. This helps ensure that military members and their families are getting the best deal around.
Best Mortgage Lender for Poor Credit: Academy Mortgage Corp.
Academy Mortgage Corp. ranks as our top Utah mortgage lender for homebuyers with bad credit, as it's the second largest originator of FHA loans in the state. You’re more likely to find loan officers experienced in FHA lending at Academy Mortgage than any other home loan company in Utah, with the possible exception of SecurityNational Mortgage Co. (the most active FHA lender over the past five years). We also found that Academy Mortgage was the top originator of FHA loans in Box Elder, Davis and Weber counties in the last five years overall.
When comparing the two top FHA lenders side by side, we found that Academy Mortgage offered more resources and originated more mortgage loans overall than SecurityNational. Over the past five years, Academy Mortgage Corp. held more than twice the market share of SecurityNational in overall mortgage lending. The information provided on Academy Mortgage's website was also more comprehensive and featured links to helpful informational articles written by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. SecurityNational's website, by comparison, was sparse and required you to contact a loan officer for information. First-time borrowers, unfamiliar with the FHA program, may be better served by Academy Mortgage.
How We Chose the Best Mortgage Lenders in Utah
We looked at a variety of factors when identifying the best mortgage lenders in Utah. Our evaluation process took a consumer perspective and weighted 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 our selection on an overall lender analysis, which took into account both quantitative and qualitative factors that may be difficult to quantify. For example, a borrower living in Garfield County may have difficulty finding experienced mortgage lenders in their area or be limited to a few local options; we looked at the size of lender branch networks to ensure that they cover the greatest number of residents in Utah.
Some customers may choose to evaluate lenders purely based on rates. However, customer service and experience play large roles in determining whether your closing proceeds smoothly and on time. We therefore looked over publicly available complaint data and the reputation of each lender. By reviewing a lender's ratio of customer complaints to mortgage originations, we were able to find whether customers might be more likely to experience difficulties at certain loan companies.
Finally, it's important to find the lender that best suits your needs. Most loan companies offer conventional fixed-rate mortgages, but fewer lenders are set up to handle FHA, VA and USDA loans. Whether these programs were available, and each lender’s unique specialties, also determined how we classified the best lender for each class. Factors like these may be crucial for service members stationed in Hill Air Force Base, who may be seeking the best terms for VA loans. It's important to compare the relative experience of each lender in special financing programs like those offered by the VA or FHA.
Most Popular Home Loan Companies in Utah
Below, we've ranked the top five most popular mortgage companies in Utah. 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 Utah Residential Mortgage Lenders, 2013-2019
|Rank||Company||Mortgage Originations||Average Mortgage Amount|
|1.||America First Federal Credit Union||51,352||$219,942|
|2.||Mountain America Federal Credit Union||37,920||$113,286|
|3.||Academy Mortgage Corporation||30,262||$209,977|
|4.||Veritas Funding LLC||26,583||$222,090|
|5.||Security National Mortgage Co.||23,899||$193,165|
These lenders were the most active mortgage originators in the state over the past five years. While popular, the lenders above weren't necessarily selected in our top picks, which considered a number of other factors in addition to origination volume. Borrowers shopping for the mortgages may find it worthwhile to use the lenders above as their baseline for comparison.
Mortgage Brokers Near Me in Utah
Mortgage brokers can help you shop for loan terms that fit your needs. They act as the go-between for you and the mortgage loan companies, and can shop your loan across multiple lenders on your behalf. They differ from mortgage loan officers, who work on behalf of a single company and only offer loans from their portfolio.
Licensed mortgage brokers are helpful if you don't like shopping for lenders, as they take the effort out of finding the loan that best works for you. Below, we've put together a list of licensed mortgage brokers in your area.
|Intercap Lending||11781 S. Lone Peak Parkway, Draper UT 84020||(385) 800-8570|
|Elevate Mortgage||5269 West 10800 North, Highland UT 84003||(801) 309-9622|
|Franklin American Mortgage||2641 E Stringham Avenue, Salt Lake City UT 84109||(972) 400-8108|
|Red Rock Home Loans||169 W. 2710 S. Circle, St. Georges UT 84790||(435) 986-2220|
|AmBank||3670 N. University Ave, Provo UT 84604||(801) 342-5326|
|Axiom Financial||1270 Preakness Dr. Kaysville UT 84037||(801) 525-2127|
|Mortgage Miracles Happen LLC||298 24th St. Ogden UT 84401||(801) 399-2364|
|Mortgage Educators and Compliance||947 S. 500 E., American Fork UT 84003||(801) 676-2521|
|Northwest Farm Credit Service||2195 N. Main St., N. Logan UT 84341||(435) 881-1716|
|Fairway Independent Mortgage||5315 N. Edgewood Ave., Heber City UT 84032||(801) 875-3040|
|Eastern Utah CCU||675 E 100 N. St., Price UT 84501||(435) 820-6211|