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Whether you want a waterfront home on one of Wisconsin's 15,000 lakes, or a house in one of the big cities, obtaining a loan from the right mortgage lender can save you thousands of dollars in interest costs over the life of your home loan. Enter your desired loan terms into our quotebox above for a customized rate quote, or read our lender reviews to find out more about our top picks for mortgage lenders in Wisconsin.
The Best Mortgage Rates Among Wisconsin Lenders
If you're buying a home in Wisconsin and are looking to get prequalified for a home loan, check out our mortgage reviews below. Rates alone won't capture all the factors that might impact your mortgage offer. Remember to consider each lender's reputation for customer service, terms and closing costs. Read about our top choices for mortgage lenders are below to help inform your shopping experience.
Best Mortgage Lender for First-Time Homebuyers: BMO Harris
First-time homebuyers in Wisconsin should consider getting a rate quote from their local BMO Harris branch, which shouldn't be that difficult, considering that BMO has the largest network of bank branches in the state—at 206 locations and counting. Regardless of whether you live in Eau Claire or Sheboygan, there's likely a BMO branch near you. BMO has demonstrated a history of reliability and professionalism in Wisconsin, ranking as the most popular mortgage lender in the state over the past five years. This makes it an excellent choice for first-time homebuyers unfamiliar with the mortgage process, as borrowers can be certain they're dealing face-to-face with an experienced loan officer.
Aside from accessibility, BMO Harris doesn't offer rates that vary too much from the average mortgage lender in the area—what they do offer is specialized financing as an approved Wisconsin Housing Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) lender. This means that unlike other national lenders, BMO is authorized to offer special first-time homebuyer programs to Wisconsin residents. Specifically, this includes both the WHEDA First Time Home Buyer Advantage (FTHB) and the WHEDA Tax Advantage programs. These programs allow first-time homebuyers to obtain fixed-rate mortgages at below-market rates, as well as tax credits that won't expire for the life of the loan. BMO's accessibility, stellar reputation and localized focus makes it our top pick for new homebuyers.
Best Mortgage Lender for Refinancing: Associated Bank
Existing homeowners looking to refinance or cash out on their home equity should check with Associated Bank, as the mortgage lender ranked first in the state in terms of refinancing volume. Borrowers with a discerning eye will notice that Associated Bank offers competitive rates in the 15-year and 10-year terms, where most homeowners tend to refinance. This makes it an excellent option for homeowners seeking to maximize their savings. It also doesn't hurt that Associated Bank was the second most popular mortgage lender in Wisconsin over the past five years.
Additionally, Associated Bank offers a wide selection of adjustable rate products (ARMs), in one-, two-, three-, five-, seven- and even 10-year lock periods. This can be useful for crafty investors seeking to flip a property for profit, and minimizes the interest rate on their new mortgage. Keep in mind that you will be subject to a variable rate once the short-term lock period on your ARM expires.
Finally, Associated Bank offers a standard home equity line of credit which seems popular among Wisconsin homeowners, ranking the bank fifth in terms of terms of the number of home equity products issued. Its HELOC rates were close to its competitors, while it offered both interest-only terms and lender-covered closing fees. These combined features made Associated Bank an excellent choice for shrewd homeowners, seeking to capitalize on their refinancing/second mortgage.
Best Online Mortgage Lender: Guaranteed Rate
There are plenty of online lenders to choose from, but Guaranteed Rate ranked as our top pick due to its low rates and comprehensive website. Guaranteed Rate provides a large range of financing options that are not available at other lenders, especially at the rates that the company offers. Many loan options from the lender include loan credits, which reduce your upfront costs by accepting a higher mortgage rate. Even with lender credits, Guaranteed Rate's premiums are still competitive when compared to major banks.
Apart from offering a range of loan products and low rates, Guaranteed Rate also provides a knowledge center and convenient online calculators that help you choose the best loan option. These include a calculator showing what your closing costs will be, the amount you should borrow and the cost of your mortgage payments. One of the best parts about using an online lender like Guaranteed Rate, is the consistency of service regardless of where you live. While a homebuyer in Vernon County might have access to less brick-and-mortar options than homebuyers in Racine County, they can be assured that they’ll receive the same quality of service from Guaranteed Rate.
Best Mortgage Lender for VA Loans: USAA
As a result of its expertise in helping veterans finance homes and strong consumer satisfaction rating, USAA is our pick for the best VA home loan lender in Wisconsin. If you qualify for membership, you'll have access to loan officers and real estate agents specialized in finding the options for veterans. It doesn't hurt that USAA ranked as the fifth most prolific originator of VA loans in Wisconsin, making it an ideal choice for service members stationed at Fort McCoy.
USAA may not have the best rates and APRs on our list, but it had the lowest monthly payment compared to the other lenders. The company is known for its great service as it is among the top-rated companies in the United States based on customer satisfaction, scoring 864 out of a possible 1,000 points on J.D. Power's mortgage servicer satisfaction study. USAA provides various financing options and offers a real estate network with agents trained in finding homes for veterans. If you use their network, you can qualify for a reward of $350 to $24,000, depending on the cost of your home.
Best Mortgage Lender for Poor Credit: Inlanta Mortgage
If you're a homebuyer struggling with credit or income requirements, consider prequalifying for an FHA loan through Inlanta Mortgage, as the company is the fifth-largest originator of FHA-sponsored mortgages in the state. The FHA program provides low-income homebuyers with affordable mortgage terms and allows for credit scores as low as 580. These generous terms are backed by the U.S. Federal Housing Administration, which makes mortgages more affordable for disadvantaged homebuyers.
Over the past five years, Inlanta Mortgage underwrote over 2,150 FHA loans in the state of Wisconsin alone, proving that its loan officers are among the most experienced when it comes to the intricacies of FHA lending. It was also the most popular FHA lender in Marathon and second most popular FHA lender in Waukesha and Wood. Wisconsin residents should also take note of the fact that Inlanta Mortgage is a WHEDA-approved mortgage lender, meaning that they offer tax credits and down payment assistance for qualifying homebuyers. Specifically, Inlanta is permitted to offer FHA loans through the WHEDA FHA Advantage program, which provides borrowers with low closing costs, low 30-year fixed rates and is fully assumable for future buyers. This is an uncommon offer, even among WHEDA-approved mortgage lenders.
How We Chose the Best Mortgage Lenders in Wisconsin
We used the following criteria while comparing mortgage lenders.
- Total cost: interest rates and closing costs
- Product: terms, programs and specialty
- Servicing: transparency, complaint data and branch network
While interest rates played an important role in our decision, we also looked at each lender's unique terms and fees. Lenders were analyzed on the basis of total cost rather than individual expenses.
We also chose to highlight any competitive advantages that a lender exhibited which weren't common to the industry. For example, most lenders offer conventional fixed-rate mortgages, but a lesser number specialized in offering niche programs like FHA, VA or USDA loans. We looked at each lender's relative expertise when qualifying their strengths.
We also examined customer service records and public complaint data to try to predict the likelihood of difficulties arising during the loan underwriting and servicing process. We summed up each lender's number of customer service complaints and divided them against their volume of loan originations closed over the past five years. The resulting ratios were then sorted and ranked according to magnitude.
Finally, we mapped out and compared the size of each lender's branch network. This was to assess whether borrowers in less-populated regions of Wisconsin might have access to comparable levels of service as borrowers in Milwaukee, and helped determine how accessible each lender was across the state.
Most Popular Home Loan Companies in Wisconsin
We've listed the top five most popular mortgage lenders in Wisconsin based on mortgage origination volume. These lenders are ranked by the number of residential mortgages originated over the past five years.
Top 5 Biggest Wisconsin Residential Mortgage Lenders, 2013–2019
|Rank||Company||Mortgage originations||Average mortgage amount|
|1||BMO Harris (Bank of Montreal)||41,547||$138,828|
|3||Summit Credit Union||31,845||$118,475|
|5||University of Wisconsin Credit Union||30,202||$122,247|
While the lenders above were the most popular lenders by volume, they were not necessarily selected among our top picks. We reviewed a variety of characteristics in addition to origination volume in order to find the best mortgage lender for each specific category; this may not necessarily correlate with a specific lender's popularity. If you're shopping for a home loan in Wisconsin, you may still find it useful to use the most popular lenders as a point of comparison.
It's important to review each lender on a holistic basis by comparing its records for customer service, closing costs and any unique offerings. There might also be other factors that matter to you, which might not have been covered in our review. Make sure you evaluate each option according to your own personal financial needs.
Mortgage Brokers Near Me in Wisconsin
Licensed mortgage brokers in your area can save you both time and money when it comes to shopping for home loans. They're able to compare rates from multiple lenders simultaneously, to get the rates and terms that work best for you. Mortgage brokers are different from mortgage loan officers, who focus on originating loans from a single mortgage lender.
Listed below are a number of licensed mortgage brokers in your area.
|American Fidelity Mortgage Services Inc.||3950 N. Holton Street, Suite 201, Milwaukee WI 53212||(414) 332-1154|
|Patriot Mortgage Lending||1211 15th Ave, Grafton, WI 53024||(262) 376-1005|
|Wisconsin Mortgage Group||306 N 76th St, Wauwatosa, WI 53213||(309) 222-8286|
|First Fidelity Home Mortgage of Wisconsin||2426 N. Grandview Blvd, Waukesha, WI 53188||(262) 650-9890|
|Waterstone Mortgage Corp.||17 Applegate Ct, Madison, WI 53719||(608) 807-0061|
|Commonwealth Mortgage Group||325 Oakton Ave, Pewaukee, WI 53072||(262) 691-6100|
|Cornerstone Mortgage||1830 W Mason St, Green Bay, WI 54303||(920) 429-1500|
|McGlone Mortgage Group||3701 E Evergreen Dr #700, Appleton, WI 54913||(877) 943-3256|
|First Wisconsin Financial||110 N Main St, Oconomowoc, WI 53066||(262) 567-4421|
|American Lending Solutions||1777 Witzel Ave, Oshkosh, WI 54902||(855) 257-5363|