July 5, 2022

Best VA Mortgage Lenders of 2021

If you meet the requirements for a home loan backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs, you could get a mortgage without making a down payment: one of the program’s main benefits. The VA guarantees a portion of your loan, which means your mortgage could have better terms than most others.

Here’s more about VA home loans and how to find the best VA mortgage lender for your needs.

What Are the Best VA Mortgage Lenders of 2021?

Lender

PNC Bank

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3% Min. Down Payment
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Lender

Chase

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3% Min. Down Payment
620 Min. Credit Score

Lender

McGlone

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5% Min. Down Payment
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Lender

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3% Min. Down Payment
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Lender

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3% Min. Down Payment
620 Min. Credit Score

Lender

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5% Min. Down Payment
Not disclosed Min. Credit Score

Best for bad credit

Carrington Mortgage Services makes a range of mortgages, including refinancing, available to borrowers nationwide. The company, which provides conventional and government-backed mortgages, has funded $22 billion in home loans since 2011.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, ARM, Carrington Flexible Advantage, first-time buyers, refinancing
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 500
  • Maximum loan amount: $2.5 million
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Applicants with credit scores as low as 500 are accepted for some products.

  • Conventional loans are offered with down payments as low as 3%.

See full profile

Best for product availability

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. is based in Madison, Wisconsin, and has funded billions of dollars in loans since the company began in 1996 – and more than $58 billion in 2020 alone. The lender offers several mortgage products, including conventional, Federal Housing Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and refinancing loans. Fairway Independent Mortgage also provides jumbo loans for home purchases in high-cost markets, renovation loans, adjustable-rate mortgages and reverse mortgages. Fairway is an independent mortgage company and serves as a mortgage broker and direct lender.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: fixed rate, ARM, conventional, USDA/Rural Development, FHA, VA, jumbo, refinance, renovation, reverse mortgage
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 580
  • Maximum loan amount: undisclosed
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • The selection of mortgages includes VA and USDA loans, which often have no down payment requirements.

  • The company has an A+ customer service rating with the Better Business Bureau.

  • Renovation loan options include the HomeStyle Renovation Loan, which combines the cost of remodeling and the mortgage into one loan.

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Best for consumers with credit scores between poor and good

NBKC Bank is a Kansas-based mortgage lender. It originates home loans in all 50 states.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: conventional, fixed rate, ARM, FHA, refinance, VA, FHA Streamline Refinance, Refi Plus, VA Streamline Refinance
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Maximum loan amount: Not disclosed
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Borrowers with fair credit may qualify.

  • It features a simple online application process.

  • VA loan borrowers aren’t charged lender fees.

See full profile

Best for product selection

Guild Mortgage, founded in 1960, specializes in home loans and serves borrowers nationwide. The lender’s full suite of products includes conventional and government-backed mortgages and home renovation loans.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, ARM, refinancing, renovation, jumbo
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Maximum loan amount: $2 million
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • A broad range of mortgage products are offered.

  • Special mortgage programs for first-time buyers and manufactured homebuyers are available.

See full profile

Best for VA loans

Veterans United Home Loans provides mortgages to veterans and military families in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and specializes in VA loans.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: VA, VA jumbo, refinance
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 640
  • Maximum loan amount: $1.5 million
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • No down payment or PMI are required.

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Best online bank for customer service

Ally Bank is a Detroit-based online bank. Ally offers traditional banking products and services, such as conventional mortgages, as well as refinance loans and jumbo home loans.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: fixed rate, ARM, home equity loans, refinancing, HomeReady for first-time homebuyers
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Maximum loan amount: $4 million
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • A program is available for first-time homebuyers.

  • Existing Ally customers can get a closing cost discount.

See full profile

Best for large loan amounts

Bank of America serves roughly 66 million customers in all 50 states. The lender offers conventional, Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and jumbo loans, as well as home equity lines of credit and mortgage refinancing.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: fixed rate, Affordable Loan Solution, FHA, VA, ARM, home equity line of credit, fixed-rate refinancing, FHA refinancing, VA refinancing, cash-out refinancing, adjustable-rate refinancing, jumbo
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Not disclosed
  • Maximum loan amount: $2.5 million
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Bank of America has a wide variety of mortgage products.

  • The lender offers origination fee discounts for qualifying Bank of America and Merrill Lynch clients.

  • Home equity lines of credit have no annual, application or cash advance fees or closing costs.

  • Bank of America offers a first-time homebuyer program.

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Best for low down payment

PNC Bank is one of the largest U.S. banks, serving more than 8 million customers in all 50 states. PNC offers most types of mortgages.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: fixed rate, FHA, VA, USDA, ARM, home equity line of credit, refinancing, medical professional mortgage program, jumbo, PNC Community
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Not disclosed
  • Maximum loan amount: $5 million
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Multiple types of mortgages are available.

  • Some mortgage options require no or low down payments.

  • PNC supplies an online home ownership cost tool.

See full profile

Best for online service

Caliber Home Loans of Coppell, Texas, offers mortgage and home equity products nationwide. Options include conventional, adjustable-rate, refinancing, Federal Housing Administration, U.S. Department of Agriculture and Veterans Affairs loans. Caliber has been in business since 2008, and is focused on home lending products.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, ARM, refinancing, bond, renovation, Freddie Mac HomeOne, Freddie Mac Home Possible, Fannie Mae HomeReady
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Maximum loan amount: $3 million
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A

Best Features

  • The first-time homebuyer program HomeOne can require a down payment of as little as 3% and borrowers may qualify with a minimum 620 credit score.

  • Government-insured loans including Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Affairs, and United States Department of Agriculture programs are available.

See full profile

Best for product range

CMG Financial is a privately held mortgage banking firm operating nationwide with localized support, founded in 1993 and based in San Ramon, California. The lender offers a range of products including conventional, government and specialty mortgages, like jumbo loans.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, jumbo, All in One Loan, 203K Renovation Loan, Fannie Mae HomeReady, Freddie Mac Home Possible, HomeFundIt, refinance
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Maximum loan amount: $3 million
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Exclusive mortgage products include the HomeFundIt for crowdfunding a down payment.

  • The lender has a national presence with regional fulfillment and local support.

  • CMG Financial offers a mobile app.

See full profile

What Are Today’s VA Loan Rates?

Locking in a low mortgage rate today can save you thousands over the life of your loan. Compare your mortgage rate offers with national average trends.

How Do VA Loans Work?

The VA doesn’t lend money with VA loans, but it does offer a guarantee. You borrow from a private VA mortgage lender, and the government guarantees payment for a portion of your mortgage. If your loan is more than $144,000 and you default, the VA will pay the lender up to a quarter of the loan amount.

This guarantee reduces risk for lenders and allows borrowers to obtain competitive interest rates and terms, including buying with no down payment and private mortgage insurance.

You do not have to be a first-time homebuyer to use a VA loan. As long as you qualify for VA loan benefits, you can use them as many times as you would like. However, the VA loan must be used to purchase a primary residence and not a vacation home or investment property.

What Types of VA Loans Are Available?

1. Purchase loan: Put no money down and borrow up to the conforming loan limit in most areas – more in some high-cost locations – to build, buy or improve a home. You won’t need private mortgage insurance, which is usually required on a conventional loan when you don’t make at least a 20% down payment.

2. Interest rate reduction refinance loan: An IRRRL, often called a streamline refinance, replaces your VA-backed loan with a new one and different terms that reduce or stabilize your mortgage payments. Pay attention to your closing costs, dividing estimated costs by expected monthly savings, to determine whether to proceed.

3. Cash-out refinance loan: This loan may help you take cash out of your home equity to pay off debt, remodel or help with college expenses. Borrowers can also choose this option to refinance a non-VA loan into a VA-backed loan. You can borrow up to the conforming loan limit with no down payment in most areas, but keep refinancing costs in mind.

4. Native American Direct Loan: If you’re a veteran and either you or your spouse is Native American, this program may help you buy, build or improve a home on federal trust land. An NADL may also be refinanced to reduce your interest rate. Borrowers need to meet the VA’s eligibility criteria for an NADL, including credit and income standards.

Who Qualifies for a VA Loan?

You will need to meet service or discharge criteria to qualify for a VA loan. You may also be eligible as a spouse of a veteran or in other situations.

When you apply for a VA loan, you will need to present a Certificate of Eligibility, or COE, from the VA to the lender to show you qualify for the program.

You can apply for a COE online, by mail or through your lender using the VA’s web-based system. Applying by mail may take longer than the other two options.

In addition to military service requirements, you must meet the VA mortgage lender’s income, credit score and other conditions to qualify for the loan.

The VA sets no minimum credit score, but lenders typically expect a score of at least 620.

The lender will also consider your debt-to-income ratio, which is the percentage of your gross monthly income spent on debt payments. Most lenders prefer a DTI of 43% or lower.











VA Funding Fees
VRates for veterans, active-duty service members, and National Guard and Reserve members
First Use Down Payment Funding Fee
Less than 5% 2.3%
More than 5% 1.65%
More than 10% 1.4%
After First Use Less than 5% 3.6%
More than 5% 1.65%
More than 10% 1.4%
Source: VA






VA Funding Fees for Cash-Out Refinancing Loans
Rates for veterans, active-duty service members, and National Guard and Reserve members
First Use After First Use
2.3% 3.6%
Source:VA

How Can You Choose the Best VA Loan?

Consider these five key factors to help you select the best VA mortgage lender for your needs:

1. Annual percentage rates, or APRs. The APR reflects the interest rate, plus fees and closing costs, and it tells you the true cost of borrowing. Shop around, and compare quotes from different VA lenders. You can compare APRs on loan estimates, which break down on Page 3 how much of a loan you will pay off after five years.

2. Closing costs. Lenders can charge a number of closing costs to set up VA loans, including funding, origination and administrative fees. When you add up these costs, the loan with the lowest interest rate might not be the best VA home loan overall. This shows why you want to compare APRs and not just interest rates.

3. Products. Loan options depend on the VA mortgage lender. However, VA loans often have the same terms as conventional mortgages: They can come with fixed or adjustable rates and last up to 30 years.

4. Eligibility requirements. VA loan criteria are consistent when it comes to military service, but VA lenders could have different credit and income requirements. Most lenders have a minimum credit score and a maximum debt-to-income ratio to qualify.

How Can You Apply for a VA Loan?

Applying for a VA loan is nearly identical to applying for a conventional mortgage, except for VA forms.

You will need to apply for and receive your COE, which you provide to the lender as proof that you meet the service requirements for a VA loan. If you’re a veteran, you must also submit your DD Form 214, Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty.

Another difference is that a VA-certified appraiser inspects the home to make sure it meets the VA’s minimum property requirements and is acceptable for a loan.

Here’s more information about the mortgage timeline to have a better idea of what to expect.

What Are the Benefits and Drawbacks of VA Home Loans?

Make sure you understand the pros and cons of a VA loan to help you decide whether to use one.

  • You don’t need a down payment. Borrow up to the conforming loan limit – and more in some cases – with no down payment as long as the sale price of the home isn’t higher than its appraised value. This feature can be especially helpful for first-time homebuyers who haven’t saved much money.
  • You don’t have to buy private mortgage insurance. PMI is typically required if your down payment is less than 20% of the home’s purchase price. This is a significant savings, as PMI can cost between 0.5% and 1% of the loan amount each year.
  • You could qualify with fair credit. You may be able to qualify for a VA loan with a lower credit score than you would with a conventional mortgage because of the guarantee. VA mortgage lenders typically require minimum FICO scores from 580 to 620.
  • Sellers can help with closing costs. Closing costs are typically between 2% and 5% of the purchase price. With VA loans, the seller can agree to pay for some of your closing costs: up to 4% of the purchase price.





VA Cash-Out Fees
Type of veteran Fee for first-time use Fee for subsequent use
Active duty 2.15 percent 3.3 percent
Reserves or National Guard 2.4 percent 3.3 percent
  • You’ll pay a VA funding fee. The funding fee ranges from 2.3% to 3.6% if you’re not making a down payment and depending on the type of loan and whether you’re using a VA-backed loan for the first time.
  • You can only use it to buy a primary residence. This program is not for buying a vacation home or investment property.
  • You can’t buy a fixer-upper in major disrepair. You can only use a VA loan to buy a home that meets the VA’s minimum property requirements. Any unlivable property will be rejected during inspection, and sellers will be asked to make necessary repairs before the purchase is complete.

View More Best VA Loan Lenders

Best for low costs

Chase, one of the nation’s largest banks, offers mortgages, refinance loans and home equity loans for qualified borrowers.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types offered: conventional, ARM, conforming, FHA, DreaMaker, VA, jumbo, refinancing
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Maximum loan amount: $3 million
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Down payments as low as 3% are accepted.

  • Fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages are available.

See full profile

Best for fair credit

Flagstar offers banking and lending products in every state. Borrowers can select from conventional or government-backed mortgages, such as FHA, VA and U.S. Department of Agriculture loans, and opt for adjustable-rate mortgages. Other choices include home equity loans and lines of credit.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: conventional, VA, ARM, FHA, USDA, jumbo, refinance, home equity
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Not disclosed
  • Maximum loan amount: $3 million
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Flagstar Bank provides a broad selection of mortgages and home equity loans.

  • Some mortgages require no or a low down payment.

  • Borrowers can apply for loans online.

See full profile

Best for digital mortgages

LoanDepot is an online lender operating in all 50 states with more than 200 in-person branches. The company was founded in 2010 and is headquartered in Southern California. LoanDepot offers Federal Housing Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs loans, as well as home equity and refinancing loans.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: refinance, jumbo, hybrid ARM, fixed rate, HARP, VA, FHA, 203k loan
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Maximum loan amount: $3 million
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • LoanDepot mortgages have a lifetime guarantee, which means if you ever decide to refinance an existing LoanDepot loan, the company will waive the lender fees and reimburse appraisal fees.

  • The company offers a variety of mortgage products.

  • It’s licensed in all 50 states.

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Best for digital customer care

PrimeLending is a Dallas-based mortgage lender with several mortgage loan options, including conventional loans, jumbo loans, government-backed loans and refinance loans. The lender is a subsidiary of PlainsCapital Bank.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: fixed rate, ARM, conventional, cash-out refinance, refinance, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, new construction, interest rate reduction refinance loan
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 640
  • Maximum loan amount: undisclosed
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Homebuyers can choose from a variety of mortgage products.

  • Home loans are available nationwide.

  • Down payment and closing cost assistance is available.

See full profile

Best for array of products

Founded in 1999, McGlone Mortgage Group is licensed in multiple states to offer purchase and refinance home loans. Headquartered in Appleton, Wisconsin, McGlone Mortgage Group offers many different mortgage options.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: conventional, jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, HomeReady, High Balance/Super Conforming, Energy Efficient Mortgage, FHA
  • Minimum FICO credit score: Not disclosed
  • Maximum loan amount: $2 million
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Varied loan options are available.

  • McGlone Mortgage Group offers mortgage calculators and other tools.

  • Co-signers are allowed for most loans.

See full profile

Best for government loans

Founded in 2008, PennyMac is a national mortgage lender with more than $402 billion in loans serviced. PennyMac offers a range of home loans, including conventional, Federal Housing Administration, Veterans Affairs and investment property mortgages.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: conventional, FHA, VA, ARM, refinancing
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Maximum loan amount: $765,600
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • PennyMac accepts a 50% debt-to-income ratio for conventional loans in some instances.

  • Online capabilities include a 24/7 access center and email status updates.

See full profile

Best for low APR

New American Funding is a national mortgage lender with a variety of home loan options. The lender has processed more than $27 billion in mortgages.

Before You Apply

  • Mortgage types: ARM, cash-out refinance, conventional, FHA, HELOCs, jumbo, reverse, USDA and VA
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 620
  • Maximum loan amount: $3 million
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A+

Best Features

  • Provides multiple mortgage options, including low and no down-payment loans

  • Offers fixed- or adjustable-rate mortgages

See full profile

Best for product availability

Freedom Mortgage Corp. serves more than 1 million customers in all 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. The lender offers various mortgage products, including conventional, adjustable-rate, jumbo, refinance, Federal Housing Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Agriculture loans.

Highlights
Mortgage types offered: Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, Refinancing (conventional), Refinancing (FHA), Refinancing (VA), Refinancing (USDA)
• Minimum FICO score: 620 (conventional), No minimum (VA), 540 (FHA), No minimum (USDA)
• Max DTI: Not disclosed
• J.D. Power satisfaction rating: Two out of five

Best Features

  • Wide selection of mortgage loans.

  • Prequalification is available.

  • Borrowers with fair credit may qualify.

See full profile

Best for: Borrowers who want an online experience plus top-notch customer service

Quicken Loans is a nationwide mortgage lender with several mortgage options. Known for customer service, the lender has an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and received a rating of five (among the best) in the 2018 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study.

Highlights:

  • Mortgage types offered: ARM, FHA, VA, Refinancing (FHA), USDA, Conventional, Refinancing (conventional)
  • Minimum FICO credit score: 580 (FHA), other loans vary
  • Maximum debt-to-income ratio: 60%
  • J.D. Power satisfaction rating: Five out of five

Best Features

  • Complete loan process available online.

  • Wide variety of mortgage products.

  • Good customer service ratings.

See full profile

Best for short-term loans

U.S. Bank is a national bank based in Minneapolis that provides various banking products and services as well as a handful of mortgage options. The lender offers conventional loans, Federal Housing Administration loans, Department of Veterans Affairs loans, jumbo loans and more.

Highlights:

  • Mortgage types: conventional, refinancing, fixed-rate, ARM, Federal Housing Administration loans, Department of Veterans Affairs loans, jumbo
  • Minimum FICO credit score: undisclosed
  • Maximum loan amount: $3 million
  • Better Business Bureau rating: A

Best Features

  • Provides mortgage loans nationwide.

  • Allows you to apply online without first speaking with a loan officer.

  • Assists U.S. Bank customers with closing costs.

See full profile

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