August 02, 2021
The Ascent's 2020 mortgage lender awards winners pack in essential perks, including competitive interest rates, low origination fees, diverse loan products and terms, great customer service, and timely loan approvals.
Rocket Mortgage has been the top-rated mortgage originator for customer satisfaction for a decade, according to many online surveys and our research. It's not hard to see why. Rocket Mortgage was one of the first tech-focused online mortgage lenders, and has done an excellent job streamlining the process and solving some major consumer pain points. To name just a few of the reasons Rocket ended up at the top of our list, the company allows high DTI (debt-to-income ratio) loans, customizable loan terms from 8-30 years, and a 90-day rate lock feature.
Simply put, Bank of America checks all the boxes for first-time homebuyers. It offers a variety of loan types commonly used by first timers (FHA and USDA loans, for example), but takes it a step further by offering proprietary low down payment loan programs as well as cash grants to assist buyers with their purchases. And to help remove an obstacle to homeownership, Bank of America considers alternative credit data like rent and utility payments in some cases.
Better.com scored high marks for letting borrowers check their rates in seconds, with no effect on their credit scores. Better.com also charges no origination fees, offers access to a dedicated loan officer, and boasts an easy-to-follow, 100% online application process. Better.com aims to close loans in as little as 21 days, making it an excellent choice for refinancers who want to lower their monthly payments fast. Perhaps most importantly, our research finds that Better.com consistently offers the best rates.
FHA loans are most often used by first-time homebuyers, and Rocket Mortgage's long history of customer satisfaction awards makes it an excellent choice. The mortgage process is entirely online, and Rocket's platform makes it easy to do things like linking your other financial accounts directly to your application, thereby taking some of the most common headaches out of the process.
This shouldn't be a surprising choice, as Veterans United is the largest VA home loan originator. While VA loans have many of the same perks no matter what lender you use, Veterans United offers excellent borrower education resources, and even employs advisors from every branch of the military. Borrowers can complete the quote and approval process online through Veterans United's user-friendly platform.
Most lenders offer mortgages with the same general credit score requirements. However, New American Funding is more flexible than many other lenders when it comes to people who are building credit, including offering features like high debt-to-income ratio loans and non-qualified mortgages (especially for self-employed borrowers). Plus, New American offers excellent first-time homebuyer resources, and helps match borrowers of all credit profiles to things like down payment assistance and grant programs.
Rocket Mortgage has held JD Power's No. 1 ranking for customer satisfaction in mortgage origination for a decade, and recently received the top spot for mortgage servicing as well. Rocket Mortgage aims to eliminate consumer pain points, streamline the mortgage process, and offer the most user-friendly online platform. And we'd say they have succeeded in doing all of this.
Better.com offers a 100% online application process, and the only time borrowers need to do anything in person is at final closing. Unlike many online lenders, Better.com gives each borrower a dedicated loan officer who can answer any questions and guide you through the process. And Better.com aims to close loans quicker than its competitors -- in 21 days or less in many cases.
*A complete list of 2020 award winners, from banking to brokerage, can be found here.
**You can also find more mortgage lenders to compare by checking out The Ascent's best mortgage lenders page.
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