The Ascent’s 2022 Mortgage Lender Awards Winners
Mortgage lenders ratings methodology
To determine the Best Mortgage Lenders awards for 2022, The Ascent’s experts evaluated accounts with our ratings model, focusing on industry factors and user benefits, including:
- Competitive rates and fees
- Customer service
- Online experience
- Loan options
Top-rated offerings were selected that we think represent the top pick for most people. Our final awards winners were determined by vote to ensure objectivity, with a final Golden Rule check: would we recommend them to a family or friend? Special attention was also paid to:
- The application process
- Geographic availability
- Customer service channel options
- Down payment options
For 2022, we’ve introduced an exciting update, our Editors’ Choice awards. These awards are favorites from our experts, tailored to unique consumer needs, allowing us to explore a more diverse range of offerings and user experiences.
Best Mortgage Lender Overall
It’s hard to find a mortgage lender with a combination of the key factors we covet most: a great online application experience, competitive rates, and low fees. Better checks the boxes in these three areas, and more.
Best Mortgage Lender for Purchases
Better does the essentials right for home buyers. The online application experience simplifies an otherwise complicated process through other lenders. Plus, Better offers great rates on the most popular mortgage products most new homeowners are seeking.
Best Mortgage Lender for First-Time Home Buyers
Bank of America Mortgage
Bank of America shines by offering an array of great lending options for first-time home buyers. The bank’s Affordable Loan SolutionⓇ mortgage program is a standout offering for a low down payment with no private mortgage insurance. Additionally, Bank of America offers traditional loans with good rates and access to popular government-backed loan programs that make homeownership affordable.
Best Mortgage Lender for Refinancing
Better is a consistent winner for our 2022 mortgage lender awards, and that trend continues when it comes to refinancing. The lender's competitive rates and lack of origination fees helps homeowners cut their costs when refinancing.
Best Mortgage Lender for FHA Loans
CitiMortgage takes the podium position when it comes to FHA loans because of its ability to cater to less qualified borrowers. Citi can accommodate lower credit scores and thin credit files. Lower-income borrowers in certain areas can even get free money from the lender to help cover closing costs. Not to be left out, the rates and fees are competitive across mortgage products, and any customer, including someone with $1 in the bank, can get a discount on their mortgage.
Best Mortgage Lender for VA Loans
Veterans United gets this award for two reasons. First, the lender goes out of its way to provide great service, regardless of loan type. Second, Veterans United is one of the biggest lenders that specializes in VA loans. This ensures home buyers have a seamless process working with a lender who knows VA loans through and through.
Editors' Choice: Best Mortgage Lender for Customer Service
Rocket Mortgage has consistently secured top marks from J.D. Power for customer satisfaction. The lender also consistently receives great reviews through the BBB, as evidenced by its A+ rating. The main reason for such high levels of satisfaction is that Rocket Mortgage has a great application experience that simplifies the purchase or refinance process.
Best Lender for Online Mortgages
Better simply stands apart from the rest due to the top-notch online experience it provides, coupled with its low fees and fast responses.
Best Mortgage Lender for People Building Credit
New American Funding
New American Funding goes the extra mile to cater to borrowers who don't fit the plain vanilla mold. That includes people who don't have strong credit profiles. Yes, other banks also offer FHA loans and other programs that are more forgiving in their underwriting requirements. But New American Funding has a bigger menu of off-the-path loans than most other lenders. The lender also allows manual underwriting, which can make it easier for borrowers with imperfect credit to get approved for a loan.
Best Mortgage Lender for USDA Loans
Fairway Independent Mortgage
Fairway is the largest USDA lender by volume. This doesn’t automatically mean they secure an award for this loan program, though. What explains their podium position is that the lender charges lower upfront fees on USDA loans than many competitors, and it has an extensive brand network with great customer service.
Best Mortgage Lender for HELOCs
Finding a great HELOC lender mainly comes down to flexibility and competitive rates. PenFed delivers in both of these areas with loans available up to $1 million, the ability to change from a fixed rate to a variable rate, and consistently low rates in general.
Editors' Choice: Best Mortgage Lender App
Guaranteed Rate Mortgage
The mortgage lender app competition is packed with strong incumbents and modern options that promise a simple mortgage application process. But Guaranteed Rate’s mobile app shined in our testing, due to its simple user interface, real-time mortgage rates, and access to dedicated loan officers when the need arises.
Best Home-Buying App
Redfin should be one of the go-to apps for any new home buyer. The app is dead simple to use, provides great virtual tours, and at times lists properties on the platform faster than some competitors. What’s more, Redfin offers an array of services, from finding a real estate agent to selling your home directly to Redfin with a fast turnaround.
Editors' Choice: App for First-Time Homebuyers
We think most first-time home buyers should work directly with a local Realtor who knows their market through and through. Realtor.com’s app is the best option when searching for a local Realtor, and this is the main reason why Realtor.com’s app secured this award. What’s more, Realtor.com’s app is easy to use to find a home, compare rates, and get educated on local housing markets.
Best App to Find a Real Estate Agent
Zillow is the go-to app for all-around real estate agent needs. Simply put, it has an abundance of real estate agent user ratings that's hard to match with other home-buying and real estate apps. Leveraging real-life user ratings is one of the easiest ways to secure peace of mind knowing you’re selecting the right real estate agent.
*A complete list of 2022 award winners, from credit cards to car insurance companies, can be found here.
**You can also find more mortgage lenders to compare by checking out The Ascent's best mortgage lenders page.
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
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