10 Best VA Mortgage Lenders of July 2020 - NerdWallet
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10 Best VA Mortgage Lenders of July 2020

NerdWalletMarch 20, 2020

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VA loans for current and veteran military members don't require a down payment or mortgage insurance. Compare our picks for best VA mortgage lenders of 2020.

NOTE: Due to the coronavirus outbreak, obtaining a mortgage may be a bit of a challenge. Lenders are dealing with demand and staffing issues. If you can’t pay your current home loan, refer to our mortgage assistance resource. For the latest information on how to cope with financial stress during this emergency, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

For active military and veterans looking for a VA loan, finding the right lender is important. It can also be a challenge.

You want to work with a lender that knows the Department of Veterans Affairs mortgage program inside and out so you can benefit from its many perks. You also want one that can get you a mortgage as quickly and efficiently as possible.

NerdWallet picked some of the best mortgage lenders offering VA loans in a variety of categories so you can quickly decide which is right for you.

Summary of Best VA Mortgage Lenders of July 2020

LenderNerdWallet Rating Minimum Credit Score Minimum Down PaymentNational / RegionalLearn More

New American Funding: NMLS#6606

at New American

Best for borrowers with weaker credit

700

3%

National

at New American

BNC National Bank: NMLS#418467

at BNC National Bank

Best for traditional lending experience

640

3%

N/A

at BNC National Bank

Fairway Independent Mortgage: NMLS#2289

at Fairway

Best for customer service

620

3%

National

at Fairway

Veterans United: NMLS#1907

at Veterans United

Best for VA mortgage experience overall

660

0%

National

at Veterans United

NBKC: NMLS#409631

at NBKC Bank

Best for traditional lending experience

620

3%

N/A

at NBKC Bank

Quicken Loans: NMLS#3030

at Quicken Loans

Best for online VA mortgage experience

620

3%

N/A

at Quicken Loans

Veterans First Mortgage: NMLS#3122

Best for customer service

600

0%

N/A

Read review

Caliber: NMLS#15622

Best for online VA mortgage experience

620

3%

National

Read review

Navy Federal: NMLS#399807

Best for VA mortgage experience overall

N/A

0%

National

Read review

Alterra: NMLS#133739

Best for borrowers with weaker credit

620

3%

N/A

Read review
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at New American

New American Funding: NMLS#6606

Logo

Min. Credit Score

700

Min. Down Payment

3%

National / Regional

National

at New American


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who need to be evaluated on the basis of nontraditional credit. New American Funding offers FHA and VA loans, works with down payment assistance programs, and helps borrowers whose credit histories don't fit the mold of traditional banking.

Pros

  • Uses manual underwriting to evaluate creditworthiness.

  • Offers full online mortgage application, rate quotes, document upload and loan tracking.

  • Home equity lending sets it apart from most non-bank lenders.

Cons

  • Services not available in all 50 states.

Read Full Review
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at BNC National Bank

BNC National Bank: NMLS#418467

Logo

Min. Credit Score

640

Min. Down Payment

3%

at BNC National Bank


Why we like it

Ideal for military members and others who want low-down-payment loan options.

Pros

  • Loan officers are well-versed in VA loan process.

  • Low minimum credit score for government loans.

  • Down payments as low as 3% on conventional loans.

  • Considers alternative credit data, like cell phone payments.

Cons

  • No online preapproval.

  • Typically charges a $1,095 lender fee.

  • Limited number of physical mortgage offices.

Read Full Review
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at Fairway

Fairway Independent Mortgage: NMLS#2289

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Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at Fairway


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who want lots of options and a quick turn time. Fairway Independent Mortgage offers a full selection of home loans along with a comprehensive mobile app for a fast and easy application process.

Pros

  • A robust suite of loan products.

  • Licensed in all 50 states.

  • Close in as little as 10 days using the Fairway app.

Cons

  • Limited branch locations.

  • Mortgage rates not posted on website.

Read Full Review
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at Veterans United

Veterans United: NMLS#1907

Logo

Min. Credit Score

660

Min. Down Payment

0%

at Veterans United


Why we like it

Ideal for veterans and active-duty service members. Veterans United is the nation's largest VA home purchase lender but also offers an excellent selection of other government and conventional loans.

Pros

  • Also offers FHA, USDA and conventional loans.

  • Offers 24/7 customer service.

  • You can complete a loan application and pre-qualify online.

  • Registers a low volume of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

  • Offers free credit score education and assistance.

  • Provides a client advocate team staffed by former senior enlisted leaders from each branch of the armed forces.

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • Loans are available in all 50 states, but Veterans United has offices in only about half.

Read Full Review
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at NBKC Bank

NBKC: NMLS#409631

Great for first-time home buyers | digital convenience | customer service

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Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at NBKC Bank


Why we like it

Good for borrowers with solid credit who want to pay low fees and get an online experience with phone support. VA loans are an emphasis.

Pros

  • Offers low rates and fees when compared with other lenders.

  • Extends full online capabilities, from application to loan tracking.

  • Displays customized rates, with fee estimates, without requiring contact information.

Cons

  • Equity lines and construction loans are available only in the Kansas City metro area.

  • Doesn’t offer renovation loans.

Read Full Review
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at Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans: NMLS#3030

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at Quicken Loans


Why we like it

Ideal choice for convenience and quick-response customer service. Quicken Loans provides just about all the services your neighborhood lender does — with online convenience.

Pros

  • Quicken Loans couples a fully online application with available mortgage advisors for those who want a human touch.

  • Instantly verifies employment and income for more than 60% of working Americans.

  • Offers custom fixed-rate loan terms that are between eight and 30 years.

  • Provides FHA-backed loans, USDA loans as well as products offered by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae that require down payments as low as 3%.

Cons

  • Quicken Loans doesn't offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • If you’re a “look me in the eye” type of customer, you’re out of luck.

  • Doesn’t consider alternative credit data. It just looks at credit scores and debt-to-income ratios, the way most mortgage lenders always have.

Read Full Review

Veterans First Mortgage: NMLS#3122

Logo

Min. Credit Score

600

Min. Down Payment

0%


Why we like it

Ideal for veterans and active military members interested in a VA or FHA home loan.

Pros

  • Specializes in VA loans and working with military borrowers.

  • Offers several low-down-payment government loan options so borrowers can choose the best fit.

  • Website helps borrowers estimate their VA loan fees.

Cons

  • You can’t get an instant rate quote online.

  • Doesn’t offer conventional home loans.

  • Has only five loan centers in a handful of Western states.

Read Full Review

Caliber: NMLS#15622

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers, veterans and those who may have credit challenges to overcome.

Pros

  • Offers extensive educational resources for military borrowers.

  • Provides digital tools for a streamlined application process.

  • Participates in some state down payment assistance and first-time homebuyer programs.

Cons

  • No mortgage rates displayed online.

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or lines of credit.

Read Full Review

Navy Federal: NMLS#399807

Logo

National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

0%


Why we like it

Ideal for military members and their families. Navy Federal Credit Union offers a wide range of mortgage products, an online application and considers alternative credit data for certain loan types.

Pros

  • Wide range of affordable mortgage products designed for military members.

  • Willing to look at nontraditional credit data, such as rent payments, as part of its credit evaluation for certain products.

  • Online application for preapproval with quick decision.

Cons

  • Website does not provide customized mortgage rates based on credit score or other factors before you apply.

Read Full Review

Alterra: NMLS#133739

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for Latino and other minority borrowers, millennials, foreign nationals, as well as those seeking a full array of purchase and refinance loans, including jumbo mortgages.

Pros

  • Offers an ITIN qualification path for undocumented immigrant borrowers.

  • Has a digital application process.

  • Offers several mortgage options for low- to moderate-income borrowers.

  • Has a full Spanish-language version of its website and bilingual loan officers.

  • Borrowers can qualify with income from self-employment and other nontraditional sources.

Cons

  • No mortgage rates published online.

  • Doesn't lend in all states.

  • No home equity loans or lines of credit.

Read Full Review

VA mortgage FAQs

Who is eligible for a VA loan?

Active-duty military members and veterans who meet length-of-service requirements may apply for a VA loan. Some surviving spouses may also be eligible.

Who is the best lender for VA loans?

All VA loans are subject to rules and guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, but no two VA lenders are exactly alike. VA lenders have unique business goals. They vary by the services and options they offer as well as the requirements they set for borrowers, such as minimum credit scores. The best VA lender for you will depend on your circumstances and needs. This is why it's important to shop around to compare mortgage rates and qualification requirements.

What is the current interest rate for VA loans?

VA mortgage rates may fluctuate on a daily basis, just as rates for other loans do. Rates also vary by lender, and the rate you're offered will depend on a variety of factors, such as your credit score. When shopping lenders, compare the annual percentage rate, or APR, to get a complete picture of the true costs. The APR includes the interest rate, fees and other costs of the loan.

What credit score do you need to qualify for a VA loan?

The Department of Veterans Affairs, which guarantees VA loans, doesn't set a minimum credit score. But lenders can have their own requirements, which typically range from 580 to 620. VA lenders will also look at other factors, such as your debt-to-income ratio, to evaluate your ability to repay the loan.

Can I be denied a VA home loan?

You may be denied a VA home loan if you don't meet the basic VA loan eligibility requirements or don't meet a lender's financial requirements. An FHA loan, insured by the Federal Housing Administration, might be an alternative if you have a lower credit score.

More from NerdWallet

Last updated on March 20, 2020

Methodology

NerdWallet's selection of mortgage lenders for inclusion here was made based on our evaluation of the products and services that lenders offer to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The six key areas we evaluated include the loan types and loan products offered, online capabilities, online mortgage rate information, customer service and the number of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a percentage of loans issued. We also awarded lenders up to one bonus star for a unique program or borrower focus that set them apart from other lenders. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best VA Mortgage Lenders of July 2020