The 8 Best VA Loan Lenders of 2020

The 8 Best VA Loan Lenders of 2020

The best VA loan lenders for 2020

The problem with creating a list of the best VA lenders is that there are just so many excellent ones.

Still, that’s a plus for you. Because this list comprises the best of the best.

The top VA lenders offer exceptional service, reliably low rates, and perks for military home buyers. Find out which one is right for you.

Check your VA loan rates today (Aug 31st, 2020)

Company Minimum Credit Score Average Customer Satisfaction Score1 Average 30-Year VA Loan Rate, 20192
Navy Federal Credit Union 580 4.7/5 3.56%
Stearns Lending 580 5/5 3.92%
Movement Mortgage 580 5/5 3.98%
Quicken Loans 620 4.5/5 3.68%
Veterans United 660 4.9/5 4.0%
New American Funding 580 4.9/5 3.98%
Guild Mortgage Co. 580 4.5/5 3.97%
The Federal Savings Bank Unpublished 4.5/5 3.86%

Check your VA loan rates today (Aug 31st, 2020)

Editor’s note: The Mortgage Reports may be compensated by some of these lenders if you choose to work with them. However, that does not affect our reviews. See our full editorial disclosures here.

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Important note on today’s VA loan rates

This review cites the average 30-year VA rate each lender delivered to its customers in 2019, according to the public record.

Of course, mortgage rates have fallen significantly since then. Our figures do not represent rates you may be offered today.

However, these averages should give you an idea of how competitive each lender is.

Note, every VA lender on this list offered below-average rates among the 25 lenders considered for our review.

Compare today’s VA rates from top lenders (Aug 31st, 2020)

Best VA loan lender reviews

Remember, the “best” VA lender is different for everyone.

To find yours, pick 3-4 companies that stand out to you, then request rates to see which one can offer the best deal for your situation.

1. Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal tops our list mainly because it offered the lowest VA rates in our survey during 2019.

Its average VA mortgage rate that year was 3.56%, which was a little lower than some on this list and substantially lower than a few.

  • Average 30-year VA loan rate in 2019: 3.56%
  • Minimum credit score: 580
  • Average customer service score: 4.7 / 5

True, Navy Federal isn’t the highest scorer for customer satisfaction. But it does well, even judged by that criterion.

Navy Federal came third in the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study. Only USAA and Veterans United beat it.

The company did have more complaints filed against it with the CFPB than others on this list. But “more” in this case was still less than one complaint per 100 VA mortgage customers.

In our estimation, Navy Federal deserves to be on just about anyone’s VA loan shortlist.

2. Stearns Lending, LLC

Stearns took the no. 2 slot because it has the best customer service. Alongside Movement Mortgage, it scored a perfect 5.0 score from customers on online review websites.

And, very few of Stearns’ customers have complained about it to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (which collects mortgage complaints).

  • Average 30-year VA loan rate in 2019: 3.92%
  • Minimum credit score: 580
  • Average customer service score: 5 / 5

Stearns Lending also doesn’t do badly for VA loan rates: it was fourth-lowest out of 10 ranked companies.

Some lenders had lower rates. But of those lenders, many had a minimum FICO score of 620. Requiring higher credit scores likely kept their average rates lower. But Stearns will look at applications with scores as low as 580, a huge benefit to those with lower credit.

3. Movement Mortgage, LLC

Movement Mortgage may be speedier at getting your VA loan ready than any others on our list of the best VA lenders.

Movement aims to have applications approved in six hours, processed in seven days, and ready for a one-day closing at least two weeks before the date.

And its technology gives you the option of an all-online experience, which is especially handy in today’s stay-at-home environment.

  • Average 30-year VA loan rate in 2019: 3.98%
  • Minimum credit score: 580
  • Average customer service score: 5 / 5

Meanwhile, Movement Mortgage’s service is exceptional, with customers giving it an average of five stars on the review forums we checked.

Indeed, it had even fewer complaints to the CFPB than Stearns. But its average VA loan rates were slightly higher in 2019 than some others.

4. Quicken Loans Inc.

Quicken Loans is the first (but not the only) lender on our list to require a 620 credit score before it will look at your application.

That said, it can be more helpful than others if your existing debt burden is high. Quicken says it’s OK with debt-to-income ratios as high at 60% for some VA loans. For reference, DTI is typically capped around 45%.

  • Average 30-year VA loan rate in 2019: 3.68%
  • Minimum credit score: 620
  • Average customer service score: 4.5 / 5

Customers tend to love Quicken for its convenience. The company, like Movement, can process loans completely online in many cases.

Quicken has also earned the top score — at least, for non-VA-specific lenders — in J.D. Power’s satisfaction survey 10 years running.

When all lenders are considered, VA specialists like Navy Federal and Veterans United typically beat Quicken for customer service.

That said, if you want an all-online experience (with telephone support available), this lender may be for you.

5. Veterans United Home Loans

Veterans United is the biggest VA lender in the U.S. — despite having a higher credit threshold and (according to our survey) somewhat higher rates than others.

This can only mean the company is doing something right for borrowers. And indeed, it earns a near-perfect 4.9 out of 5 for customer service.

  • Average 30-year VA loan rate in 2019: 4.00%
  • Minimum credit score: 660
  • Average customer service score: 4.9 / 5

Likely, many borrowers don’t mind Veterans United’s higher credit threshold thanks to its Lighthouse program.

If your FICO score is too low to qualify for a VA loan, VU’s Lighthouse program provides free, one-on-one counseling to help you reach the threshold. (Note: This service is only open to veterans, service members and military families.)

And as far as rates go, remember that those vary by customer. Though Veterans United looks just a bit higher on average, it could very well still have the best deal for you.

6. New American Funding

New American Funding customers love it, even though it had a marginally higher VA loan rate than some others on our list.

Some of that may be down to its accessibility: that 580 minimum credit score will be attractive to many.

  • Average 30-year VA loan rate in 2019: 3.98%
  • Minimum credit score: 580
  • Average customer service score: 4.9 / 5

NAF also says that it has deployed advanced technologies to simplify and speed up the loan process. And it talks about its focus on Latinx customers, which may generate additional loyalty within that community.

7. Guild Mortgage Company

The volume of VA loans Guild originated in 2019 is among the highest for a non-VA specialist. And you might infer that means it’s doing a great job.

  • Average 30-year VA loan rate in 2019: 3.97%
  • Minimum credit score: 580
  • Average customer service score: 4.5 / 5

Guild’s website suggests a solid, middle-of-the-road company rather than a standout innovator. And its customers clearly like that.

True, Guild didn’t score especially highly on online reviews. But it came third in the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, which is a serious achievement.

8. The Federal Savings Bank

This veteran-owned lender originated plenty of VA loans in 2019 — even more than Guild did. And, like Guild, it offers a range of other types of mortgages, so it’s not a VA specialist.

  • Average 30-year VA loan rate in 2019: 3.86%
  • Minimum credit score: Unpublished
  • Average customer service score: 4.5 / 5

The Federal Savings Bank’s website says, ” … we start with a discussion to truly understand the dreams, hopes, aspirations and needs of our customers.”

It also suggests it will offer help to borrowers who need to improve their credit score before applying for a VA loan.

So you may receive a more personal service from the Federal Savings Bank than with some of the others featured above.

How to choose a VA lender 

Here are some tips for choosing your ideal VA lender:

  1. Pick lenders that work with borrowers like you — If you have a low credit score or a troubled financial history, look out for ones with low score thresholds
  2. Get multiple quotes — Don’t just choose one lender you like the look of. Request quotes from a number of lenders; the more the merrier. Shopping around in this way can easily save you thousands
  3. Compare your quotes carefully — Mortgage quotes now come as standardized Loan Estimates. So it’s easy to identify the one that suits you best. We have a how-to guide to help you find the most important information
  4. Prepare your paperwork— Get your documents together (here’s a checklist) and make sure you know your most important financial figures, including your current credit score and your debt-to-income ratio. Your quotes are only as good as the information you provide

Also, ask plenty of questions. Lenders often don’t list all their products online, so there could be hidden perks you’re not aware of from doing online research.

Ask each lender:

  • What are your rules about VA cash-out refinancing?
  • Do you offer 100% VA cash-out refinancing?
  • Do you offer the VA IRRRL (VA Streamline Refinance)?
  • Is IRRRL refinancing available without a new credit check or home appraisal?
  • Are any of the loan origination fees negotiable?

If all this sounds too time-consuming, remember the sums that are at stake.

You might save thousands of dollars by investing a few hours. When will you ever again earn an hourly rate like that?

VA mortgage lender FAQ

Do VA loan rates vary by lender?

You bet! As you can see above, rates can vary considerably even among the best VA lenders. That’s why it’s so important to compare estimates from at least 3-4 companies before choosing one.

Do most VA loans get approved?

Probably; it’s easier to get approved for a VA loan than pretty much any other type of mortgage. However, lenders can impose their own standards. So if you’re on the borderline of qualifying, you may have to shop around for a VA lender that can help you.

Can I get a VA loan with a 500 credit score?

In theory, yes. The VA says, “Unlike many loan programs, a lower credit score, bankruptcy or foreclosure does not disqualify you from a VA home loan.” But you may have to really hunt to find a lender offering VA loans with a 500-579 score. Most mainstream lenders only go as low as 580.

What is a good VA loan rate? 

VA loan rates are typically the lowest on the market; below FHA, USDA, or conventional loans in almost every case. So if you qualify for a VA loan, you have a head start on getting a low mortgage rate.

That said, rates vary a lot even between the best VA lenders. In our sample, the averages ranged from 3.56% to 4.00% in 2019.

And those are just averages. Many borrowers with great credit and sound finances will pay considerably less. And others, with more troubled financial histories, will receive higher rates.

So it really has as much to do with you as the lender. And the only way to find your own, personal, good VA loan rate is to shop around multiple lenders and compare your quotes.

How do I get my VA funding fee waived?

Read this page on the VA’s website. It details all those who don’t have to pay the funding fee. You may also be able to persuade your seller to pay it for you. But that’s a matter of individual negotiation and only works occasionally.

Where can I find a VA construction loan lender?

Lenders willing to fund VA construction loans used to be rare. And some still refuse to offer those. But it’s easier to find one now than ever. If you can’t, consider financing the construction using a different sort of loan, and then refinancing to a VA mortgage for a lower rate.

Where can I find a VA loan for a manufactured home?

Again, not all lenders will help with these. But they’re out there. You may want to call up a few lenders — or a broker — and ask about manufactured home loans. Odds are, this information will be harder to find online than info about standard VA loans.

Recap: The 8 best VA loan lenders

So let’s review our eight picks again. Remember, the ones at the top are the ones we think will appeal to most readers. But that’s not necessarily you. And you should pick the ones that offer what you want.

As importantly, don’t forget to get quotes from multiple lenders. Getting just one or two really does put thousands of dollars of your money at risk.

  • Navy Federal Credit Union — Lowest VA loan rates in our survey
  • Stearns Lending — Excellent customer service
  • Movement Mortgage — Excellent customer service
  • Quicken Loans — Simple online application process
  • Veterans United — Free help for credit-challenged borrowers
  • New American Funding — Allows lower credit scores
  • Guild Mortgage Company — Excellent customer service
  • The Federal Savings Bank — Veteran-owned, personalized service

Happy hunting for your own very best VA loan!

Verify your new rate (Aug 31st, 2020)

1Average customer satisfaction scores include J.D. Power survey ratings and customer reviews from Zillow and Lending Tree, where available for each lender.

2Average mortgage rates are sourced from public data that lenders are required to file under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA). Rates reflect the average for 30-year, fixed-rate VA financing in 2019. Your own mortgage rate will vary.

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