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9 Best Chicago Mortgage Lenders of 2020

NerdWalletJanuary 2, 2020

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If you’re looking for a mortgage lender in Chicago, we’ve done the legwork. Here are some of the best in five categories, including first-time home buyers and jumbo mortgages.

Mortgage shopping means making head-spinning choices, which is why NerdWallet reviews, rates and compares lenders to help with your decisions. Whether you’ve got your eye on a frame two-flat in Lincoln Square, a Bridgeport brick condo or a Hyde Park bungalow, these lenders are a solid place to start your search.

Here, we’ve included national and local lenders that lead the pack in Chicago, including some of the best for traditional lending, government loans, home equity borrowing, jumbo mortgages and first-time home buyers.

Summary of Best Chicago Mortgage Lenders of 2020

LenderNerdWallet Rating National / RegionalMinimum Down PaymentLearn More

Citibank

Best for traditional lenders & first-time home buyers

National

3%

Read review

Best for traditional lenders

N/A

3%

Read review

Guaranteed Rate

Best for government loans

National

3%

Read review

loanDepot

at loanDepot

Best for government loans

National

3.5%

at loanDepot

Best for home equity

N/A

3%

Read review

Flagstar

Best for home equity

National

3%

Read review

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

Best for jumbo loans

N/A

3%

at Quicken Loans

Fairway Independent Mortgage

at Fairway

Best for jumbo loans

National

3%

at Fairway

Bank of America

Best for first-time home buyers

National

3%

Read review

Citibank: NMLS#412915

Logo

National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers or those with weaker credit. Citibank, a large-scale mortgage lender with a full menu of home loan products, offers low down payment options and considers alternative credit data.

Pros

  • Low down payment options.

  • Discounts for Citibank customers.

  • Looks at alternative credit data like rent history and child support payments.

  • Available in all 50 states.

Cons

  • Charges a mortgage application fee.

  • Did not disclose origination fees, which may vary.

  • Can't complete loan online.

Read Full Review

US Bank: NMLS#402761

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Pros

  • Full line of conventional and government loan products.

  • Considers alternative credit data, like utility bills, in some cases.

  • Offers construction and investment-property loans in some areas.

Cons

  • No personalized rates available online.

  • Not all loan products offered are listed on its website.

Read Full Review

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who are looking to apply for a mortgage and manage the process through online tools, whether buying or refinancing. Guaranteed Rate offers FHA, VA and USDA loans for borrowers who are well-qualified.

Pros

  • Works with most borrowers as long as they have good credit scores and incomes.

  • Provides a user-friendly digital platform that’s thorough in covering all types of borrowing scenarios.

  • Has a 95% customer satisfaction rate, according to company data.

Cons

  • Charges some fees, such as a $1,290 lender fee that includes a $150 application fee.

  • Offers many products, which might confuse or overwhelm borrowers.

  • Several click-throughs required for personalized rates.

Read Full Review
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at loanDepot

loanDepot: NMLS#174457

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3.5%

at loanDepot


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers looking to get a mortgage with help from a loan officer. Digital back-office operations are said to add efficiency to the loan process.

Pros

  • Offers digital income, asset and employment verification.

  • Has over 150 affiliated loan stores nationwide for customers who prefer face-to-face service.

  • One of the nation’s most active lenders of FHA and VA loans.

Cons

  • Published mortgage rates include up to three points of prepaid interest and fees.

  • Does not offer home equity loans or lines of credit.

Read Full Review

PNC: NMLS#446303

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Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers with low to moderate incomes or limited down payments. PNC offers a low-down-payment loan with no mortgage insurance.

Pros

  • Considers nontraditional credit history like rent payments.

  • Online tools help you estimate mortgage payments and track application progress.

  • Several affordable loan options including FHA, VA, USDA and the PNC Community Loan.

Cons

  • It's not possible to complete the entire mortgage process online.

  • Offers mortgage loans nationwide, but has branches in only about two dozen states.

Read Full Review

Flagstar: NMLS#417490

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for those who appreciate the full-service experience of a leading regional bank. Flagstar offers a full menu of fixed and adjustable home loans and mortgage refinancing, as well as jumbo loans and home equity financing.

Pros

  • Embraces FHA-backed home loans.

  • Offers several types of construction and renovation mortgages.

  • A professional loan package is tailored for the needs of doctors, lawyers, nurse practitioners, airline pilots and certified public accountants.

  • Flagstar reps are familiar with low-down-payment state bond programs for first-time home buyers and income-limited households, as well as the areas that qualify for USDA loans.

  • Offers home equity loans and home equity lines of credit.

Cons

  • Charges an average $1,295 in underwriting and processing fees.

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
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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

Bank of America: NMLS#399802

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who prefer a traditional bank. Bank of America offers a wide array of mortgages and online account management tools. It also has first-time home buyer loans with low down payments and no mandatory mortgage insurance.

Pros

  • Allows borrowers to apply entirely online.

  • Offers down payment and closing cost assistance programs.

  • May give existing customers a discount on mortgage lender origination fees.

Cons

  • Does not offer renovation loans.

Read Full Review

Local mortgage lenders in Chicago

These local and regional lenders offer a widely varied selection of products and familiarity with the Chi-Town market. These lenders have not been reviewed by NerdWallet.

  • Offers jumbo loans for primary homes and financing for investment properties and second homes.

  • Offers FHA, VA, USDA, conventional and jumbo purchase and refinance loans.

  • Funds reverse mortgages, renovation loans, second homes and investment properties.

  • Headquartered in Chicago with branches in Chicago and surrounding communities, and licensed in 33 states.

  • Works with non-U.S. citizens and borrowers needing flexibility to qualify.

  • Your stocks, bonds and retirement accounts may help you qualify for a mortgage.

  • Full menu of USDA, VA, FHA, conventional and jumbo purchase, refinance and renovation loans.

  • Lender-paid mortgage insurance programs with no upfront fee.

  • Lends on hard-to-finance non-warrantable condominiums and helps condo developments meet FHA and conventional guidelines.

  • Corporate offices in Downers Grove, Illinois, and licensed to sell mortgages in 46 states.

  • Option for first-time home buyers and buyers interested in mortgages for high-value properties, second homes and real-estate investments.

  • Jumbo loans up to $6 million.

  • Offers FHA, VA, USDA, conventional, HELOCs and reverse mortgages.

  • Down payment assistance of up to $2,000 for qualified first-time home buyers.

  • Offers fixed and ARM FHA, VA and conventional purchase and refinance loans.

  • Construction loans and bridge loans available.

  • Other products include home equity lines of credit.

  • Over 270 locations in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

  • Offers quick turnaround on loans and touts a personalized approach.

  • Loan options include FHA, VA, conventional, USDA and reverse purchase and refinance loans.

  • Fixed-rate term options of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years.

  • Jumbos up to $1.5 million with 15-, 20- and 30-year fixed-rate terms; jumbo ARMs fixed for 5, 7 or 10 years.

  • Online videos educate borrowers about the home loan process.

  • Has 10 branches in the Chicago area and offers mortgages in 34 states.

More from NerdWallet

Last updated on January 2, 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 Chicago Mortgage Lenders of 2020