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9 Best Conventional Mortgage Lenders of 2019

NerdWalletSeptember 6, 2019

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See NerdWallet's top picks for the best conventional mortgage lenders, many of which offer 97% mortgage financing.

Summary of Best Conventional Mortgage Lenders of 2019

LenderBest For

Minimum Credit Score

Minimum Down PaymentLearn More
Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

first-time home buyers

620

3%

at Quicken Loans

New American Funding

New American Funding

at New American

borrowers with weak credit

620

3%

at New American

Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage

at Rocket Mortgage

online experience

620

3%

at Rocket Mortgage

Vylla

Vylla

at Vylla

borrowers with weak credit

620

3%

at Vylla

Reali Loans

Reali Loans

at Reali Loans

refinancing

620

5%

at Reali Loans

NBKC

NBKC

at NBKC Bank

refinancing

620

3%

at NBKC Bank

Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate

online experience

620

3%

Read review
Citibank Mortgage

Citibank Mortgage

first-time home buyers + face-to-face service

N/A

3%

Read review
Bank of America

Bank of America

face-to-face service

620

3%

Read review
LenderBest For

Minimum Credit Score

Minimum Down PaymentLearn More
Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

first-time home buyers

620

3%

at Quicken Loans

New American Funding

New American Funding

at New American

borrowers with weak credit

620

3%

at New American

Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage

at Rocket Mortgage

online experience

620

3%

at Rocket Mortgage

Vylla

Vylla

at Vylla

borrowers with weak credit

620

3%

at Vylla

Reali Loans

Reali Loans

at Reali Loans

refinancing

620

5%

at Reali Loans

NBKC

NBKC

at NBKC Bank

refinancing

620

3%

at NBKC Bank

Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate

online experience

620

3%

Read review
Citibank Mortgage

Citibank Mortgage

first-time home buyers + face-to-face service

N/A

3%

Read review
Bank of America

Bank of America

face-to-face service

620

3%

Read review
Logo

at Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans

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.

Rating and Review

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

  • 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
Logo

at New American

New American Funding

Logo
Min. Credit Score 
620 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 

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.

Rating and Review

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
Logo

at Rocket Mortgage

Rocket Mortgage

Logo
Min. Credit Score 
620 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 

at Rocket Mortgage


Why we like it

Ideal for anyone who appreciates smartphone app service, support and time savings. Rocket Mortgage offers a fully digital home loan experience with a large variety of mortgage products.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • The site caters to self-service users who want to apply for a home loan without talking to a human unless it’s absolutely necessary.

  • With your authorization, accesses asset statements from 98% of U.S. financial institutions.

  • Tells you the loan amount you’ll qualify for within minutes.

  • Rocket Mortgage’s document and asset retrieval capabilities can save you a bunch of time and hassle.

Cons

  • 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
Logo

at Vylla

Min. Credit Score 
620 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 

at Vylla


Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers or credit-challenged borrowers who may have trouble qualifying for a mortgage.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Low minimum credit score.

  • Online application, loan tracking and document upload.

  • Free rate locks.

Cons

  • No online preapproval.

  • No presence in Massachusetts or North Dakota.

Read Full Review
Logo

at Reali Loans

Reali Loans

Logo
Min. Credit Score 
620 

National / Regional 
Regional 

at Reali Loans


Why we like it

Ideal for refinance customers in the states it serves. Reali Loans doesn’t charge upfront origination or broker fees on refinance loans, which close in around 36 days.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • No upfront origination or broker fees.

  • A shorter, more transparent refinance process.

  • Online platform lets you track your refinance every step of the way.

Cons

  • No FHA, VA or USDA refinance products.

  • Account required to see personalized refinance rates.

Read Full Review
Logo

at NBKC Bank

Min. Credit Score 
620 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 

at NBKC Bank


Why we like it

Ideal for those seeking an online experience with personal support. NBKC offers a wide range of loans, a mobile app and VA loan expertise.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Complete and track your application online, and sign documents electronically.

  • Free rate locks.

  • No lender fee for VA borrowers.

  • Mobile apps for iOS and Android.

Cons

  • Not the best choice for low-credit-score borrowers.

  • Mortgage origination fee for most borrowers.

  • In-person service available only in the Kansas City area.

Read Full Review

Guaranteed Rate

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.

Rating and Review

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

Citibank Mortgage

Logo
National / Regional 
National 

Min. Down Payment 
3% 


Why we like it

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

Rating and Review

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

Bank of America

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.

Rating and Review

Pros

  • Allows borrowers to apply entirely online.

  • Offers down payment and closing cost assistance programs.

  • Accepts alternative credit data for some loan types.

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

Cons

  • Charges an application fee of $1,170, on average.

  • Has a high volume of consumer complaints, even for a big national bank.

Read Full Review

Conventional mortgage FAQs

What is a conventional mortgage?

Conventional mortgages typically conform to loan limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and aren’t guaranteed or insured by the federal government.

» MORE: Understanding conventional mortgages

How much down payment is needed for a conventional mortgage?

Some lenders offer conventional mortgages with a down payment of as little as 3%. You’ll typically need to put down at least 20% to avoid private mortgage insurance, however.

» MORE: Use our down payment calculator to see if you’ve saved enough

Am I eligible for a conventional mortgage?

Qualifying for a conventional loan is generally harder than qualifying for FHA and other government home loans. In addition to down payment funds, you’ll need a solid income and credit history. Credit score requirements for conventional mortgages vary by lender, but 620 is typically the minimum. You’ll need a score of around 740 to get the best rates.

» MORE: Get your credit score for free

What’s the difference between conventional and FHA mortgages?

Unlike conventional mortgages, FHA loans are guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA mortgages have more relaxed income and credit score requirements than conventional mortgages, but they typically require a 3.5% down payment and mandatory mortgage insurance for the life of the loan.

» MORE: FHA vs. conventional home loans

What should I look for in a conventional mortgage lender?

The best conventional mortgage lenders offer the right combination of competitive rates, attractive loan terms and low closing costs. Finding a lender that excels at customer service and your preferred style of communication is also essential.

» MORE: 5 tips for finding the best mortgage lender

More from NerdWallet

Last updated on September 6, 2019

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 Conventional Mortgage Lenders of 2019