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Best FHA Streamline Refinance Lenders of 2019

NerdWalletJuly 2, 2019

At NerdWallet, we strive to help you make financial decisions with confidence. To do this, many or all of the products featured here are from our partners. However, this doesn’t influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own.

NerdWallet has considered some of the largest FHA streamline refinance lenders in the nation to provide you a shortlist of the best in several categories.

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

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
loanDepot

at loanDepot

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3.5%

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
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

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.
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Veterans United

at Veterans United

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

0%

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
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

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
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • A wide variety of loan types.
  • Low credit score requirements for government-backed loans.
  • A wealth of educational material on its website.
  • Licensed in all 50 states.

Cons

  • Mortgage application can't be tracked online.
  • Charges origination fees on some loans.
  • Limited branch locations.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

600

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Wide variety of terms, including 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- and 30-year fixed-rate mortgages and ARMs with 3/1, 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 terms.
  • Offers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac programs for low- to moderate-income home buyers.
  • VA lending is one-third of J.G. Wentworth’s business. A number of loan officers and other employees are former service members.
  • Focus on automation includes an entirely online loan application process, digital document uploads, loan tracking and signatures as well as pre-qualification letters by email.
  • Licensed in all states except for Hawaii, Missouri, Montana, Nevada and New York.

Cons

  • Does not offer home equity loans or lines of credit.
  • Physical locations in 14 states only.
  • Not licensed in Hawaii, Missouri, Montana, Nevada or New York.
Read full review
Vylla

at Vylla

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

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
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

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
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Considers alternative credit history on certain loans.
  • Offers construction loans to build a home or make significant renovations to an existing home.
  • Flexible borrowing and payment options for home equity loans and lines of credit.
  • Full suite of online capabilities.

Cons

  • Available mostly in the Southeast; not available nationwide.
  • Creating an account is mandatory if you want to apply online.
Read full review

Summary of Best FHA Streamline Refinance Lenders of 2019

LenderBest For

Minimum Credit Score

Minimum Down PaymentLearn More
Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

online experience

620

3%

at Quicken Loans

loanDepot

loanDepot

at loanDepot

online experience

620

3.5%

at loanDepot

Alterra

Alterra

unique services

620

3%

Read review
Veterans United

Veterans United

at Veterans United

unique services

620

0%

at Veterans United

Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate

a nonbank lender

620

3%

Read review
HomeBridge

HomeBridge

a nonbank lender

620

3%

Read review
J.G. Wentworth

J.G. Wentworth

low credit score borrowers

600

3%

Read review
Vylla

Vylla

at Vylla

low credit score borrowers

620

3%

at Vylla

Bank of America

Bank of America

a traditional bank

620

3%

Read review
BB&T

BB&T

a traditional bank

620

3%

Read review
LenderBest For

Minimum Credit Score

Minimum Down PaymentLearn More
Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

online experience

620

3%

at Quicken Loans

loanDepot

loanDepot

at loanDepot

online experience

620

3.5%

at loanDepot

Alterra

Alterra

unique services

620

3%

Read review
Veterans United

Veterans United

at Veterans United

unique services

620

0%

at Veterans United

Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate

a nonbank lender

620

3%

Read review
HomeBridge

HomeBridge

a nonbank lender

620

3%

Read review
J.G. Wentworth

J.G. Wentworth

low credit score borrowers

600

3%

Read review
Vylla

Vylla

at Vylla

low credit score borrowers

620

3%

at Vylla

Bank of America

Bank of America

a traditional bank

620

3%

Read review
BB&T

BB&T

a traditional bank

620

3%

Read review

More from NerdWallet

FHA streamline refinance FAQ

What is an FHA streamline refinance?

An FHA streamline refinance involves replacing an FHA-insured mortgage with another FHA loan that has a lower interest rate, shorter term, or both. It’s streamlined because the new loan doesn’t require an appraisal, income verification or credit check. This speeds up the process and reduces fees.

» MORE: What you need to know about FHA loans

What if I don't have an FHA loan?

You have to have an FHA-insured mortgage to get an FHA streamline refinance. It is possible to refinance a non-FHA loan into an FHA loan, but the lender would require an appraisal, income verification and credit check, so it wouldn’t be deemed “streamlined.”

» MORE: How to refinance your mortgage

What are the pros and cons of FHA loans?

The FHA allows minimum down payments of 3.5% for borrowers with credit scores of 580 or higher. Conventional loans, which are not insured by the federal government, tend to require higher credit scores.

Under the FHA’s rules, borrowers may receive gifts of down payment money from family, “close” friends, employers, unions, charitable organizations, as well as a “governmental agency or public entity.”

FHA borrowers pay upfront and monthly mortgage insurance premiums. Monthly premiums can’t be canceled. The only way to get rid of FHA mortgage insurance is to pay off the loan, refinance into a non-FHA loan or sell the house. By contrast, private mortgage insurance on conventional loans may be canceled after the borrower gains sufficient equity.

» MORE: Learn about FHA loan requirements

What's the minimum credit score for FHA?

Borrowers with credit scores of 580 or higher may qualify for FHA-insured loans with down payments as low as 3.5%. Borrowers with credit scores of 500 to 579 may qualify for FHA loans with down payments as low as 10%. See this explanation of how minimum down payments for FHA loans depend on borrowers’ credit scores.

» MORE: FHA loan credit score requirements

Can I get an FHA streamline cash-out refinance?

A cash-out refinance happens when a borrower replaces their current mortgage with a mortgage for a higher loan amount, and takes the difference in cash. The FHA’s streamlined refinance program limits borrowers from taking out more than $500 in cash from the refinance. Borrowers can’t increase the loan amount to cover closing costs.

» MORE: Cash-out refinance pros and cons

Last updated on July 2, 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 FHA Streamline Refinance Lenders of 2019