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13 Best Mortgage Lenders with Low Origination Fees of 2024

Most lenders charge an origination fee for giving you a mortgage. These top-rated mortgage lenders boast lower origination fees.

NerdWallet
By
Last updated on January 30, 2024
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed
Jeanette Margle
Edited by
✅ Fact checked and reviewed

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Best Mortgage Lenders with Low Origination Fees

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Lender
NerdWallet Rating
Min. credit score
Min. down payment
Learn more
Andrews Federal Credit Union

Andrews Federal Credit Union: NMLS#410421

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on NerdWallet
Home loans overall
Best for credit union lending

620

3%

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on NerdWallet
PNC

PNC: NMLS#446303

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on NerdWallet
5.0
/5
Home loans overall
Best for competitive mortgage rates

620

3%

LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
Truist

Truist: NMLS#399803

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on NerdWallet
4.5
/5
Home loans overall
Best for loan variety

620

3%

LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
Navy Federal

Navy Federal: NMLS#399807

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on NerdWallet
4.5
/5
Home loans overall
Best for military borrowers

N/A

0%

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on NerdWallet
Alliant

Alliant: NMLS#197185

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on NerdWallet
4.5
/5
Home loans overall
Best for credit union lending

N/A

3%

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on NerdWallet
Bank of America

Bank of America: NMLS#399802

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on NerdWallet
4.0
/5
Home loans overall
Best for assistance programs

660

5%

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on NerdWallet
Citibank

Citibank: NMLS#412915

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on NerdWallet
4.0
/5
Home loans overall
Best for competitive mortgage rates

N/A

3%

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on NerdWallet
PenFed

PenFed: NMLS#401822

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on NerdWallet
4.0
/5
Home loans overall
Best for credit union lending

650

3%

LEARN MORE
on NerdWallet
Bethpage Federal Credit Union

Bethpage Federal Credit Union: NMLS#449104

Top 3 most visited 🏆
Learn more
at Bethpage Federal Credit Union
at Bethpage Federal Credit Union
4.0
/5
Home loans overall
Best for credit union lending

620

3%

Andrews Federal Credit Union
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on NerdWallet
Andrews Federal Credit Union

Andrews Federal Credit Union: NMLS#410421

5.0
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItFirst-time home buyers and military borrowers in the Mid-Atlantic looking for a lender with deep roots in their local communities.
Pros
  • Caters to first-time home buyers with incentives and education.
  • Provides extra support for military borrowers, including branches near bases in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
  • Offers HELOCs and home equity loans at competitive interest rates.
Cons
  • Physical branches in the U.S. are limited to Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia and Washington, D.C.
  • Does not offer renovation or construction home loans.
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PNC
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on NerdWallet
PNC

PNC: NMLS#446303

5.0
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: borrowers with low to moderate incomes or limited down payments, as well as home buyers seeking mortgages in higher-priced regions of the nation.
Pros
  • Offers several low-down-payment loan options, including FHA, VA, USDA and the PNC Community Loan.
  • Receives high marks for customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power and Zillow.
  • Mortgage rates are lower than the industry average, according to the latest federal data.
  • Jumbo loans available with 5% down payment.
Cons
  • Doesn't offer renovation mortgages or home equity loans.
  • In-person service is not available in every state.
  • You’ll have to create an account or supply personal data to get answers by phone.
Truist
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on NerdWallet
Truist

Truist: NMLS#399803

4.5
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: first-time and low-income home buyers, early career doctors and other borrowers interested in low-down-payment mortgages, especially those in South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas and Virginia.
Pros
  • Offers a wide variety of loan options, including construction loans, programs for early career doctors, a wide variety of jumbo loans and home equity lines of credit.
  • Proprietary grant program can help borrowers afford down payment and closing costs.
  • Mortgage rates are lower than industry average, according to the latest federal data.
Cons
  • Customized rates aren't available online without contacting the lender.
  • For borrowers who prefer to apply in person, branches are limited mostly to the South and East.
  • Mortgages aren’t available in all 50 states.
Navy Federal
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on NerdWallet
Navy Federal

Navy Federal: NMLS#399807

4.5
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
National / regional

National

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood for: Military borrowers who’ve exhausted their VA loan benefits and qualified government employees who want to compare mortgage options without down payments.
Pros
  • Offers unique loan options aimed at military borrowers, such as a proprietary loan called Military Choice that works as an alternative to VA loans.
  • 24/7 customer service supports borrowers stationed overseas.
  • Offers home equity loans and lines of credit.
Cons
  • Borrowers must join the credit union before applying for a mortgage.
  • The lender does not offer renovation or construction loans.
  • When we tried their customer service line, we sometimes waited longer than 10 minutes before being connected with a representative who could answer our questions.
Alliant
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on NerdWallet
Alliant

Alliant: NMLS#197185

4.5
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

N/A

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: eligible borrowers who are open to joining a credit union and want a mortgage from an online lender.
Pros
  • Borrowers can apply entirely online. The lender is also very transparent about what borrowers can expect from the process, including nontraditional customers.
  • Borrowers do not need to become members of the credit union until they’ve reached the closing process, meaning that interested home buyers can apply and get rate offers without committing to membership.
  • Offers customized rate quotes, including a detailed breakdown of estimated closing costs.
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer renovation loans.
  • Joining the credit union adds a step to the application process.
Bank of America
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on NerdWallet
Bank of America

Bank of America: NMLS#399802

4.0
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

660

Min. down payment

5%

National / regional

National

Why We Like ItGood for: first-time home buyers looking for low- or no-down-payment options and homeowners interested in a home equity line of credit.
Pros
  • Offers down payment and closing cost assistance programs.
  • May give existing customers a discount on mortgage lender origination fees and HELOC interest rates.
  • Receives high marks for customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power and Zillow.
Cons
  • Doesn't offer renovation or construction-to-permanent mortgage loans.
  • Must enroll in online banking to access Home Loan Navigator.
  • Fined $12 million for reporting inaccurate mortgage applicant info to the federal government.
Citibank
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on NerdWallet
Citibank

Citibank: NMLS#412915

4.0
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
National / regional

National

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: Rates-focused borrowers who are Citi customers, or home buyers seeking down payment assistance.
Pros
  • Average interest rates are among the lowest compared to other lenders’, according to the latest federal data.
  • Receives high marks for customer satisfaction, according to J.D. Power and Zillow.
  • Borrowers with existing Citi accounts may receive discounts.
Cons
  • Customized mortgage rates are not available without contacting the lender.
  • HELOCs and home equity loans are not currently available.
  • No live chat feature on the lender’s site.
PenFed
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on NerdWallet
PenFed

PenFed: NMLS#401822

4.0
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

650

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: borrowers looking for online convenience, a wide selection of mortgages and the competitive rates of a member-owned credit union.
Pros
  • Offers a broad selection of home loan products, including low-down-payment options for first-time home buyers and HELOCs.
  • Offers a lender credit, based on loan amount, for purchase mortgages.
  • Mortgage rates and fees are low compared with other lenders, according to the latest data.
Cons
  • Does not publish sample mortgage rates on its website.
  • The lender credit isn't available for refinance mortgages.
Bethpage Federal Credit Union
Learn more
at Bethpage Federal Credit Union
at Bethpage Federal Credit Union
Bethpage Federal Credit Union

Bethpage Federal Credit Union: NMLS#449104

4.0
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: borrowers seeking a solid selection of mortgages, low rates and the community-minded business model of a credit union.
Pros
  • Has a fully online mortgage application and a highly rated mobile app.
  • Offers financing for co-ops, a type of home that’s common on the East Coast.
  • Interest rates are on the low side, according to the latest federal data.
Cons
  • In-person service available only on Long Island, New York.
  • Doesn’t offer renovation, construction-to-permanent or USDA loans.
  • Customized rates not available online.
Golden 1 Credit Union
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on NerdWallet
Golden 1 Credit Union

Golden 1 Credit Union: NMLS#669333

4.0
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

N/A

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: California residents who want to work with a credit union that offers a variety of fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, including jumbo loans and home equity lines of credit.
Pros
  • Has a preferred real estate agent program that can save a borrower money on closing costs.
  • Offers some flexibility on guidelines for loan qualification.
  • Customized sample rates are available online without contacting the lender.
Cons
  • Does not offer VA or USDA loans.
  • Products mostly available only to California residents.
  • Doesn’t offer home equity loans, only HELOCs.
San Diego County Credit Union
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on NerdWallet
San Diego County Credit Union

San Diego County Credit Union: NMLS#580585

4.0
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. down payment

N/A

National / regional

Regional

Why We Like ItGood for: Californians who are looking for a conventional or jumbo mortgage and want to shop rates online.
Pros
  • Offers purchase, refinance and jumbo mortgages, plus loans for second homes and home equity products.
  • Provides customized rate and fee quotes without requiring contact information.
  • Interest rates are notably low, according to the latest federal data.
Cons
  • No FHA, VA or USDA mortgages.
  • Loans are available in California only.
  • Mobile app has low ratings.
State Employees' Credit Union
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on NerdWallet
State Employees' Credit Union

State Employees' Credit Union: NMLS#430055

4.0
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

N/A

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood for: North Carolina government employees and other eligible borrowers interested in conventional loans with low down payment options.
Pros
  • No private mortgage insurance required, even with a down payment less than 20%.
  • 100% percent financing available.
  • Participates in mortgage credit certificate and down payment assistance programs.
Cons
  • Does not have government-backed loan options.
  • Membership eligibility is limited, and loans are available only for properties located in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.
Wells Fargo
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Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo: NMLS#399801

4.0
Home loans overall
NerdWallet rating
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why We Like ItGood for: existing customers of the bank looking for a wide selection of mortgage products, as well as self-employed borrowers and home buyers without Social Security numbers.
Pros
  • Sample rates clearly posted for various loan products.
  • Offers a wide variety of loan types and products, including options for borrowers who work for themselves and those without Social Security numbers.
  • Mortgage rates tend to be on the low side compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
Cons
  • Home loans business is broadly focused on bank customers.
  • Doesn’t offer home improvement loans, or home equity loans or lines of credit.
  • Scandals and government actions have damaged consumer trust in recent years.

What is an origination fee on a mortgage?

The origination fee is what a lender charges you for giving you a mortgage; it's essentially a service fee, and it's one way lenders make money. Another big source of income is profit that's built into the mortgage interest rate the lender offers you.

If a lender claims to offer no origination fee, proceed with caution. The fee may be baked into the interest rate, or it could show up under a different name, like an underwriting fee or an administrative fee.

You can find the origination fee and associated costs on the second page of your Loan Estimate. You'll get this document from any lender that has offered you mortgage preapproval, and it's a standard form, which makes them easy to compare. At the top left of Page 2, you'll see a box labeled "A. Origination Charges." Under that heading, you'll find lender charges, including the origination fee and optional mortgage points.

How much should origination costs be?

Origination fees are charged as a percentage of the loan amount, so they vary depending on the size of your mortgage and the percentage the lender charges you. Between 0.5% and 1% of the total loan amount is fairly standard. If you were taking out a loan for $250,000, your origination fee would probably be $1,250 to $2,500.

In 2022, the median origination fee paid on purchase loans from the top 100 lenders was $3,060, according to Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data.

You can negotiate these costs. This is yet another reason having mortgage preapprovals can help, as you could try to persuade one lender to lower its fees based on another lender's offer. In a buyer's market, you could potentially also negotiate to have a home seller chip in toward your closing costs.

When do you pay the origination fee?

You’ll pay the origination fee as part of your closing costs once your loan has been approved and money's ready to change hands. No later than three days before closing, you'll get a closing disclosure that you should go over to check on all costs, including the origination fee. This form looks more or less identical to the Loan Estimate, except that it has real numbers instead of estimates. Compare the two forms to see how the costs may have changed. Some are easy to understand. For example, property taxes are prorated based on the closing date, and when you got the loan estimate, no one knew what day of the month that would be. If anything looks off, contact your loan officer to ask about it. That's why the three-day window is required.

Since the considerable chunk of change paid on closing day also includes your down payment, it's usually paid with a wire transfer or cashier's check to a third party (this is one type of escrow in real estate) rather than directly to the seller. Make sure to leave enough time to move all the funds you're using for your down payment and closing costs to an easily accessible bank account to avoid any last-minute holdups.

More from NerdWallet

Last updated on January 30, 2024

Methodology

The star ratings on this page reflect each lender's home loans overall star rating. Read more about how we determine those ratings.

The lenders on this page are chosen using this methodology:

NerdWallet reviewed more than 50 mortgage lenders, including the majority of the largest U.S. mortgage lenders by annual loan volume (measured among lenders with at least a 1% market share), lenders with significant online search volume and those that specialize in serving various audiences across the country.

For inclusion in this roundup, lenders must achieve an overall rating of at least 4 stars from NerdWallet. Lenders must charge among the lowest average origination fees relative to other lenders NerdWallet reviews, according to the latest Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, and have among the most competitive ratios of origination fees to offered mortgage rates.

NerdWallet solicits information from reviewed lenders on a recurring basis throughout the year. All lender-provided information is verified through lender websites and interviews. We also utilized 2022 HMDA data for origination volume, origination fee, average interest rate and share-of-product data.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best Mortgage Lenders with Low Origination Fees of 2024

  • Andrews Federal Credit Union: Best for credit union lending
  • PNC: Best for competitive mortgage rates
  • Truist: Best for loan variety
  • Navy Federal: Best for military borrowers
  • Alliant: Best for credit union lending
  • Bank of America: Best for assistance programs
  • Citibank: Best for competitive mortgage rates
  • PenFed: Best for credit union lending
  • Bethpage Federal Credit Union: Best for credit union lending
  • Golden 1 Credit Union: Best for California borrowers
  • San Diego County Credit Union: Best for California borrowers
  • State Employees' Credit Union: Best for North Carolina borrowers
  • Wells Fargo: Best for competitive mortgage rates

Frequently asked questions

  • The buyer pays the mortgage origination fee because they're the one getting the mortgage. The origination fee is levied by the lender as a charge for providing the loan.

  • An origination fee is one type of lender fee. You'll find all fees charged by the lender on the top left of the second page of your Loan Estimate under "A. Origination Fees." Origination fees can go by many names, so you might be shopping for a "no origination fee" mortgage but find items like a processing fee, an underwriting fee and so on.

  • Discount points are one type of origination fee, but they're different from the type of processing charge that most people mean by "origination fee." Points are optional prepaid interest that you can pay to bring down your interest rate. An origination fee, which a lender charges for giving you the loan, is not optional.

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