Best of

Best PHFA Mortgage 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.

The Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency — the PHFA — provides affordable housing to first-time and other buyers. Here are some top-rated participating lenders.

J.G. Wentworth

at JG Wentworth

4.0

NerdWallet rating 

at JG Wentworth

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 entire 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.
loanDepot

at 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

  • 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
National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

3%

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
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

550

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

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Low rate of consumer complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Request a pre-qualification through PrimeLending’s secure system from a phone, tablet or computer.
  • Niche mortgage products include energy-efficient mortgages, FHA 203(k) renovation and remodeling loans, manufactured home mortgages and home construction loans.
  • Free “float down” interest rate option lets borrowers choose the lower rate if interest rates fall, even with a rate lock.
  • NeighborhoodEdge closing cost assistance program for low- to moderate-income borrowers allows qualified borrowers $2,000 in closing cost credits (restrictions on income and location).
  • “Alternative doc” program lets borrowers qualify for mortgage based on bank statements rather than tax returns.

Cons

  • No live chat online.
  • No online mortgage rate quotes.
Read full review

Summary of Best PHFA Mortgage Lenders of 2019

LenderBest For

Minimum Credit Score

Minimum Down PaymentLearn More
J.G. Wentworth

J.G. Wentworth

NerdWallet rating 

at JG Wentworth

a nonbank lender & borrowers with tight finances

600

3%

at JG Wentworth

loanDepot

loanDepot

at loanDepot

a nonbank lender

620

3.5%

at loanDepot

BB&T

BB&T

online capabilities

620

3%

Read review
Fairway

Fairway

online capabilities

N/A

3%

Read review
Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate

customer service

620

3%

Read review
HomeBridge

HomeBridge

customer service

550

3%

Read review
PrimeLending

PrimeLending

borrowers with tight finances

620

3%

Read review
LenderBest For

Minimum Credit Score

Minimum Down PaymentLearn More
J.G. Wentworth

J.G. Wentworth

NerdWallet rating 

at JG Wentworth

a nonbank lender & borrowers with tight finances

600

3%

at JG Wentworth

loanDepot

loanDepot

at loanDepot

a nonbank lender

620

3.5%

at loanDepot

BB&T

BB&T

online capabilities

620

3%

Read review
Fairway

Fairway

online capabilities

N/A

3%

Read review
Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate

customer service

620

3%

Read review
HomeBridge

HomeBridge

customer service

550

3%

Read review
PrimeLending

PrimeLending

borrowers with tight finances

620

3%

Read review

More PHFA participating mortgage lenders

These are among the highest-volume PHFA-participating mortgage makers in Pennsylvania; however, they haven't been reviewed by NerdWallet.

Trident Mortgage Company

  • Based in Devon, Pennsylvania, and serving the Delaware Valley since 1886.
  • Offers all government-backed mortgages.
  • Get pre-qualified in only a few minutes.

Citizens Bank

  • Earn an interest rate discount when you set up automatic monthly payments from your Citizens Bank checking account.
  • A dedicated loan officer guides you through the homebuying process.
  • Secure document exchange speeds the loan process.

GMH Mortgage Services

  • Headquartered in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, and a top 10 mortgage producer in the state, based on loan volume.
  • Loan officers are familiar with and guide you through the PHFA process.
  • Offers VA, FHA and USDA loans.

First National Bank of Pennsylvania

  • Monitor and manage the loan process through a secure client portal.
  • Qualifying for a loan can begin with an online application that takes just 20 minutes to complete.
  • Based in Pittsburgh but with loan officers throughout the state.

More from NerdWallet

How much house can you afford?

Compare Pennsylvania mortgage rates

See other first-time home buyer programs by state

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 PHFA Mortgage Lenders of 2019

  • : Best for a nonbank lender & borrowers with tight finances
  • loanDepot: Best for a nonbank lender
  • BB&T: Best for online capabilities
  • Fairway: Best for online capabilities
  • Guaranteed Rate: Best for customer service
  • HomeBridge: Best for customer service
  • PrimeLending: Best for borrowers with tight finances