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10 Best San Francisco Mortgage Lenders of 2020

NerdWalletJanuary 2, 2020

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San Francisco mortgage lenders vary by size and capabilities. These are highly rated lenders in various home loan categories for Bay Area home buyers.

San Francisco mortgage lenders are about as varied as Bay Area homes. Whether cutting-edge modern or button-down traditional, the capabilities of San Francisco mortgage lenders vary nearly as much as the features of a postmodern home in SoMa compared with a Queen Anne in the Pacific Heights neighborhood.

NerdWallet screened the capabilities of San Francisco mortgage companies in various categories — from national brands to leading local lenders. Here are the results.

Summary of Best San Francisco Mortgage Lenders of 2020

LenderNerdWallet Rating Minimum Credit Score Minimum Down PaymentLearn More

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

Best for first-time home buyers

620

3%

at Quicken Loans

SoFi

at SoFi

Best for first-time home buyers

N/A

10%

at SoFi

Best for refinancing

620

3%

Read review

Bank of America

Best for traditional banks

620

3%

Read review

Citibank

Best for traditional banks

N/A

3%

Read review

Guaranteed Rate

Best for refinancing

620

3%

Read review

Flagstar

Best for home equity products

620

3%

Read review

Best for home equity products

620

3%

Read review

loanDepot

at loanDepot

Best for government-backed loans

620

3.5%

at loanDepot

Best for government-backed loans

620

3%

Read review
Logo

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 SoFi

SoFi: NMLS#1484615

Logo

National / Regional

Regional

Min. Down Payment

10%

at SoFi


Why we like it

Ideal for young professionals and self-employed borrowers looking for a lender that considers non-traditional income.

Pros

  • Provides an entirely digital mortgage application to make the process easier for borrowers.

  • Considers non-traditional income, such as restricted stock units, and works with self-employed borrowers.

  • Does not require private mortgage insurance for jumbo loans.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer government-backed loans, like FHA or VA.

  • Does not offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

Read Full Review

Chase: NMLS#399798

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Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers who want to talk to a loan officer in person or on the phone, and for homeowners who want to refinance their mortgages in 60 days or less. Chase offers a full line of mortgage products and account management tools.

Pros

  • Allows electronic submission and tracking of documents.

  • Existing Chase customers can get discounts.

  • Offers a wide selection of purchase and refinance mortgages.

Cons

  • Charges rate lock, origination and underwriting fees.

  • You have to speak with a mortgage banker to get complete info on products and requirements.

Read Full Review

Bank of America: NMLS#399802

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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

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

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

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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 meet robust guidelines.

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, which includes a $150 application fee.

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

  • Several click-throughs required for personalized rates.

Read Full Review

Flagstar: NMLS#417490

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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

US Bank: NMLS#402761

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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
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at loanDepot

loanDepot: NMLS#174457

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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

Logo

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

Local mortgage lenders in San Francisco

If you want to include a local lender or two in your search for the best mortgage, these San Francisco lenders are among the highest-volume mortgage makers in the city. The lenders have not been reviewed by NerdWallet.

  • Offers single-family, co-op and condo loans.

  • All-in-one construction-to-permanent loans finance the building of your dream home.

  • Underwrites vacation and second-home loans.

  • No-closing-cost options reduce out-of-pocket fees.

  • Offers loan options that don't require mortgage insurance.

  • Home hunters can get pre-qualified over the phone “in minutes.”

  • Combo loans allow the purchase of a property using a primary mortgage and a HELOC.

  • Portfolio loans provide underwriting flexibility for higher-value homes.

  • HELOCs feature no application fee or closing costs, subject to some restrictions.

  • Over 100 branches in Northern California.

  • An independent mortgage banking firm established in 1996.

  • Application documents are available online for downloading.

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 San Francisco Mortgage Lenders of 2020