BEST OF

12 Best USDA Mortgage Lenders of 2022

If you live in an eligible area and are interested in a USDA loan, we'll help you choose an approved lender for USDA financing.

Aug 1, 2022

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If you’re planning to buy a home in a rural area or even a suburb, a USDA loan may be an option for you. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers these zero-down-payment loans to home buyers who qualify. The property must be in an eligible area of the country, and borrowers must meet certain income requirements.

The USDA issues some loans itself and guarantees USDA loans offered through approved lenders, such as those listed below. NerdWallet has reviewed some of the best USDA mortgage lenders to help you decide which is the right lender for you.

Best USDA Mortgage Lenders

Watermark Home Loans
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at Watermark Home Loans

Watermark Home Loans: NMLS#1838

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Watermark Home Loans

Min. credit score

N/A

Min. down payment

N/A
Learn more

at Watermark Home Loans


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers looking for a decent selection of loan types with some not-so-standard options, such as reverse mortgages for seniors.

Pros

  • Offers reverse mortgages and interest-only loans for certain borrowers.

  • Online capabilities include a full application, as well as loan process updates.

Cons

  • Does not offer home improvement loans.

  • Fully customized mortgage rates not available without providing contact information.

Read Full Review
Guaranteed Rate
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at Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Guaranteed Rate

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%
Learn more

at Guaranteed Rate


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers seeking conventional or government-backed loans, and a totally online experience.

Pros

  • Offers the ability to securely upload and digitally sign loan documents.

  • Displays detailed sample rates for many of its loan products.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or lines of credit.

Read Full Review
BNC National Bank
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at BNC National Bank

BNC National Bank: NMLS#418467

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
BNC National Bank

Min. credit score

640

Min. down payment

3%
Learn more

at BNC National Bank


Why we like it

BNC National Bank offers a robust variety of loans, but you have to reach out to a loan officer to get customized interest rates.

Pros

  • Wide variety of loan types and products.

  • Improved online capabilities, and robust iOS and Android apps.

  • Considers alternative credit data, like cell phone payments.

Cons

  • Limited number of physical mortgage offices.

  • Limited rate information is available without starting an application or speaking with a loan officer.

Read Full Review
Pennymac
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at Pennymac

Pennymac: NMLS#35953

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Pennymac

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

N/A
Learn more

at Pennymac


Why we like it

Pennymac excels in online capabilities and makes it easy to shop rates online. Average origination fees are higher than other lenders, and home equity lines of credit and jumbo mortgages were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pros

  • Offers a full range of online capabilities, including e-signatures and online loan process tracking.

  • Displays custom rate quotes based on home value, down payment or equity, ZIP code and credit score range.

Cons

  • Origination fees are on the higher end, according to the latest federal data.

  • Doesn't offer jumbo mortgages or home equity lines of credit.

Read Full Review
Chase
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at Chase

Chase: NMLS#399798

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Chase

Min. credit score

N/A

Min. down payment

N/A
Learn more

at Chase


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who want a name-brand bank with offices in more than half the states that charges lower rates and fees than many other lenders.

Pros

  • Allows electronic submission and tracking of loan documents.

  • Carries a wide variety of mortgage types and products.

  • Generally offers competitive rates, according to the latest data.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home improvement loans, such as FHA 203(k) and HomeStyle.

  • You have to speak with a home loan adviser to complete the application.

  • Home equity lines of credit (HELOC) are currently unavailable.

Read Full Review
Northpointe
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at Northpointe

Northpointe: NMLS#447490

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Northpointe

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%
Learn more

at Northpointe


Why we like it

Good for: those seeking an abundance of loan offerings, including a no-down-payment mortgage that helps accelerate home equity accumulation.

Pros

  • A full slate of loan offerings.

  • Offers a no-down-payment loan with a shorter repayment term that helps accelerate home equity accumulation.

  • A mobile app provides a number of customer conveniences.

  • Serves all 50 states plus Washington, D.C.

Cons

  • You’ll need to provide contact information or speak to a loan officer for customized mortgage rates.

  • Origination fees are on the high side, according to the latest data.

Read Full Review

Flagstar: NMLS#417490

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
Flagstar

Min. credit score

660

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who want a wide range of choices — not only among mortgage products, but also in the channel they prefer, whether a branch, online or on the phone.

Pros

  • Offers a wide range of loan types and products, including FHA, VA and USDA.

  • Has a full suite of online conveniences.

  • Offers customized online rate quotes with monthly payment estimates, including mortgage insurance, when applicable.

Cons

  • Home equity loans are geographically limited.

Read Full Review

Carrington: NMLS#2600

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Carrington

Min. credit score

550

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers or credit-challenged borrowers interested in government loan products.

Pros

  • Offers multiple low-down-payment loan programs.

  • May consider alternative credit data, such as bank statements and rent payments.

  • You can view customized rates for purchasing a home and apply online.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans, HELOCs or renovation mortgages.

  • Lender fees and mortgage rates are on the high side, according to the latest data.

Read Full Review

Wells Fargo: NMLS#399801

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Wells Fargo

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Wells Fargo has a solid selection of mortgage products and offers easy-to-shop rates.

Pros

  • Provides numerous online conveniences, including loan application and process updates.

  • Current rates clearly posted for various loan products.

  • Offers a wide variety of loan types and products.

Cons

  • Home equity loans and lines of credit suspended due to COVID-19 are still unavailable.

  • Scandals and government actions have damaged consumer trust in recent years.

  • No home improvement loans offered.

Read Full Review

PNC: NMLS#446303

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
PNC

Min. credit score

640

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Good for: borrowers with low-to-moderate incomes or limited down payments. PNC offers several low-down-payment loans, including one with no mortgage insurance.

Pros

  • Posts current mortgage rates on its website.

  • Has an online application for mortgage preapproval and a digital tool to track application progress.

  • Offers several affordable loan options, including FHA, VA, USDA and the PNC Community Loan.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer renovation mortgages.

  • In-person service is not available in every state.

Read Full Review

Wintrust Mortgage: NMLS#449042

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Wintrust Mortgage

Min. credit score

N/A

Min. down payment

3%

Why we like it

Wintrust Mortgage offers a variety of loan products, including home equity lines of credit and even home-improvement loans, and provides a number of online conveniences, such as loan process updates. But you won’t find rates posted online.

Pros

  • Online application and progress tracking are available.

  • Offers specialty loans, such as construction and renovation loans.

  • Participates in some first-time home buyer assistance programs.

Cons

  • Sample rates for some loan products are available only by contacting a loan officer.

  • Physical locations aren't available in all states.

Read Full Review

Truist: NMLS#399803

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Truist

Min. credit score

N/A

Min. down payment

N/A

Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers, doctors and other borrowers interested in low-down-payment mortgage options.

Pros

  • Offers a complete suite of online mortgage application tools and loan tracking.

  • Sample rates are easy to find on the website.

  • Offers a wide variety of loan options, including construction loans and programs for doctors.

Cons

  • Customized rates aren't available online without starting an application.

  • For borrowers who prefer to apply in person, branches are limited mostly to the South and East.

Read Full Review

What's the difference between a USDA guaranteed loan and a USDA direct loan?

The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers two main types of USDA mortgages — guaranteed loans and direct loans.

USDA guaranteed loans are mortgages that are insured by the USDA, meaning if you were to default on the loan, the agency would repay your lender. This helps lenders make low- or no-down-payment loans to borrowers who may have lower credit scores or limited income.

You'll work with a USDA-approved lender to get a USDA guaranteed loan. In addition to the lenders listed here, you can also find a list of all approved lenders organized by state on the USDA website.

USDA direct loans come straight from the USDA rather than a mortgage lender. These home loans are for borrowers who are unable to qualify for a USDA guaranteed loan and whose income is below 80% of the median household income in their area.

To find out if you are eligible for a USDA direct loan, contact your state's USDA Rural Development Office.

Basic requirements for USDA guaranteed loans

There are several qualifications both you and the property you're hoping to buy will need to meet in order to be eligible for a USDA guaranteed home loan.

USDA mortgages are meant for lower-income borrowers, so your household income must be below 115% of the area's median household income. The income threshold is adjusted depending on how many people are in your household. The USDA lets you look up whether your income qualifies on its website.

Since the USDA's home loan programs are focused on revitalizing rural America, the property you're buying must be in a designated area. You can use the address lookup tool on the USDA's website to see whether the home you're interested in will qualify.

» MORE: Learn more about USDA loan requirements

More from NerdWallet

Last updated on August 1, 2022

Methodology

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

The lenders on this page are chosen using this methodology:

NerdWallet reviewed nearly 60 mortgage lenders, including the majority of the largest U.S. mortgage lenders by annual loan volume (lenders had to have 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 on this roundup, lenders must score a 4.5 or above according to our overall methodology and offer USDA loans.

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 2020 HMDA data for origination volume, origination fee, rate spread and share-of-product data.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best USDA Mortgage Lenders of 2022

Frequently asked questions