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10 Best USDA Mortgage Lenders in 2020

NerdWalletJanuary 2, 2020

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If you live in an eligible area and are interested in a USDA loan, we'll help you choose among some of the best USDA-approved lenders. Check out our list.

If you’re planning to buy a home in a rural area, or even in 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 other 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.

Summary of Best USDA Mortgage Lenders in 2020

LenderNerdWallet Rating Minimum Credit Score National / RegionalLearn More

New American Funding: NMLS#6606

at New American

Best for borrowers with weaker credit

640

National

at New American

Fairway Independent Mortgage: NMLS#2289

at Fairway

Best for customer service

640

National

at Fairway

Quicken Loans: NMLS#3030

at Quicken Loans

Best for online experience

620

National

at Quicken Loans

Vylla: NMLS#2600

Best for borrowers with weaker credit

550

National

Read review

Costco: NMLS#N/A (not a lender)

Best for online experience

N/A

National

Read review

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

Best for USDA loans overall

640

National

Read review

SunTrust: NMLS#2915

Best for USDA loans overall

640

National

Read review

Alterra: NMLS#133739

Best for customer service

N/A

Regional

Read review

Wells Fargo: NMLS#399801

Best for traditional lending experience

620

National

Read review

PNC: NMLS#446303

Best for traditional lending experience

640

National

Read review
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at New American

New American Funding: NMLS#6606

Logo

Min. Credit Score

640

National / Regional

National

at New American


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who need to be evaluated on the basis of nontraditional credit. New American Funding offers government-backed loans, works with down payment assistance programs and helps borrowers whose credit histories don't fit the mold of traditional banking.

Pros

  • Uses manual underwriting to evaluate creditworthiness.

  • Offers full online mortgage application, rate quotes, document upload and loan tracking.

  • Home equity lending sets it apart from most non-bank lenders.

Cons

  • Services not available in all 50 states.

Read Full Review
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at Fairway

Fairway Independent Mortgage: NMLS#2289

Logo

Min. Credit Score

640

National / Regional

National

at Fairway


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers who want lots of options and a quick turn time. Fairway Independent Mortgage offers a full selection of home loans along with a comprehensive mobile app for a fast and easy application process.

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
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at Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans: NMLS#3030

Logo

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National

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

Vylla: NMLS#2600

Logo

Min. Credit Score

550

National / Regional

National


Why we like it

Ideal for first-time home buyers or credit-challenged borrowers who may have trouble qualifying for a mortgage.

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

Costco: NMLS#N/A (not a lender)

Logo

Min. Credit Score

N/A

National / Regional

National


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers, particularly members, who want to compare loan options and mortgage rates from several lenders through an online marketplace.

Pros

  • Caps lenders fees to $350 for Executive Costco members and $650 for Gold Star Costco members.

  • Lets you compare products and rates from several lenders.

  • Has a mobile-enhanced website and automated mortgage-application process.

Cons

  • Loan fee discounts available only to Costco members.

  • No physical locations for face-to-face service.

Read Full Review

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

Logo

Min. Credit Score

640

National / Regional

National


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

SunTrust: NMLS#2915

Logo

Min. Credit Score

640

National / Regional

National


Why we like it

Ideal for borrowers with fair credit or better. SunTrust, now a part of Truist Financial Corp., offers a variety of customer service options.

Pros

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

  • Provides customer service in its physical locations, online, via chat and by phone.

  • Offers wide variety of loan options, including a loan program for licensed medical professionals

Cons

  • Customized rates not available on website without starting an application.

  • Branches limited to mostly the Southeast.

Read Full Review

Alterra: NMLS#133739

Logo

Min. Credit Score

N/A

National / Regional

Regional


Why we like it

Ideal for Latino and other minority borrowers, millennials, foreign nationals, as well as those seeking a full array of purchase and refinance loans, including jumbo mortgages.

Pros

  • 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.

Read Full Review

Wells Fargo: NMLS#399801

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Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers looking for a national lender with a wide selection of mortgage products for home buyers in all financial stages.

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

  • New applications for home equity lines of credit suspended during COVID-19 crisis.

  • Government actions and scandals have damaged consumer trust in recent years.

Read Full Review

PNC: NMLS#446303

Logo

Min. Credit Score

640

National / Regional

National


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

Last updated on January 2, 2020

Methodology

NerdWallet's star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services each lender offers to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The five key areas we evaluated include the variety of loan types and products offered, online conveniences, online mortgage rate information, and the rate spread and origination fee lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best USDA Mortgage Lenders in 2020