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9 Best VA Mortgage Lenders for Streamline Refinance (IRRRL) of 2022

These lenders are all experts at VA loans and among the best for a VA streamline refinance, or IRRRL.

Jan 6, 2022

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The VA's IRRRL — Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan — is loved by military borrowers for its easy efficiency. It's also called a "VA streamline refinance" because of its stripped-down processing requirements: No appraisal is needed, and underwriting is simplified.

Shop around when looking for an "Earl" — VA lenders vary in requirements and costs. Here are lenders that excel at IRRRL refinancing in five key ways.

The coronavirus pandemic introduced some new challenges to getting a mortgage. Many lenders facing high loan demand and staffing issues increased their fees, adjusted minimum required credit scores or temporarily suspended certain loan products. While some products and business practices have returned to pre-pandemic levels, you might still find delays and limited options. If you can’t pay your current home loan, refer to our mortgage assistance resource. For information on how to cope with financial stress during this pandemic, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

Best VA Mortgage Lenders for Streamline Refinance (IRRRL)

Quicken Loans
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at Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans: NMLS#3030

4.0

NerdWallet rating 
Quicken Loans

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

0%
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at Quicken Loans


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who appreciate convenience online and on the go for a fully digital home loan experience with consistently acclaimed customer service.

Pros

  • Caters to self-service users who want to apply for a home loan online and talk to a human only as necessary.

  • Estimates the loan amount you’ll qualify for within minutes.

  • Streamlines the online process with document and asset retrieval capabilities, including the ability to edit your preapproval letter.

Cons

  • Getting a customized interest rate requires a credit check, which can affect your credit score.

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

  • Lender fees are on the high side and the fees aren't offset by particularly low mortgage rates, according to the latest data.

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New American Funding
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at New American Funding

New American Funding: NMLS#6606

5.0

NerdWallet rating 
New American Funding

Min. Credit Score

580

Min. Down Payment

0%
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at New American Funding


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who need to be evaluated on the basis of nontraditional credit and those interested in various down payment assistance programs.

Pros

  • Uses manual underwriting to evaluate creditworthiness, in some cases.

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

Cons

  • Mortgage origination fees tend to be on the high end, according to the latest federal data.

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Veterans United
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at Veterans United

Veterans United: NMLS#1907

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Veterans United

Min. Credit Score

620

National / Regional

National
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at Veterans United


Why we like it

Good for: veterans, active-duty service members and eligible reservists looking to refinance VA or non-VA loans.

Pros

  • Offers 24/7 customer service over the phone.

  • Has online application and prequalification.

  • Offers a free credit counseling service.

  • Employs advisors from each branch of the armed forces.

Cons

  • Doesn't offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • Veterans United has physical branch offices in only 17 states.

  • Information on FHA, USDA and conventional loans is harder to find on its website.

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Guaranteed Rate
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at Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Guaranteed Rate

Min. Credit Score

600

National / Regional

National
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at Guaranteed Rate


Why we like it

Good for: homeowners who are looking to refinance conventional, FHA or VA mortgages.

Pros

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

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

Cons

  • Charges some fees, such as a lender fee which includes an application fee.

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Fairway Independent Mortgage
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at Fairway Independent Mortgage

Fairway Independent Mortgage: NMLS#2289

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
Fairway Independent Mortgage

Min. Credit Score

640

Min. Down Payment

0%
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at Fairway Independent Mortgage


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers who want access to a wide variety of mortgages and the convenience of a comprehensive mobile application process.

Pros

  • Offers a robust suite of loan products, including a variety of renovation loans.

  • Has a digital application that can be completed in 10 minutes.

  • Works with some state housing finance agencies to offer mortgages with down payment and closing cost assistance.

Cons

  • Mortgage rates aren't posted online.

  • Origination fees are on the high side and are not offset by low rates, according to the latest data.

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Veterans First Mortgage: NMLS#449042

3.5

NerdWallet rating 
Veterans First Mortgage

Min. Credit Score

660

Min. Down Payment

0%

Why we like it

Good for: veterans and active military members interested in a VA, FHA or USDA home loan.

Pros

  • Specializes in VA loans and working with military borrowers.

  • Offers several low-down-payment government loan options.

Cons

  • You can't shop rates online.

  • Doesn't offer conventional home loans or renovation mortgages.

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Citibank: NMLS#412915

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Citibank

National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

0%

Why we like it

Good for: existing Citibank customers, as well as borrowers eligible for the low-down-payment HomeRun mortgage.

Pros

  • Offers a wide variety of loan options, including low-down-payment mortgages and jumbo mortgages.

  • Offers low rates and typical fees compared to other lenders, according to the latest data.

Cons

  • Requires help from a loan officer to complete an online mortgage application.

  • Customized mortgage rates not available without making contact.

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Navy Federal: NMLS#399807

4.5

NerdWallet rating 
Navy Federal

National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

0%

Why we like it

Good for: military members and their families looking for low-down-payment mortgages.

Pros

  • Offers a wide range of affordable mortgage products designed for military members.

  • Has an online application for preapproval.

  • Offers low rates compared with most lenders, according to the latest data.

Cons

  • Website does not provide customized mortgage rates based on credit score or other factors before you apply.

  • Credit union membership is limited to veterans and current military members, their families, and certain federal employees, retirees and contractors.

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Alterra: NMLS#133739

3.0

NerdWallet rating 
Alterra

Min. Credit Score

N/A

Min. Down Payment

0%

Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers and those with nontraditional incomes.

Pros

  • Offers an ITIN qualification path for borrowers ineligible for Social Security numbers.

  • Has a digital application process.

  • Offers several mortgage options for low- to moderate-income borrowers.

  • Borrowers can qualify with income from self-employment and other nontraditional sources.

Cons

  • No mortgage rates published online.

  • No home equity loans or lines of credit.

  • Generally has higher rates and fees than other lenders.

  • Branch offices not available in all states.

Read Full Review

More from NerdWallet:

VA IRRRL Refinance FAQ

What is a VA IRRRL?

A VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (IRRRL) lets eligible borrowers refinance a VA loan quickly and easily. Nicknamed the “VA streamline” loan, an IRRRL’s attractions include a stripped-down approval process, lower fees and no appraisal.

With a VA IRRRL refinance, you can add the closing costs to your loan balance or accept a higher interest rate to pay for them.

How can you use a VA IRRRL?

An IRRRL can be used only to refinance from a VA loan to a VA loan. Taking cash out is generally not allowed, with an exception, which we explain below.

Borrowers typically must use an IRRRL to reduce their monthly mortgage payments or lower the mortgage interest rate. But here’s another quirk: It’s OK to bump up your interest rate when converting an adjustable-rate VA mortgage to a fixed-rate IRRRL.

Who is eligible for a VA IRRRL?

Here’s what it takes to be eligible for an IRRRL:

  • You’re an active-duty member of the military, reserve or National Guard, or a veteran or surviving spouse.

  • You’ve served for a minimum length of time without dishonorable discharge.

  • You meet the lender’s minimum credit score requirement and certify that you’ve previously lived in the house.

Can you get cash out with a VA streamline refinance?

In one case only. You may be able to get a limited amount of cash for making energy-efficient improvements to the home. You may need to get a home energy audit to show the investment will lower your utility costs.

Last updated on January 6, 2022

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 VA Mortgage Lenders for Streamline Refinance (IRRRL) of 2022