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Best VA Mortgage Lenders for Streamline Refinance (IRRRL) 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.

These lenders are all experts at VA loans and among the best for a VA streamline refinance, or IRRRL, in 2019.

Veterans United

at Veterans United

at Veterans United

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

0%

Pros

  • Also offers FHA, USDA and conventional loans.
  • Offers 24/7 customer service.
  • You can complete a loan application and pre-qualify online.
  • Registers a low volume of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
  • Offers free credit score education and assistance.
  • Provides a client advocate team staffed by former senior enlisted leaders from each branch of the armed forces.

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer home equity loans or HELOCs.
  • Loans are available in all 50 states, but Veterans United has offices in only about half.
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
Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

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

  • 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
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

600

Min. Down Payment

0%

Pros

  • Specializes in VA loans and working with military borrowers.
  • Offers several low-down-payment government loan options so borrowers can choose the best fit.
  • Website helps borrowers estimate their VA loan fees.

Cons

  • You can’t get an instant rate quote online.
  • Doesn’t offer conventional home loans.
  • Has only five loan centers in a handful of Western states.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Allows borrowers to apply entirely online.
  • Offers down payment and closing cost assistance programs.
  • Accepts alternative credit data for some loan types.
  • May give existing customers a discount on mortgage lender origination fees.

Cons

  • Charges an application fee of $1,170, on average.
  • Has a high volume of consumer complaints, even for a big national bank.
Read full review
National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

3%

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
National / Regional

National

Min. Down Payment

0%

Pros

  • Wide range of affordable mortgage products designed for military members.
  • Willing to look at nontraditional credit data, such as rent payments, as part of its credit evaluation for certain products.
  • Lower minimum loan amounts than many other lenders.
  • Online application for preapproval with quick decision.
  • $1,000 mortgage rate match program.
  • Operates nationwide.

Cons

  • Charges application and underwriting fees.
  • Origination charge on a typical conventional loan is 1% of the loan amount.
Read full review
Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

Pros

  • Offers an ITIN qualification path for undocumented immigrant borrowers.
  • 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

Summary of Best VA Mortgage Lenders for Streamline Refinance (IRRRL) of 2019

LenderBest For

Minimum Credit Score

Minimum Down PaymentLearn More
Veterans United

Veterans United

at Veterans United

overall

620

0%

at Veterans United

Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate

overall

620

3%

Read review
Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

online experience

620

3%

at Quicken Loans

Fairway

Fairway

online experience & customer service

N/A

3%

Read review
Veterans First Mortgage

Veterans First Mortgage

customer service

600

0%

Read review
Bank of America

Bank of America

traditional banking lender

620

3%

Read review
Citibank Mortgage

Citibank Mortgage

traditional banking lender

N/A

3%

Read review
Navy Federal

Navy Federal

low-credit-score borrowers

N/A

0%

Read review
Alterra

Alterra

low-credit-score borrowers

620

3%

Read review
LenderBest For

Minimum Credit Score

Minimum Down PaymentLearn More
Veterans United

Veterans United

at Veterans United

overall

620

0%

at Veterans United

Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate

overall

620

3%

Read review
Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans

at Quicken Loans

online experience

620

3%

at Quicken Loans

Fairway

Fairway

online experience & customer service

N/A

3%

Read review
Veterans First Mortgage

Veterans First Mortgage

customer service

600

0%

Read review
Bank of America

Bank of America

traditional banking lender

620

3%

Read review
Citibank Mortgage

Citibank Mortgage

traditional banking lender

N/A

3%

Read review
Navy Federal

Navy Federal

low-credit-score borrowers

N/A

0%

Read review
Alterra

Alterra

low-credit-score borrowers

620

3%

Read review

More from NerdWallet:

Calculate how much to borrow with a VA loan

Find the best VA mortgage lenders of 2019

Learn the basics about VA loans

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.

» MORE: How a VA IRRRL streamline refinance works

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.

» MORE: What to know about VA loans

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.

» MORE: VA loan eligibility and requirements

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.

» MORE: Cash-out refinance pros and cons

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 VA Mortgage Lenders for Streamline Refinance (IRRRL) of 2019