Best of

Best VA Mortgage Lenders of December 2023

VA loans for current and veteran military members don't require a down payment or mortgage insurance. Compare our picks for best VA mortgage lenders of 2023.

By
Taylor Getler
Nov 1, 2023

Some or all of the mortgage lenders featured on our site are advertising partners of NerdWallet, but this does not influence our evaluations, lender star ratings or the order in which lenders are listed on the page. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners.

NerdWallet’s Best-Of Award Winner
Best Mortgage Lender For VA Loans
NBKC
NBKC: NMLS#409631
5.0
Learn moreat NBKC
at NBKC
WHY OUR NERDS LOVE ITNBKC originates a significant percentage of VA loans, has low fees compared with other lenders and offers a convenient online application process.
Read our methodology
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Best VA Mortgage Lenders

Lender
NerdWallet Rating
Min. credit score
Min. down payment
Learn more
NBKC

NBKC: NMLS#409631

Top 3 most visited 🏆
Learn moreat NBKC
at NBKC
Best for ease of application

620

0%

Navy Federal

Navy Federal: NMLS#399807

Read review
5.0
/5
Best for VA specialization
Low rates

N/A

0%

Veterans United

Veterans United: NMLS#1907

4.5
/5
Best for VA specialization
Low rates

620

0%

Rocket Mortgage, LLC

Rocket Mortgage, LLC: NMLS#3030

4.5
/5
Best for ease of application

580

0%

Pennymac

Pennymac: NMLS#35953

4.5
/5
Best for low VA interest rates

580

0%

Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

4.5
/5
Best for rate transparency

580

0%

NBKC
Learn moreat NBKC
at NBKC
NBKC

NBKC: NMLS#409631

5.0
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood for: borrowers who want low rates and fees and an online experience with phone support. VA loans are an emphasis.
Pros
  • Offers government-backed loans and some harder-to-find products, such as construction loans and specialty mortgages for pilots.
  • Offers low rates and fees compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
  • Displays customized rates, with fee estimates, without requiring contact information.
Cons
  • HELOCs and construction-to-permanent loans are available only in the Kansas City metro area.
Read Full Review
Navy Federal

Navy Federal: NMLS#399807

National / regional

National

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood for: military members and their families looking for low-down-payment mortgages.
Pros
  • Offers a wide range of affordable mortgage products, including 0% down payment loans, designed for military members.
  • Offers HELOCs and home equity loans.
  • Offers low rates compared with most lenders, according to the latest federal 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.
Veterans United

Veterans United: NMLS#1907

4.5
Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood for: veterans, active-duty service members and eligible reservists looking for VA loans.
Pros
  • Offers 24/7 customer service over the phone.
  • Offers a free credit counseling service.
  • Mortgage rates are on the low side, according to the latest federal data.
Cons
  • Parent company’s mortgage rates are on the higher side, according to the latest federal data.
  • Does not offer second mortgage options like home equity loans or HELOCs.
Rocket Mortgage, LLC
Learn moreat Rocket Mortgage, LLC
at Rocket Mortgage, LLC
Rocket Mortgage, LLC

Rocket Mortgage, LLC: NMLS#3030

Min. credit score

580

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood for: borrowers who appreciate a fully digital home loan experience with mortgage rates lower than other lenders’.
Pros
  • Streamlined online process with document and asset retrieval capabilities, as well as the ability to edit your preapproval letter.
  • Mortgage interest rates are on the low side compared to other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
  • Offers the option to work with loan officers by phone if desired.
Cons
  • Getting a customized interest rate requires a credit check, which can affect your credit score.
  • Doesn't offer home equity lines of credit.
  • Origination fees are on the high side compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
Pennymac

Pennymac: NMLS#35953

Min. credit score

580

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood for: borrowers seeking a government-backed mortgage who want to rate-shop online.
Pros
  • Offers a wide variety of loan products, including government-backed and refinance options.
  • Displays custom rate quotes based on home value, down payment or equity, ZIP code and credit score range.
  • “Lock & Shop” lets you secure a rate for up to 60 days, even if you don’t have a purchase contract yet.
Cons
  • Origination fees are on the higher end, according to the latest federal data.
  • Doesn't offer home equity lines of credit or renovation loans.
Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate: NMLS#2611

Min. credit score

580

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood for: borrowers seeking a solid variety of loan types, including jumbo and interest-only options, and a totally online experience.
Pros
  • Displays detailed sample rates for many of its loan products.
  • Offers a wide variety of loans, including jumbo and interest-only products.
  • Offers low rates compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
Cons
  • Doesn't offer home equity loans.
Network Capital

Network Capital: NMLS#11712

Min. credit score

560

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood for: borrowers looking for a lender with online convenience and mortgage banker assistance.
Pros
  • A good selection of loan products, including government-backed FHA and VA mortgages.
  • Provides “same-as-cash” loan that allows borrowers to compete with cash offers.
  • Online application process is clear and simple to follow.
Cons
  • Doesn't lend in all states.
  • Website doesn’t provide customized mortgage rates.
  • Lender fees are on the high side, according to the latest federal data.
Northpointe

Northpointe: NMLS#447490

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood 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.
  • Digital conveniences include a mobile app.
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.
Flagstar

Flagstar: NMLS#417490

Min. credit score

600

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood 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.
  • Borrowers can apply and track loan status online.
  • Offers customized online rate quotes with monthly payment estimates, including mortgage insurance, when applicable.
Cons
  • Home equity loans are geographically limited.
  • Origination fees are on the high side compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
PNC

PNC: NMLS#446303

Min. credit score

Varies

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood 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.
PenFed

PenFed: NMLS#401822

Min. credit score

620

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood for: borrowers looking for online convenience, a wide selection of mortgages and the competitive rates of a member-owned credit union.
Pros
  • Offers a broad selection of home loan products, including low-down-payment options for first-time home buyers and HELOCs.
  • Offers a lender credit, based on loan amount, for purchase mortgages.
  • Mortgage rates and fees are low compared with other lenders, according to the latest data.
Cons
  • Does not publish sample mortgage rates on its website.
  • The lender credit isn't available for refinance mortgages.
USAA

USAA: NMLS#8722

Min. credit score

640

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItGood for: veterans, active-duty service members and eligible reservists looking for VA loans.
Pros
  • VA loans are the bulk of USAA’s business, so it knows the ins and outs of eligibility.
  • Offers a conventional home loan with low down payment for first-time buyers.
  • Mortgage interest rates are on the low side compared with other lenders, according to the latest federal data.
Cons
  • Doesn’t offer FHA or USDA loans, or second mortgages.
  • Limited mortgage rate information is on the USAA website. For customized rates, you'll have to make contact.
Wintrust Mortgage

Wintrust Mortgage: NMLS#449042

Min. credit score

N/A

Min. down payment

0%

Why We Like ItWintrust 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
  • Offers specialty loans, such as construction and renovation loans and loans for second homes and investment properties.
  • Participates in first-time home buyer assistance programs in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin.
Cons
  • Sample rates for some loan products are available only by contacting a loan officer.
  • Physical locations aren't available in all states.

Qualifying for a VA loan

VA home loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and provided by private lenders. VA loans require no down payment or mortgage insurance and have competitive mortgage rates compared to other types of home loans.

Active-duty military members and veterans who meet length-of-service requirements may apply for a VA loan. Some surviving spouses may also be eligible for a VA loan.

Special fees associated with VA loans

Borrowers are required to pay a “funding fee,” which could be compared to a one-time mortgage insurance payment since it protects the VA’s interest in case you default. This fee will amount to a certain percentage of your mortgage, which is calculated based on factors like your down payment and whether or not you’ve used your VA entitlement before.

Alternatives to VA loans

You may be denied a VA home loan if you don't meet the basic VA loan eligibility requirements or don't meet a lender's financial requirements. An FHA loan, insured by the Federal Housing Administration, might be an alternative if you have a lower credit score.

Some lenders may also have their own proprietary loan programs that fit the needs of service members. For example, Navy Federal Credit Union has a Military Choice Home Loan option for borrowers who have exhausted their VA loan benefit.

More from NerdWallet

Last updated on November 1, 2023

Methodology

The star ratings on this page reflect each lender's performance in NerdWallet’s VA loans category. We scored the category and chose lenders for this page using the following methodology:

NerdWallet reviewed more than 50 mortgage lenders, including the majority of the largest U.S. mortgage lenders by annual loan volume (measured among lenders with at least a 1% market share), lenders with significant online search volume and those that specialize in serving various audiences across the country.

All reviewed mortgage lenders that offer VA loans were evaluated based on (1) the portion of their business dedicated to VA lending, (2) market share among all 2022 VA loan originations, (3) average VA loan origination fees, (4) average VA loan interest rates, (5) variety of VA loan types, (6) interest rate transparency, (7) ease of application. The highest scoring lenders appear on this page.

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 2022 HMDA data for origination volume, origination fee, average interest rate and share-of-product data.

To recap our selections...

NerdWallet's Best VA Mortgage Lenders of December 2023

  • NBKC: Best for ease of application
  • Navy Federal: Best for VA specialization
  • Veterans United: Best for VA specialization
  • Rocket Mortgage, LLC: Best for ease of application
  • Pennymac: Best for low VA interest rates
  • Guaranteed Rate: Best for rate transparency
  • Network Capital: Best for variety of VA loan types
  • Northpointe: Best for VA refinancing
  • Flagstar: Best for variety of VA loan types
  • PNC: Best for ease of application
  • PenFed: Best for low VA interest rates
  • USAA: Best for VA specialization
  • Wintrust Mortgage: Best for variety of VA loan types

Frequently asked questions

  • All VA loans are subject to rules and guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Individual VA lenders vary by the services and options they offer as well as the requirements they set for borrowers, such as minimum credit scores, however. This is why it's important to shop around to compare mortgage rates and qualification requirements.

  • VA mortgage rates fluctuate daily, just as rates for other loans do. Rates also vary by lender, and the rate you're offered will depend on a variety of factors, such as your credit score. When shopping VA lenders, compare the annual percentage rate, or APR, to get a complete picture of the true costs. The APR includes the interest rate, fees and other costs of the loan.

  • The Department of Veterans Affairs doesn't set a minimum credit score for VA loans. But lenders can have their own requirements, and they often look for scores of 620 or higher. Lenders that accept lower scores may require applicants to meet stricter standards in other areas. VA lenders will also look at other factors, such as your debt-to-income ratio, to evaluate your ability to repay the loan.

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