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10 Best VA Mortgage Lenders of October 2020

NerdWalletMarch 20, 2020

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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 2020.

NOTE: Due to the coronavirus outbreak, obtaining a mortgage may be a bit of a challenge. Lenders are dealing with demand and staffing issues. If you can’t pay your current home loan, refer to our mortgage assistance resource. For the latest information on how to cope with financial stress during this emergency, see NerdWallet’s financial guide to COVID-19.

For active military and veterans looking for a VA loan, finding the right lender is important. It can also be a challenge.

You want to work with a lender that knows the Department of Veterans Affairs mortgage program inside and out so you can benefit from its many perks. You also want one that can get you a mortgage as quickly and efficiently as possible.

NerdWallet picked some of the best mortgage lenders offering VA loans in a variety of categories so you can quickly decide which is right for you.

Summary of Best VA Mortgage Lenders of October 2020

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at New American

New American Funding: NMLS#6606

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Min. Credit Score

700

Min. Down Payment

3%

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 FHA and VA 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 Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans: NMLS#3030

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Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at Quicken Loans


Why we like it

Good for: borrowers looking for just about all of 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 many working Americans.

  • Offers custom fixed-rate loan terms that are between eight and 30 years.

  • Provides a wide variety of loan types, including renovation loans and all government-backed mortgage products.

Cons

  • Quicken Loans doesn't offer home equity loans or HELOCs.

  • Quicken's lender fees can be stout and they don't offset those fees with particularly low mortgage rates.

Read Full Review
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at BNC National Bank

BNC National Bank: NMLS#418467

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Min. Credit Score

640

Min. Down Payment

3%

at BNC National Bank


Why we like it

Good for: First-time home buyers and others who want low-down-payment loan options.

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.

  • No rate information is available without beginning an application.

Read Full Review
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at Fairway

Fairway Independent Mortgage: NMLS#2289

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Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at Fairway


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.

Read Full Review
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at Veterans United

Veterans United: NMLS#1907

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Min. Credit Score

660

Min. Down Payment

0%

at Veterans United


Why we like it

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

Pros

  • Offers 24/7 customer service over the phone.

  • Has online application and pre-qualification.

  • 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 18 states.

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

  • Charges higher rates and fees than some other lenders.

Read Full Review
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at NBKC Bank

NBKC: NMLS#409631

Great for first-time home buyers | digital convenience | customer service

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Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%

at NBKC Bank


Why we like it

Good for borrowers with solid credit who want to pay low fees and get an online experience with phone support. VA loans are an emphasis.

Pros

  • Offers low rates and fees when compared with other lenders.

  • Extends full online capabilities, from application to loan tracking.

  • Displays customized rates, with fee estimates, without requiring contact information.

Cons

  • Equity lines and construction loans are available only in the Kansas City metro area.

  • Doesn’t offer renovation loans.

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Veterans First Mortgage: NMLS#449042

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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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Caliber: NMLS#15622

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Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

Good for: first-time home buyers, veterans and those who may have credit challenges to overcome.

Pros

  • Offers extensive educational resources for military borrowers.

  • Provides digital tools for a streamlined application process.

  • Participates in some state down payment assistance and first-time homebuyer programs.

Cons

  • No mortgage rates displayed online.

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

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Navy Federal: NMLS#399807

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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.

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.

Read Full Review

Alterra: NMLS#133739

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Min. Credit Score

620

Min. Down Payment

3%


Why we like it

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

Pros

  • Offers an ITIN qualification path for undocumented borrowers.

  • 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

VA mortgage FAQs

Who is eligible for a VA loan?

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.

Who is the best lender for VA loans?

All VA loans are subject to rules and guidelines set by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, but no two VA lenders are exactly alike. VA lenders have unique business goals. They vary by the services and options they offer as well as the requirements they set for borrowers, such as minimum credit scores. The best VA lender for you will depend on your circumstances and needs. This is why it's important to shop around to compare mortgage rates and qualification requirements.

What is the current interest rate for VA loans?

VA mortgage rates may fluctuate on a daily basis, 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 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.

What credit score do you need to qualify for a VA loan?

The Department of Veterans Affairs, which guarantees VA loans, doesn't set a minimum credit score. But lenders can have their own requirements, which typically range from 580 to 620. VA lenders will also look at other factors, such as your debt-to-income ratio, to evaluate your ability to repay the loan.

Can I be denied a VA home loan?

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.

More from NerdWallet

Last updated on March 20, 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 VA Mortgage Lenders of October 2020