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We spent over 400 hours reviewing the top mortgage lenders before selecting the best for our readers. We’ve picked at least two lenders in several "best of" categories to help you find a lender that meets your needs.
Mortgage shopping means making head-spinning choices, which is why NerdWallet reviews, rates and compares lenders to help with your decisions. Whether you’ve got your eye on a frame two-flat in Lincoln Square, a Bridgeport brick condo or a Hyde Park bungalow, these lenders are a solid place to start your search.
Here, we’ve included national and local lenders that lead the pack in Chicago, including some of the best for traditional lending, government loans, home equity borrowing, jumbo mortgages and first-time homeowners.
National and regional mortgage lenders in Chicago
These national and regional companies are among Chicago’s top lenders. We’ve highlighted some of their strengths in five categories.
Best traditional Chicago mortgage lenders
These companies have long experience in mortgage lending. They operate in every state and offer a full array of home loans, including some unique products.
- Conventional, FHA and jumbo purchase and refinance mortgages.
- Discounted fees or rates for Citi customers.
- Mortgage loans from $10,000 to $8 million.
- CitiMortgage review.
- No mortgage origination or application fees.
- Dozens of Chicago branches and ATM locations.
- FHA, USDA, VA mortgages, home equity purchase and refinance, construction and lot loans.
- US Bank review.
Best Chicago mortgage lenders for government loans
Government-backed mortgages require plenty of experience, and these lenders have it, along with varied product choices and a consumer-friendly approach.
- Offers all three government loan programs: FHA, USDA and VA.
- Accepts borrowers with little savings but solid income, credit score and credit history.
- Website users can see APRs alongside the lender’s interest rates.
- Guaranteed Rate review.
- Expert at VA and FHA lending.
- Offers VA purchase and refinance, cash-out refi and VA streamline refinance (IRRRL).
- Numerous FHA options, including cash-out and streamline refinance.
- LoanDepot review.
Best Chicago mortgage lenders for home equity lending
Rising prices are increasing home values in many regions. These national lenders offer several ways to access and use your equity.
- Minimum $10,000 home equity line of credit (HELOC) and $1,000 home equity loan.
- Possible to refinance into a first-lien, fixed-rate home equity loan.
- Rate discounts for automatic payments from PNC checking account.
- PNC Mortgage review.
- Home equity loans from $10,000 to $500,000.
- Home equity lines of credit from $10,000 to $1,000,000.
- Also offers home renovation mortgages and three construction loan options.
- Flagstar Bank review.
Best Chicago mortgage lenders for jumbo loans
These lenders offer jumbo shoppers expertise, flexibility and a solid choice of products.
- Jumbo loans up to $3 million.
- Jumbo refis with up to $500,000 cash-out.
- All jumbos available with fixed or adjustable rate.
- Offers a 5/1 VA jumbo ARM and VA fixed-rate jumbos with 15-, 25- and 30-year terms.
- Quicken Loans review.
- Jumbos available for primary residence, second home and investment properties.
- Fixed- and adjustable-rate jumbo loans.
- Offers VA, FHA, USDA, conventional and reverse mortgages and renovation loans.
- Refinance options include cash-out.
- Fairway Independent Mortgage review.
Best Chicago mortgage lenders for first-time home buyers
These traditional banks have much to offer first-timers, including in-house options for borrowers with modest incomes and limited savings for a down payment.
- Offers a mortgage option with 3% down payment and no mortgage insurance. Income limits apply.
- Accepts nontraditional credit data (rent and utility payments) for some loan products.
- Offers FHA and VA mortgages, allowing 3.5% down payments and lower credit scores.
- Bank of America review.
- Low-down-payment and lower-credit-score mortgage options include FHA and VA loans.
- Conventional loan with 3% down payment and no mortgage insurance may be an option.
- May qualify with nontraditional credit (for example, child support and rent payments).
- CitiMortgage review.
» MORE: Compare Chicago mortgage rates
Local mortgage lenders in Chicago
These local and regional lenders offer a widely varied selection of products and familiarity with the Chi-Town market. These lenders have not been reviewed by NerdWallet.
- Offers jumbo loans for primary homes and financing for investment properties and second homes.
- Offers FHA, VA, USDA, conventional and jumbo purchase and refinance loans.
- Funds reverse mortgages, renovation loans, second homes and investment properties.
- Headquartered in Chicago with branches in Chicago and surrounding communities, and licensed in 33 states.
- Works with non-U.S. citizens and borrowers needing flexibility to qualify.
- Your stocks, bonds and retirement accounts may help you qualify for a mortgage.
- Full menu of USDA, VA, FHA, conventional and jumbo purchase, refinance and renovation loans.
- Lender-paid mortgage insurance programs with no upfront fee.
- Lends on hard-to-finance non-warrantable condominiums and helps condo developments meet FHA and conventional guidelines.
- Corporate offices in Downers Grove, Illinois, and licensed to sell mortgages in 46 states.
- Option for first-time home buyers and buyers interested in mortgages for high-value properties, second homes and real-estate investments.
- Jumbo loans up to $6 million.
- Offers FHA, VA, USDA, conventional, HELOCs and reverse mortgages.
- Down payment assistance of up to $2,000 for qualified first-time home buyers.
- Offers fixed and ARM FHA, VA and conventional purchase and refinance loans.
- Construction loans and bridge loans available.
- Other products include home equity lines of credit.
- Over 270 locations in Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
- Offers quick turnaround on loans and touts a personalized approach.
- Loan options include FHA, VA, conventional, USDA and reverse purchase and refinance loans.
- Fixed-rate term options of 10, 15, 20 and 30 years.
- Jumbos up to $1.5 million with 15-, 20- and 30-year fixed-rate terms; jumbo ARMs fixed for 5, 7 or 10 years.
- Online videos educate borrowers about the home loan process.
- Has 10 branches in the Chicago area and offers mortgages in 34 states.
Best Chicago mortgage lenders: Summary
CitiMortgage: Best overall
US Bank: Best overall
Guaranteed Rate: Best for government loans
LoanDepot: Best for government loans
PNC Mortgage: Best for home equity lending
Flagstar Bank: Best for home equity lending
Quicken Loans: Best for jumbo loans
Fairway Independent Mortgage: Best for jumbo loans
Bank of America: Best for first-time home buyers
CitiMortgage: Best for first-time home buyers
Perl Mortgage: Top local lender
Draper & Kramer Mortgage Corp.: Top local lender
Barrington Bank & Trust: Top local lender
Associated Bank: Top local lender
Peoples Home Equity: Top local lender
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