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Best Credit Union Mortgage Lenders of 2018

Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
At NerdWallet, we adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.
We adhere to strict standards of editorial integrity. Some of the products we feature are from our partners. Here’s how we make money.

NerdWallet offers financial tools and advice to help you understand your options and make the best possible decisions. The guidance we offer and information we provide are deeply researched, objective and independent.

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.

You may have heard good things about credit union mortgages. Credit unions are member-owned nonprofit organizations that use their profits to reduce costs and fees, and to offer higher savings rates.

Credit unions can excel at financial education and customer service, making them a good place to shop for a mortgage. And credit union mortgage rates may be more competitive than rates from banks or other lenders.

These credit unions rise to the top of the heap for first-time home buyers, VA loans, home equity products and California residents.

Credit unions for first-time home buyer mortgages

These lenders offer credit union mortgages, programs, tools and support for first-time home buyers.

  • Offers in-house mortgage with 3% down payment and mortgage insurance that can be canceled at 80% LTV
  • Sign and upload documents in online application, and manage the loan with a mobile app
  • Minimum credit score: 600
  • Connexus Credit Union review
  • In-house first-time home buyer loans require just 3% to 5% down
  • Personalized service with focus on digital tools
  • 0% down payment available for well-qualified first-time buyers
  • Alliant Credit Union review

Credit unions for VA home loans

These lenders offer U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs mortgages (VA loans) to the military community.

  • 65% of mortgages are VA-backed
  • Products include mortgages, banking, loans, credit cards, insurance and investment advice
  • Charges origination fee of 1 point (1.0%), or $2,000 on a $200,000 mortgage, for example
  • USAA Mortgage Loans review
  • Lending to military home buyers is a priority
  • Loan origination fee of 1% can be financed or waived for a higher rate
  • Alternative credit, including utility and rent payments, is considered as part of the entire financial picture
  • Navy Federal Mortgage review

Best credit unions for home equity borrowing

You’ll find many and varied options for home equity borrowing at credit union mortgage rates.

  • Cash-out refinance available
  • Offers home equity loans and three types of HELOCs, with 5/5 ARM and interest-only options
  • Membership open to those who have no military affiliation but support a military organization
  • PenFed Mortgage review
  • Offers home equity loans and two types of HELOCs
  • 5/1 ARM available for borrowing up to 90% of equity
  • Add and e-sign documents in online application and manage the loan details in mobile app
  • Connexus Credit Union review

Best California credit unions

Californians have access to numerous credit unions. Here are two of the best.

  • Offers a variety of purchase and refinance loans, including jumbo, FHA and home equity
  • If using a Preferred Realtor, borrower earns 25% discount on agent commission to apply toward closing costs
  • Members are eligible for discounts on homeowners insurance and other policies
  • Golden 1 Credit Union review
  • Members must live or work in San Diego, Riverside or Orange counties, or be members of the Financial Fitness Association
  • Offers HELOCs and 10- or 15-year fixed-rate home equity loans
  • Fixed- and variable-rate conventional loans in a variety of terms, and three 5/5 ARMs
  • San Diego County Credit Union mortgage review

Best Credit Union lenders: summary

More from NerdWallet

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.