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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.
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
- Best for first-time home buyers: Connexus Credit Union
- Best for first-time home buyers: Alliant Credit Union
- Best for VA loans: USAA
- Best for VA loans: Navy Federal Credit Union
- Best for home equity borrowing: PenFed Credit Union
- Best for home equity borrowing: Connexus Credit Union
- Best credit unions for California residents: Golden 1 Credit Union
- Best credit unions for California residents: San Diego County Credit Union
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