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Best Non-Bank 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.

Gone are the days when buying a home meant getting dressed up to visit the loan officer at your local bank.

Non-bank lenders provide a welcome alternative to traditional banks, especially for credit-challenged borrowers or those looking for a more streamlined mortgage experience.

NerdWallet picked some of the best non-bank mortgage lenders in a variety of categories so you can quickly determine which one is right for you.

Best non-bank lenders for first-time home buyers

These lenders have the perfect combination of flexible requirements, loan options and industry experience to help you buy your first home.

Quicken Loans
  • The largest Federal Housing Administration lender in the nation
  • Has a full complement of mortgage products for buying and refinancing
  • Offers a technology-friendly loan process with access to mortgage advisors as well
  • Quicken Loans review
  • Caters to minority and low-income borrowers
  • Offers loans for manufactured housing
  • Helps borrowers find state-sponsored down payment assistance and grant programs
  • New American Funding review

Best non-bank lenders for refinancing

These lenders have refinance options to lower your monthly payment or shorten your loan term, and their online tools aren’t half bad either.

  • A “Lifetime Guarantee” refinance program offers special benefits for repeat customers
  • A rate comparison page offers head-to-head shopping with competitors
  • Technology upgrades are enhancing the customer experience
  • loanDepot review
  • Though it has expanded its services, Lenda began as a mortgage refinance-only lender; that remains its specialty
  • Offers a paperless process
  • Borrowers can review different loan terms and rate options with their online quotes
  • Lenda review

Best non-bank lenders for veterans

As a veteran, you’re eligible for programs that make home ownership more affordable. These lenders can help.

  • Serves veterans and active-duty military personnel with full range of government loans, including USDA, VA and FHA
  • Low complaint volume with CFPB
  • Largest lender of VA purchase mortgages
  • Veterans United Home Loans review
  • Government loan specialist offering VA, FHA and USDA loans, along with conventional mortgages
  • Loans to borrowers with nontraditional credit, employment and income sources
  • Has a mobile app and full online application and loan tracking
  • Alterra Home Loans review

Best non-bank lenders for a low down payment

Little or no money for a down payment? With these lenders, homeownership is still within reach.

  • Specializes in loans to borrowers with lower credit scores, minimum score 550 in some cases
  • Offers down payment assistance programs through housing authorities in some states
  • Requires online education course for borrowers
  • Carrington Mortgage review
  • Considers nontraditional credit history items such as rent payments
  • Easy-to-navigate website with plenty of explanatory articles and videos
  • Offers a comprehensive range of loans: fixed rate, ARMs, jumbo, conventional and HELOC
  • PNC Mortgage review

Best non-bank lenders for customer service

Want to feel like a VIP? These lenders get top marks when it comes to customer service.

  • Jumbo borrowers are supported by 24-hour customer service via call center, mobile app and email
  • No application, origination or other lender fees
  • Application and loan tracking services available online
  • Fairway Independent Mortgage review
  • Website offers a wealth of educational material
  • Minimum credit score: 550 for government-backed loans
  • Licensed in all 50 states; branch locations in 30 states
  • HomeBridge Financial Services review

Best non-bank mortgage lenders: summary

More from NerdWallet
Learn more about alternative mortgage lenders
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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.