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Best USDA Mortgage Lenders in 2019

July 13, 2017
Finding the Right Mortgage, Mortgages
NerdWallet adheres to strict standards of editorial integrity to help you make decisions with confidence. Some of the products we feature are from 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.

If you’re planning to buy a home in a rural area, or even in a suburb, a USDA loan may be an option for you. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers these zero-down-payment loans to home buyers who qualify. The property must be in an eligible area of the country, and borrowers must meet certain income requirements. The USDA issues some loans itself and guarantees USDA loans offered through other lenders, such as those listed below.

» MORE: Lower your debt load

NerdWallet has picked some of the best USDA mortgage lenders in a variety of categories to help you decide which is the right lender for you.

Best USDA mortgage lenders for borrowers with weaker credit

These USDA lenders help borrowers with limited credit histories, weak or damaged credit or a nontraditional credit profile.

4.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Uses manual underwriting to evaluate borrowers, which allows flexibility in loan approvals
  • Offers full online mortgage application, rate quotes, document upload and loan tracking
  • Charges a flat, low origination fee instead of the 1% of the loan amount you often see
  • New American Funding review
4.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Specializes in loans to borrowers with lower credit scores.
  • Participates in down payment assistance programs in some states.
  • Free rate locks.
  • Vylla Mortgage review

USDA mortgage lenders with the best online experience

These lenders offer a fast, automated mortgage process that borrowers can complete via computer or mobile phone.

Quicken Loans
4.5 NerdWallet rating
  • The largest lender, by volume in the U.S., now offering USDA loans
  • You can get a mortgage decision online in just minutes
  • Its Rocket Mortgage app is particularly appealing to tech-friendly users
  • Quicken Loans review
Costco First Choice
4.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Licensed in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
  • Operates as a mortgage marketplace that gives you access to multiple lenders in one place
  • Has a robust, mobile-enhanced website that automates the mortgage application process
  • Costco mortgage review

Best overall mortgage lenders for USDA loans

These USDA lenders are highly rated by NerdWallet and their customers, offer accessible customer support and provide easy-to-use websites with online mortgage applications and tools. 

4.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Full online application process, secure document uploads and digital signature acceptance
  • Boasts a 95% customer satisfaction rate
  • Has more than 3,400 employees in 205 offices across the country for in-person service
  • Guaranteed Rate review
suntrust mortgage
4.0 NerdWallet rating
  • Offers borrowers assistance at every point during the mortgage process
  • Website offers educational materials and a streamlined loan process
  • Provides customer service in its physical locations, online and via chat or phone
  • SunTrust mortgage review

USDA mortgage lenders with the best customer service

These lenders are ideal for USDA loan borrowers who want help from a human during the mortgage process and easy access to customer service.

4.0 NerdWallet rating
  • 24/7 customer service via call center, mobile app and email
  • No application, origination or other lender fees
  • Online application and loan tracking service
  • Fairway Independent Mortgage review
4.0 NerdWallet rating
  • Loan officers guide you through the process
  • Has a full online application and a mobile app that allows loan tracking for all parties involved, plus communication with your loan officer
  • Lends to borrowers with nontraditional credit, employment or income sources
  • Alterra Home Loans review

Best traditional USDA lenders

These traditional USDA mortgage lenders have branch locations nationwide for in-person service.

3.5 NerdWallet rating
  • The leading originator and servicer of residential mortgages for 24 out of the past 25 years
  • You have to apply in person or on the phone but you can track your mortgage progress online
  • Minimum credit score of 620, though alternative credit data may be considered for certain loan products
  • Wells Fargo mortgage review

PNC Mortgage

3.5 NerdWallet rating
  • Considers nontraditional credit histories such as rental payments
  • Easy-to-navigate website with plenty of explanatory articles and videos
  • Lends in all 50 states with more than 2,600 retail banking branches and a network of retail mortgage offices nationwide
  • PNC Mortgage review


Best USDA mortgage lenders: summary

More from NerdWallet
Mortgage calculator
What is a USDA loan?
Get a mortgage preapproval

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.