PenFed Credit Union Mortgage Review 2023

Good for: borrowers looking for online convenience, a wide selection of mortgages and the competitive rates of a member-owned credit union.
By Phil Metzger 

Some or all of the mortgage lenders featured on our site are advertising partners of NerdWallet, but this does not influence our evaluations, lender star ratings or the order in which lenders are listed on the page. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners.

Our Take


NerdWallet rating 

The bottom line:

PenFed Credit Union has a digital mortgage application, offers a wide selection of mortgages and has an open membership charter, meaning anyone is eligible to join. But it does not publish sample mortgage rates on its website.

PenFed: NMLS#401822
Min. credit score
Min. down payment
Loan types and products
Purchase, Refinance, Home Equity, Jumbo, Fixed, Adjustable, VA

Pros & Cons


  • Offers a broad selection of home loan products, including low-down-payment options for first-time home buyers and HELOCs.
  • Offers a lender credit, based on loan amount, for purchase mortgages.
  • Mortgage rates and fees are low compared with other lenders, according to the latest data.


  • Does not publish sample mortgage rates on its website.
  • The lender credit isn't available for refinance mortgages.

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Full Review

What borrowers say about PenFed mortgage

NerdWallet’s lender star ratings assess objective qualities, including rates, fees and loan offerings. To assess borrowers’ subjective experiences with lenders, NerdWallet has gathered customer satisfaction ratings from Zillow.

  • PenFed received a customer rating of 4.58 out of 5 on Zillow, as of the date of publication. The score reflects more than 90 reviews.

PenFed mortgage variety of loan types

  • 5 of 5 stars

The Pentagon Federal Credit Union, known as PenFed, offers fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, including jumbo loans, government-backed VA loans and FHA loans, and conventional mortgages with down payment requirements as low as 3%.

PenFed also offers a lender credit to home buyers when their mortgages close. The credit, which is available only for purchase mortgages, is $500 to $2,500, depending on the loan amount.


The lender also offers a home equity line of credit, or HELOC. These second mortgages are one way for homeowners to access existing home equity without refinancing or selling their home. Funds obtained with a second mortgage can be used for expenses such as home improvements, education costs or debt consolidation.

PenFed’s HELOC offers a 10-year draw period and a 20-year repayment period, with interest-only payments allowed during the draw period. The HELOC allows borrowers to switch from a variable to a fixed interest rate.

PenFed mortgage ease of application

  • 5 of 5 stars

To apply for a PenFed mortgage, you can call a toll-free number or fill out a form online to have a loan officer call you. You can also fill out an application for mortgage preapproval online. PenFed's digital capabilities allow for electronic signature, online document upload and online mortgage status updates.

While PenFed offers mortgage loans nationwide, actual brick-and-mortar locations are limited to about a dozen states.

PenFed mortgage rates and fees

  • 4.5 of 5 stars

  • PenFed earns 4 of 5 stars for average origination fee.

  • PenFed earns 5 of 5 stars for average mortgage interest rates.

Borrowers should consider the balance between lender fees and mortgage rates. While it's not always the case, paying upfront fees can lower your mortgage interest rate. Some lenders will charge higher upfront fees to lower their advertised interest rate and make it more attractive. Some lenders just charge higher upfront fees.

PenFed mortgage rate transparency

  • 1 of 5 stars

PenFed does not publish sample mortgage rates on its website. Online personalized rates based on location, credit score or other factors are available only once you provide contact information.

Alternatives to PenFed mortgage

Here are some comparable lenders we review that borrowers can consider. Flagstar Bank offers HELOCs and Veterans United specializes in VA loans.

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More from NerdWallet


NerdWallet’s overall ratings for mortgage lenders are evaluated based on four major categories: variety of loan types (purchase, refinance, fixed and adjustable, for example), ease of application, rates and fees and rate transparency. Among the factors we consider when scoring these categories are options to apply for and track loans online, the level of detail about mortgage rates on lender websites and our analysis of the rates and fees lenders reported in the latest available Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data. These scores generate ratings from 1 star (poor) to 5 stars (excellent).