Best mortgage lenders of 2022

We compared dozens of lenders to find the best mortgage lenders in the country.

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Deciding on a mortgage lender is an important decision – buying a home is one of the greatest financial undertakings in the lives of many Americans. Today, with a hot real estate market where demand is outpacing supply, choosing the mortgage lender that fits your needs and budget is vital.

No matter your style, though, there is a mortgage lender that can match your requirements. Maybe you prefer easy online portals or you’d like to meet in person at a physical branch. Perhaps you are most concerned with low APRs and origination costs. Here’s our list of the best mortgage lenders for 2022 so that you can find the right mortgage for your next home.

Best mortgage lender overall

Movement Mortgage

4.1

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Movement Mortgage logo

With numerous options that don’t require large down payments, Movement Mortgage is rated as the best mortgage lender for 2022 and the company has one of the lowest numbers of CFPB complaints. The lender sees itself as providing an important service and is an especially good choice for low- or medium-income borrowers.

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Best brick-and-mortar lender

Citibank

3.9

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Citibank logo

With very low average interest rates and physical locations in every state, Citibank has great mortgage options if you want to apply for a mortgage in-person or if you just prefer a more traditional bank experience. Citbank also has the fewest CFPB complaints of any of the “big four” banks. (You can also learn about its other financial products in our Citibank banking review.)

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Best online lender

Better

3.9

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Better logo

For the tech-savvy, it’s hard to beat the mortgage offerings at Better, which doesn’t charge any application fees, origination fees, or underwriting fees. Better’s average interest rates are also notably low and its entire application process is tailor-made for borrowers who prefer an online experience. Learn more in our full list of this year's best online mortgage lenders.

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Best lender for FHA loans

Freedom Mortgage

3.6

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Freedom Mortgage logo

One of the national leaders in offering FHA loans (Federal Housing Administration loans), Freedom Mortgage is an ideal pick if you’re planning to use the FHA-insured mortgage program. Freedom Mortgage also offers programs like rate-matching and closing cost guarantees.

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Best credit union lender

PenFed

3.4

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

PenFed logo

If you prefer to borrow from a credit union, PenFed is an excellent choice. The recent average interest rates from PenFed are the lowest among all the lenders surveyed. PenFed has multiple online calculators to help you determine how much house you can afford, and it has an easy-to-use digital mortgage application. (If you're looking for other banking products, PenFed also ranks as one of our best credit unions for 2022.)

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Best lender for learning resources

Wells Fargo

3.8

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Wells Fargo logo

With about 150 years of experience, Wells Fargo offers a wealth of online learning materials for first-time homebuyers plus helpful resources for more experienced homebuyers. Offering a wide array of loan options, the lender also has low origination fees and is available nationwide.

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Best lender for customer service

Guild Mortgage

3.6

Policygenius rating

How we score: Policygenius’ ratings are determined by our editorial team. Our methodology takes multiple factors into account, including pricing, financial ratings, quality of customer service, and other product-specific features.

Guild Mortgage logo

With the second fewest CFPB complaints overall, Guild Mortgage is renowned for its customer service. Beyond its large selection of mortgage options, Guild Mortgage is popular with younger borrowers because it also has a great online interface.

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How to choose the best mortgage for you

Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or whether you're looking for a second home, here are five tips to help you find the right mortgage.

1. Shop around

Some research at the start of your process can save you thousands of dollars in the long term. You may want to start by comparing the bank where you have a checking account to credit unions and to the latest crop of online-only lenders. (Our list of this year’s best banks and credit unions can also give you a place to start.) You are making a major life decision and you owe it to yourself to shop around so you can make the right choice.

2. Consider factors beyond price

While APR and closing fees should majorly factor into your decision-making process, consider elements beyond the numbers. Customer service, geographic footprint, and online usability are make-or-break factors in some cases. Read reviews online and talk to all your friends and family who are homeowners to see what they like and dislike about their current lender and about their own application process.

3. Bolster your credit

While improving your credit score takes time, it is always wise to think about how you can present your best financial self to lenders. For example, aggressively paying down outstanding debts before you start home shopping could raise your credit score and give you access to better loan rates. Additionally, you can strengthen your credit by applying for higher credit limits – this improves your credit utilization ratio (assuming you don’t increase your spending to match the higher limits). You should start thinking about your credit long before applying for a mortgage, but even if you are far along in the process, you can take action to boost your credit scores.

4. Plan out a budget

Create a household budget comparing your income to expenses and debt repayments. Consider how monthly mortgage payments will affect your debt-to-income ratio. Lenders will do this anyway, so you should know what they might flag. Most — but not all — lenders will want you to have a debt-to-income ratio of 43% or less. Understanding what a mortgage will cost you every month will also provide you a snapshot of what your finances will look like after you become a homeowner.

5. Read all fine print

Do not breeze over any mortgage agreement you are about to sign. Ensure that you understand the interest rates, monthly payments, closing costs, and down payments you are agreeing to. Find out what happens if you are late with a payment. Pay special attention to any fees you weren’t made aware of during the application and scan the document for errors. With a decision this big, you want to make sure you fully understand everything you’re about to get into. 

FHA loans vs. conventional loans

For many people, choosing a mortgage means deciding between a conventional loan and an FHA loan.

FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and they’re a good option for homebuyers who have a lower credit score — like in the 500s — and who can only afford a small down payment. For example, someone who can only make a 5% down payment may have an easier time getting an FHA loan.

Conventional loans, which are insured by banks, credit unions, or other financial institutions, usually require a higher credit score and a down payment much closer to 20%. So conventional loans may be harder to get for some buyers, but they have a much less strict inspection process compared to FHA loans. Conventional loans may also prove cheaper over the long-term because you’re paying a higher down payment (meaning a smaller loan amount) and your higher credit score likely qualifies you for lower interest rates.

If you’re unsure which option to choose, try our full guide to FHA loans vs. conventional loans.

Mortgage vs. home equity loan

Mortgages and home equity loans are similar in that borrowers agree to offer up the property in question as collateral, meaning that if you default on your mortgage or your home equity loan, the lender can seize your home.

In most cases, when you are talking about mortgages, you mean a loan used to buy a property in the first place. According to the agreement with your lender, you pay a down payment (often as close to 20% of the property’s value as you can afford) and the lender offers a mortgage for the rest of the value of the property. As you repay the mortgage to the lender, you accumulate equity in the property over time until you eventually own the entire property outright.

Home equity loans are actually sometimes called second mortgages, but they differ from traditional mortgages in some key ways. Most importantly, you can only apply for a home equity loan after you buy a property and accumulate some equity in it. So as you accrue equity, you can leverage it and apply for home equity loans using your equity as collateral. 

For example, let’s say you are paying off a mortgage for a property valued in total at $250,000. Your initial mortgage was for 20% of this price, or $50,000. After some time, you have paid back $75,000 of the mortgage, so you now own $125,000 in homeowner’s equity. Assuming you are considered creditworthy, you can take out a new home equity loan that would utilize that $125,000 in equity as collateral.

We rated the best mortgage lenders based on what we believe consumers care about most. The mortgage lenders we reviewed originated high volumes of mortgages, but the lenders ran the gamut from tens of thousands of loan applications per year to over one million. We also chose lenders from across different business models: traditional banks and credit unions, online-only mortgage lenders, and nonbank mortgage origination companies.

Methodology

Using data collected in accordance with the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act and released by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (a division of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau), we examined millions of mortgage applications initiated in 2020 and issued a rating for each lender using Policygenius’ unique scoring model.

We compared each lender across four metrics: the interest rates offered by the lender, the origination fees charged by the lender, the number of complaints made to the CFPB about the lender, and the lender's loan offerings. Each metric was scored on a scale of 1 to 5, and then each lender's four scores were averaged into a single rating. Below are breakdowns of each metric.

Interest and fees methodology

To calculate the scores for lenders’ average interest rates and origination fees, we reviewed only originated mortgages that met the following criteria.

  • Loan type: Conventional

  • Loan purpose: Home purchase

  • Loan amount: $250,000 to $1,000,000, which covers a mix of FHA mortgages, conforming mortgages, and jumbo mortgages

  • Household income: $100,000 or higher

  • Combined loan to value ratio: 50 or higher

  • Term: 30 years

We did not include any interest-only mortgages, mortgages that included a balloon payment, lines of credit, reverse mortgages, or mortgages for a business or commercial purpose.

Our interest rates and fees scores don’t necessarily reflect what the lender is offering on its website. Rather, they are the rates and fees recorded by the FFIEC among mortgages that conformed to our criteria. Borrowers may be offered a range of incentives to receive a lower APR or pay lower fees, so our scores indicate a baseline measure and your actual experience with your lender may vary.

Complaints to the CFPB

We also looked at how often borrowers or applicants complained to the CFPB about the lender. These complaints could mean anything from having trouble applying or paying for a mortgage to experiencing outright fraud or discrimination. This score covers the total number of complaints about the lender for the year 2020 divided by the number of applications (not just originated mortgages), since many would-be borrowers encounter an issue during the application process. Although all lenders have relatively few complaints against them, some had much larger proportions than others.

Offerings

Most lenders offer a variety of types of home loans. For the purposes of this scoring model, we looked at the four mortgage types defined by the FFIEC:

  • Conventional loans

  • FHA loans

  • VA loans

  • USDA/RHS loans

The vast majority of loans originated by the lenders we reviewed were conventional mortgages, meaning that they are not backed by any government program, as FHA, VA and USDA/RHS loans are. Government-backed loans may be more affordable than conventional loans, but they often have strict income or residency requirements.

We gave higher scores for offering more products. However, we did not consider fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages, jumbo loans, refinances, or home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) as distinct mortgage types.