Best VA Loan Lenders

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VA loans are a type of mortgage loan backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Through the VA program, loans are issued via private banks, credit unions, and other lenders, and guaranteed by the VA. This helps military service members and their families buy a home with no down payment and easier qualification requirements compared to traditional mortgages. 

When choosing a VA loan, it’s important to consider the costs, the application process, customer service, and the online loan management experience, among other factors. The best VA loan lenders will be competitive in all or most of these categories.

The Best VA Loan Lenders of 2021

Best Overall : Veterans United Home Loans


Veterans United Home Loans
Courtesy of Veterans United Home Loans

Veterans United Home Loans specializes in just one thing: VA loans. That’s one reason why it earned the top spot on our list. Veterans United was the third-largest originator of VA loans in 2020 (the largest in 2019). It offers excellent interest rates and has garnered solid reviews.

However, there is no consumer mobile app, which may irritate some users. And if your credit score is lower than the recommended 660, you may benefit from Veterans United’s credit building program, but you may not qualify for a loan.

What we like
  • Specializes in VA loans.

  • High-volume VA lender with low rates and good ratings.

  • Program to help low-credit borrowers build their credit to buy a home.

What we don't like
  • Relatively low-tech experience.

  • Relatively high recommended minimum credit score.

Best Online : Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans


Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans

 Rocket Mortgage from Quicken Loans

Quicken Loans was the second-largest VA loan originator in 2020 and the largest mortgage originator in the U.S. It has several J.D. Power wins, including seven years as the highest-ranked mortgage servicer in J.D. Power’s U.S. Primary Mortgage Servicer Satisfaction Study.

Rocket Mortgage, its online mortgage application platform, is one of the simplest and fastest mortgage applications to use. Due to the efficiency of its online lending platform coupled with competitive loan rates and strong customer service, Quicken Loans wins our top ranking for the best online VA loan lender.

Quicken requires a minimum 620 credit score for VA loans.

What we like
  • A high-tech lender with a modern online application and mobile app.

  • One of the highest-volume VA loan originators in the U.S.

What we don't like
  • Not specifically dedicated to servicing veterans or VA loans.

  • Relatively high recommended minimum credit score.

Best Bank : USAA


USAA

 USAA

USAA is a bank built exclusively for military members, veterans, and their families. USAA earns excellent ratings for many of its products (notably insurance) thanks to competitive rates and stellar customer service: It was the top scorer for overall customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power study. It also features an online VA loan eligibility tool to help you understand your eligibility and how to apply.

USAA originates its VA loans using an easy-to-follow online process, including an online preapproval application. USAA was the fifth-largest VA loan originator in 2020.

What we like
  • Specializes in military households.

  • Offers a wide range of financial products.

  • Excellent customer satisfaction.

What we don't like
  • Strict membership requirements.

Best Credit Union : Navy Federal Credit Union


Navy Federal Credit Union

 Navy Federal Credit Union

It may have “Navy” in the name, but members of any branch of the U.S. military or Department of Defense personnel can join Navy Federal Credit Union. Navy Federal offers VA loans with the lowest APRs on our list and also received high marks for customer satisfaction in the J.D. Power study. It also has a partnership with RealtyPlus to help you find a local real estate agent.

Navy Federal Credit Union could be a good home for all of your finances, including checking, savings, and credit cards. For 2020, Navy Federal is the sixth-largest originator of VA home loans.

What we like
  • A nonprofit credit union with a military focus.

  • Excellent rates and fees.

  • Excellent customer service.

What we don't like
  • Small branch network.

  • Strict membership requirements.

Best for Fair Credit : Freedom Mortgage


freedome mortgage logo

Freedom Mortgage

According to VA data, Freedom Mortgage is the largest originator of VA loans for 2020. It has a major focus on VA loans and is more likely to work with applicants with lower credit scores than other lenders who made our list. For example, Veterans United only works with applicants with scores of 660 or higher, whereas Freedom will work with borrowers who have scores as low as 580.

Freedom Mortgage offers several features, including an automated text alert system when rates drop or the value of your home increases, and a low-rate guarantee (for purchase loans), which is nice considering it doesn’t disclose rates on its site. It also gives any web visitor access to a slew of helpful resources, including mortgage calculators and borrower education materials.

What we like
  • The largest originator of VA loans for 2020.

  • An automated system that may help you save through a loan refinance.

  • Best for fair credit borrowers.

What we don't like
  • No fully-online application.

  • Doesn’t post current rates online.

  • Below-average customer service scores from J.D. Power.

Compare Providers

Lender Why We Picked It Minimum Recommended Credit Score
Veterans United Home Loans Best Overall 660
Quicken Loans Best Online Lender 620
USAA Best Bank 640
Navy Federal Credit Union Best Credit Union Not disclosed
Freedom Mortgage Best for Fair Credit 580 

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is a VA Loan?

VA loans are issued through private lenders, but a portion of the loan is guaranteed by the VA. This helps veterans qualify for loans with better terms and lower lending requirements relative to conventional mortgages.

Qualifying applicants can get a VA loan with 0% down and no private mortgage insurance (PMI), which can lead to significant savings and remove hurdles that might otherwise prevent some vets from buying a home.

Are VA Loans Only for Veterans?

To qualify for a VA loan, you will have to meet length-of-service requirements and obtain a valid Certificate of Eligibility (COE). In some cases, spouses or dependents may be eligible. The application process differs to get your COE depending on the nature of your service. Veterans will need a copy of discharge or separation papers (DD214) to get a COE.

Does a VA Loan Require a Down Payment?

One of the biggest perks of a VA loan is the option to borrow with no money down. This could help you get a home sooner or afford a more expensive home than you could have purchased with a traditional mortgage.

How We Picked the Best VA Loan Lenders

To choose the best VA lenders, we reviewed the top banks, credit unions, and online VA lenders by volume. The most important considerations included interest rates and fees, customer service reviews, the application process (including online and mobile application platforms), minimum recommended credit scores, and category-specific features.

Article Sources

  1. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. "VA Home Loans." Accessed Feb. 18, 2021.

  2. Quicken Loans. "Fast Facts." Accessed Feb. 18, 2021.

  3. J.D. Power. "COVID-19 Pandemic Increases Customer Expectations of Mortgage Services, J.D. Power Finds." Accessed Feb. 18, 2021.