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Best Mortgage Lenders By Category

A report based on a recent survey of consumers who were shopping for a residential loan has identified the best home lenders in a variety of categories — including government programs, jumbo loans and online services.

The 10-question survey of prospective mortgage borrowers found that before they applied for a home loan, 40 percent checked their credit report or credit score.

Saving for a down payment was cited by 36 percent. More than a quarter reported that they paid down debt, while nearly a quarter indicated they reduced spending.

The results were reported by U.S. News, which conducted the nationwide survey from June 26 through July 1.

The report indicated that
U.S. News determined many mortgage shoppers don’t spend enough time researching home loans or comparing lenders — with 41 percent spending less than an hour. But nearly a third spent at least five hours researching a prospective lender.

Similarly, while 46 percent of shoppers obtained just a single quote before choosing a lender, more than half obtained multiple quotes.

Nearly a third of borrowers found their lender based on a company they have already used. A quarter were referred by a Realtor, friend or relative.

The highest-rated
home lender for customer satisfaction was — no surprise — Quicken Loans Inc. The Detroit-based company has been ranked as the No. 1 mortgage lender for customer satisfaction by J.D. Power for eight consecutive years.

“It processes applications online through a user-friendly system that verifies information quickly,” U.S. News said. “Through its Rocket Mortgage platform, you may be able to get a decision on your loan within a few minutes of completing your application. The program offers a full online experience from application to closing and servicing.”

Guaranteed Rate
Mortgage was rated as the top lender for online services. It’s “extensive online mortgage process” enables customers to complete the application and loan documentation online. In addition, if loan documents are digitally signed before the closing, then 10-minute closings are available.

But the report noted that Guaranteed’s qualification requirements, including minimum FICO scores and maximum debt-to-income ratios, aren’t disclosed — though online prequalifications are available to check approval and rate.

“We could not gain such industry recognition without our team of incredible loan officers and the agents they work with,” Victor Ciardelli, founder and chief executive officer of Chicago-based Guaranteed, said in a written statement.
“No other digital mortgage lender has developed such a simple and seamless platform that empowers loan originators to efficiently serve clients and referral partners.”

Bank of America Corp. was rated the top lender for loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration.

The top jumbo lender was San Antonio, Texas-based USAA. The financial institution, which caters to active-duty military members and their families, provides jumbo mortgages up to $3 million. It offers both conventional and Department of Veterans Affairs programs.

While USAA is best at providing jumbo mortgages to military personnel, Veterans United Home Loans was ranked as the best overall provider of VA mortgages — its specialty.

Among firms that offer small down payment programs, Guild Mortgage Co. was ranked as the top lender.

“Guild Mortgage offers government-backed mortgage products that are available with low down payments, including no down payment USDA and VA loans and FHA loans with 3.5 percent down payments,” the report said. “Additionally, conventional mortgages are available with a 3 percent down payment, and jumbo products are available with a down payment as low as 5 percent.”

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