How We Determine the Best Refinance Lenders
Refinancing your home loan can help lower your monthly mortgage payments. In general, the best lenders for refinancing offer competitive interest rates, low fees and various mortgage terms.Some lenders help you get access to cash for renovations or debt consolidation, and others offer streamline refinancing for specialized government loans. Find the perfect lender for your refinancing situation in the reviews below.
SmartAsset’s team of personal finance experts combed through the nation’s top lenders to find which ones were best for home loan refinancing. We scored each lender on factors such as rates, fees, transparency, loan offerings and availability, customer satisfaction, customer service, refinance education and tools and digital experience.
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Best Overall Mortgage Refinance Lender: Chase Bank
Chase Bank is the best mortgage refinance lender we found for a number of reasons, including some of the most competitive rates and fees, a wide variety of refinance options, including conventional, government and home equity lines of credit and customer service and experience. If you’re seeking a conventional loan refinance, you can choose from a fixed-rate in 15-, 20- or 30-year terms, or a 7/1 or 5/1 adjustable-rate loan. VA and FHA loan holders can refinance with Chase as well.
As a national bank offering full retail services, Chase is able to offer home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), home equity loans and cash-out refinances, three options not commonly found with smaller lenders or non-bank lenders. A HELOC can help you decrease your monthly payments by consolidating debt. Some homeowners use HELOCs for renovations and major home repairs. Chase offers no closing or application fees for home equity loans and a 0.25% discount if you have or open a Chase personal checking account. You can get a 0.50% rate discount with a Premier Platinum checking account.
In addition to offering a wide array of loan options and competitive rates and interest, Chase is transparent about rates and offers resources such as refinance FAQs and articles. For example, you can read through “Reasons to Refinance” or “Understanding your loan-to-value ratio” on Chase’s online refinance section. You can apply online for prequalification, call a home lending advisor to discuss your options, or visit a Chase branch to speak to an advisor face-to-face. All three communication options are available to you at Chase, which makes it one of the most accessible refinancing lenders available.
Best Refinance Lender for Low Rates: Ally Bank
Ally Bank has some of the best refinance loan rates. The internet-based financial institution has a reputation of offering the most attractive rates both for mortgage loans and for high-interest savings accounts. When compared to other lenders, Ally consistently offers some of the lowest rates. Of course, your credit score and overall financial situation will determine the rates available to you, but Ally is definitely a lender to check out if you’re on the hunt for the best deal.
You’ll find a number of loan terms available, including conventional fixed-rate loans in 10-, 20-, 25- and 30-year terms. Adjustable rate loans are offered with 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 terms. While you have conventional loans and jumbo loans to choose from, Ally doesn’t offer VA, FHA or USDA home loan refinancing. You won’t find any government loan options at this bank in general. However, you can find those types of refinance options at large banks, such as our No. 1 pick, Chase Bank, or at other internet-based lenders, such as Quicken Loans, our pick for best online refinance lender.
Most online lenders offer digital prequalification, but Ally does not, which is rare for an online-only institution. The most you can do is fill out a call request form on the website. You have to start the application process with a phone call, which can be a drawback if you’d like to get going on your own. That said, the company does have high customer satisfaction and service ratings.
While you won’t find prequalification, Ally does have a clear, informative, easy-to-use website. The refinance and home loan section offers a refinance calculator, FAQ section and a description of what to expect during every step of the loan process, from application until after you close. You can find current rates and loan terms offered by the company including a breakdown of monthly payment, points, interest rate and APR.
Best Online Refinance Lender: Quicken Loans
Quicken Loans and its online lending face, Rocket Mortgage, wins the online refinance category for a number of reasons. For one, you can get your refinance fully approved online and in minutes without ever having to call a representative. You can adjust your loan term and customize your mortgage with Quicken’s flexible terms, and you can choose from a variety of refinance options. Another reason this company tops the list: the range of mortgage products offered. You can refinance USDA, VA and FHA loans as well as conventional and jumbo mortgages. Quicken’s YOURgage option available for conventional loans allows you to pick your loan term length.
You’ll find excellent customer service and customer satisfaction ratings at Quicken. As an online-only mortgage lender, Quicken doesn’t have any physical locations but does offer plenty of ways for customers to get in touch. Customers have the option to fill out everything online, call a representative or chat online. You can also self-educate with Zing!, Quicken’s blog. Posts include a wide range of topics, including loan modifications and HARP to CEMA loans and a mortgage refinancing checklist. Quicken also has a refinance guide that outlines six steps to the process and provides a detailed rundown of what to expect.
Where Quicken falls short is in the home equity department. You can’t get a home equity loan or HELOC at Quicken. That’s true of many mortgage-only lenders, as they don’t have the same capital as a retail bank, such as Ally or Chase. Those two lenders are excellent options if you’re in the market for HELOC.
Best Refinance Lender for Government Loan Programs: PennyMac
One of our top picks for refinancing is PennyMac, coming in fourth overall and best for government loan programs. The company, founded in 2008, offers USDA, VA and FHA refinancing as well as conventional loan, multifamily, and flexterm refinancing. If your loan qualifies, you can also have the option for a cash-out refinance.
PennyMac only has 14 locations, so chances are you’ll interact with the company over the phone and online. The company boasts a strong commitment to customer service and satisfaction, which means it’s not likely you’ll be on hold for long. In addition to holding high customer service standards, PennyMac is relatively transparent about rates. You can use the quote calculator to see what you might qualify for without having to input any personal information. Your results are displayed instantly without even the usual email address request.
Information in general is easy to find on PennyMac’s website. You can read through each refinance loan available, ranging from conventional to multifamily, government and flex-term. There’s a learning section of the site complete with refinance blog articles and it’s easy to find contact information. One highlight to getting a home loan with PennyMac is that the company services the loans it originates. This is relatively uncommon; many mortgage lenders sell your loan after you close, so your payments and interactions for the duration of your home loan (30 years for many) are with a company you didn’t choose.
The downside to PennyMac is that New Yorkers won’t be able to use the company and you’ll only find 14 locations across the U.S. If you’re looking for a purely online experience, try Quicken Loans, and if you’d like a large retail bank lender, Chase Bank is another good option.