Best VA mortgage lenders of 2023

Written by Kim Porter / January 19, 2023
Reviewed by Jamie Young

If you’re a current or former member of the U.S. armed forces, you may qualify for a mortgage through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). With no down payment, no mortgage insurance, and limited closing fees, these loans can help you buy a home with minimal upfront costs. VA mortgages are guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, but you’ll go to a private lender to apply.

Comparing VA mortgage lenders can be a long process, and you might be tempted to go with the first one that offers you a quote. But finding a lender that fits your needs pays off in the long run. 

We’ve rounded up the best VA mortgage lenders that offer a blend of low mortgage rates, closing cost assistance and discounts, an easy application process, good customer service, and more.

Inside this article

  1. Best VA mortgage lenders
  2. Best overall: Bank of America
  3. Best for end-to-end service: Better
  4. Best for loan options: Veterans United
  5. Best for on-time closing: Chase
  6. Best for loan alternatives: Navy Federal Credit Union
  7. Best online process: Rocket Mortgage
  8. Best for homebuyer tools: PNC Bank
  9. Compare the best VA loans
  10. Methodology
  11. How to qualify for a VA loan
  12. Frequently Asked Questions

Best VA mortgage lenders

  • Best overall: Bank of America

  • Best for end-to-end service: Better

  • Best for loan options: Veterans United

  • Best for on-time closing: Chase Bank

  • Best for loan alternatives: Navy Federal Credit Union

  • Best online process: Rocket Mortgage

  • Best for homebuyer tools: PNC Bank

Best overall: Bank of America

4.7 stars

Interest rates: Below national average

Time to close: 45 days

Why it’s the best

Bank of America’s national presence and full-service bank offerings make it a convenient mortgage lender, especially if you’re looking to handle all your banking in one place. The lender received an above-average score of 731 out of 1,000 in the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study. 

It also earned the highest spot on our list because it offers several programs to make homeownership more affordable—even when using a VA loan. Through America’s Home Grant program, eligible borrowers may buy down their interest rate or receive a lender credit of up to $7,500 that can be used toward certain closing costs. The funds don’t have to be repaid. Additionally, eligible Preferred Rewards members can receive an interest rate reduction or a discount on lender origination fees.

Pros 

  • Closing cost assistance

  • Existing customers may get discounts on interest rate or fees

  • Branch locations nationwide

  • Above-average customer satisfaction

Cons

  • Interest rate reduction and discounts only available to eligible Preferred Rewards members

  • Income and loan limits apply to closing cost assistance

More details

  • Rates: Below the national average.

  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: Does not disclose.

  • Perks: Eligible borrowers may receive a lender credit of up to $7,500 for closing costs, and existing Bank of America customers may qualify for a lender origination fee discount or a reduced interest rate.

  • Preapproval: The process takes about five minutes once you’ve submitted your documents. 

  • Time to close: Closing a VA loan with Bank of America takes about 45 days on average.

Best for end-to-end service: Better

4.3 stars

Interest rates: Below national average

Time to close: 21 to 30 days

Why it’s the best

Better.com is a one-stop shop for everything you’ll need during and after a home purchase. The lender can connect you with local real estate agents, home inspection companies, homeowners insurance and car insurance bundling deals, title insurance, and even personal loans for things like moving costs and new furniture. 

These services could be helpful for busy military members who need to manage the details of a home purchase all in one place and won’t know much about their new neighborhood. 

There are ways to save with Better, too. You won’t pay lender origination fees, and you can shave $2,000 off your closing costs by partnering with a real estate agent in the lender’s network. And if rates drop within three years after closing, Better will provide a lender credit toward the costs of refinancing.

Pros

  • Connects homebuyers with service providers

  • Closing cost reductions

  • Offers lender credit toward refinancing costs

  • No lender origination fees

Cons

  • VA purchase loans aren’t available in all states

  • No in-person branches

More details

  • Rates: Below the national average.

  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: The maximum DTI ratio is 41%.

  • Perks: Better doesn’t charge lender origination fees and can help you find just about everything you need for the home purchase and the moving process.

  • Preapproval: The company says the preapproval process takes just three minutes.

  • Time to close: Closing typically takes about 21 to 30 days after locking the rate, though it could take up to six weeks in some cases.

Best for loan options: Veterans United

3.95 stars

Interest rates: Below national average

Time to close: 30 to 45 days

Why it’s the best

Veterans United is a mortgage lender that specializes in home loans for current and retired service members. Its veteran-focused menu includes the standard VA purchase loan, VA Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loan (known as IRRRL or the "streamline" refinance) and VA cash-out refinance loan. 

But the lender also offers jumbo VA loans with no down payment along with VA energy-efficient mortgages, which are VA loans that provide an extra $6,000 to cover the cost of qualified improvements. This broader selection can be helpful to borrowers who want more choices. 

Veterans United’s customer service is also top-notch, with an above-average score of 760 out of 1,000 in the J.D. Power mortgage origination study. Some of the lender’s services include a "homebuying concierge" through the Veterans United Realty program, bonus cash if you work with an affiliated real estate agent, and a credit-building consultation if your finances need improvement before the home purchase. And all borrowers can call the lender anytime of the day or night, which is crucial for busy families and troops stationed overseas.

Pros 

  • Good VA loan variety

  • 24/7 customer service

  • Credit-building services

  • In the top five VA lenders by volume since 2015

  • Above-average customer satisfaction

Cons

  • Branch locations only in 17 states

More details

  • Rates: Below the national average.

  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: The max DTI ratio depends on the borrower’s financial situation.

  • Perks: Through the Veterans United Realty program, borrowers may receive bonus cash to use on closing costs or mortgage discount points.

  • Preapproval: The preapproval process takes about 10 to 15 minutes.

  • Time to close: Veterans United closes VA purchase loans within 30 to 45 days.

Best for on-time closing: Chase

3.7 stars

Interest rates: Below national average

Time to close: Up to 30 days

Why it’s the best

JPMorgan Chase has branches in 48 states, a complete banking lineup, and above-average ratings as a mortgage originator, putting it in close competition with Bank of America. But Chase has its own standout features, including its closing guarantee and financial assistance programs. 

The lender promises that if it doesn’t close your purchase loan on time, it will give you $5,000 in cash (provided you submitted all loan documents in a timely manner). VA loan borrowers can also receive $2,000 in closing cost assistance, and in select areas, borrowers may qualify for up to $5,000 to help lower their interest rates or offset fees. 

Pros 

  • Guaranteed to close on time or you receive $5,000 in cash

  • $2,000 closing cost credit

  • Homebuyer grant of up to $5,000

  • Above-average customer satisfaction

Cons

  • Must speak with a loan officer to complete the mortgage application

More details

  • Rates: Below the national average.

  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: Does not disclose.

  • Perks: On-time closing guaranteed, national reach, closing cost credit of $2,000, homebuyer grant of up to $5,000.

  • Preapproval: The preapproval process typically takes 10 minutes.

  • Time to close: The closing process typically takes up to 30 days. 

Best for loan alternatives: Navy Federal Credit Union

3.45 stars

Interest rates: Below national average

Time to close: 30 days

Why it’s the best

We picked Navy Federal Credit Union as one of the best VA mortgage lenders because it has branches all over the world, provides full banking services, offers loan assistance programs and lets you float down your interest rate after you lock. The credit union also received an above-average score in J.D. Power’s mortgage origination study.

But Navy Federal’s standout feature is its broad selection of mortgages, which include the “Military Choice” home loan. Military Choice isn’t a VA loan but comes with some of the same benefits, like a 0% down payment. This may come in handy when a service member or veteran is buying a new home but is using their loan entitlement elsewhere. 

The credit union also offers cash incentive programs, such as up to $9,000 cash back for using the credit union’s network of local real estate agents.

Pros

  • No-down-payment loans available

  • Up to $9,000 cash back for partnering with affiliated real estate agents

  • Ability to adjust mortgage rate lock lower later on

  • Above-average customer satisfaction

Cons

  • Must join the credit union to apply for a mortgage

More details

  • Rates: Below the national average.

  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: Does not disclose.

  • Perks: No-down-payment mortgages if you’ve exhausted your VA loan entitlement, cash-back program when you partner with a participating real estate agent, float down your rate after locking, hundreds of branches worldwide.

  • Preapproval: The lender says you can get preapproved in seconds.

  • Time to close: Closing with Navy Federal Credit Union typically takes 30 days.

Best online process: Rocket Mortgage

3.25 stars

Interest rates: Below national average

Time to close: Within 30 days

Why it’s the best

While some borrowers want in-person help when getting a mortgage, others prefer the convenience of a fully online experience. Rocket Mortgage offers a completely digital process from mortgage application to closing, and it has earned the top spot in J.D. Power’s customer satisfaction survey for 12 years. 

You can submit a mortgage application, upload documents and track the progress of your loan from the lender’s website or mobile app. When you need help, you can talk with a live representative or use the lender’s online chat feature. 

The lender also has a good lineup of VA loans—purchase loans, streamline refinance loans, cash-out refinance loans and jumbo loans—and is currently offering a rate-buydown program for free. Borrowers can lower their interest rate by 1 percentage point for the first year of the home loan term without paying any upfront fees. So if you qualify for an interest rate of 6.5%, for instance, then you’ll only pay a 5.5% interest rate during the first year of your loan.

Pros

  • Fully digital mortgage application.

  • Good lineup of VA loans

  • Above-average customer satisfaction

  • Temporary rate-buydown program with no additional fees

Cons

  • No in-person branches available

More details

  • Rates: Below national average.

  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: Does not disclose.

  • Perks: Interest rate buydown of 1% for the first year of the loan at no additional cost. 

  • Preapproval: Getting preapproved with Rocket Mortgage takes about 15 minutes.

  • Time to close: Borrowers usually close on VA loans within 30 days.

Best for homebuyer tools: PNC Bank

3.05 stars

Interest rates: Does not disclose

Time to close: 30 to 60 days

Why it’s the best

PNC Bank offers VA loans in all 50 states, provides a full lineup of banking services and received an above-average score in the J.D. Power mortgage origination study. The bank  also works with the Military Warriors Support Foundation to help service members transition back to civilian life. This benefit may come in handy for any service member who banks at PNC.

But PNC’s standout feature is its lineup of homebuyer education articles and tools. Its Home Insight program helps buyers figure out what they can afford and start shopping for homes with real-time rate quotes. After submitting a mortgage application, borrowers can upload their supporting documents and track loan progress in real time. 

VA loan borrowers also receive a $300 reward and may qualify for a grant of up to $5,000 to use toward closing costs, prepaid costs or a down payment.  

Pros 

  • National presence with in-person branches

  • Homebuyer education tools and programs to support military members.

  • Borrowers may earn a $300 reward plus $5,000 lender credit

  • Above-average customer satisfaction

Cons

  • Borrower and property must meet qualification requirements for the $5,000 grant

More details

  • Rates: Does not disclose.

  • Debt-to-income (DTI) ratio: Does not disclose.

  • Perks: $5,000 grant to qualified borrowers, $300 reward for opening a VA loan.

  • Preapproval: Preapproval takes about 15 minutes with PNC Bank.

  • Time to close: PNC Bank closes home loans in about 30 to 60 days.

Compare the best VA loans

Interest ratesTime to close
Bank of AmericaBelow national average45 days
BetterBelow national average21 to 30 days
Veterans UnitedBelow national average30 to 45 days
ChaseBelow national averageUp to 30 days
Navy Federal Credit UnionBelow national average30 days
Rocket MortgageBelow national averageWithin 30 days
PNC BankDoes not disclose30 to 60 days

Why some lenders didn’t make the cut

Of the 14 mortgage lenders that we reviewed, only a fraction made the cut. The lenders that didn’t have high enough scores to be included, received lower ratings mostly due to having a lack of transparency around credit score, DTI requirements and preapproval and closing timelines. Some of the excluded lenders also had limited customer service options and bad customer reviews.

Methodology

Our expert writers and editors have reviewed and researched 14 popular lenders to help you find the best VA loan. Out of all the lenders considered, the 7 that made our list excelled in areas across the following categories (with weightings): loan cost (30%), eligibility and accessibility (20%), customer service (20%), and ease of application (30%).

Within each major category, we considered several characteristics, including minimum APR, maximum allowed debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, and minimum credit score requirements. We also evaluated each provider’s customer support options, borrower perks, and features that simplify the borrowing process—like time to close and preapproval time.

How to qualify for a VA loan

VA loans are available to eligible former and current service members of the U.S. armed forces and surviving spouses. The VA determines your eligibility based on the type of service you completed, the amount of time you served, and when you served. 

To get a VA loan, you’ll need to request a Certificate of Eligibility and find a lender that offers VA loans. Although the VA doesn’t have an overall minimum credit score needed for a home loan, mortgage lenders do. So, you’ll also have to meet that eligibility criteria to qualify.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you choose a VA lender?

When you’re shopping for mortgage lenders, first check which VA loans they offer, such as purchase loans, VA streamline refinance loans and VA cash-out refinance loans. Some lenders also offer jumbo VA loans or VA mortgages with special features, such as extra cash to use toward energy-efficient improvements.

Your lender should also have a lot of experience closing VA loans, says Nicole Rueth, the senior vice president of The Rueth Team Powered by OneTrust Home Loans. “Look for someone who knows your local areas as well as the Realtor you are working with,” Rueth adds. “That relationship can go a long way in helping you, as a veteran, get not only under contract but negotiate the timelines needed for VA appraisals.”  

How many times can you use a VA loan?

About the Authors

Kim Porter

Kim Porter

Kim Porter is a writer and editor who's been creating personal finance content since 2010. Before transitioning to full-time freelance writing in 2018, Kim was the chief copy editor at Bankrate, a managing editor at Macmillan, and co-author of the personal finance book "Future Millionaires' Guidebook." Her work has appeared in AARP's print magazine and on sites such as U.S. News & World Report, Fortune, NextAdvisor, Credit Karma, and more. Kim loves to bake and exercise in her free time, and she plans to run a half marathon on each continent.

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Jamie Young

Jamie Young

Jamie Young is an authority on personal finance who has been writing and editing for online media for 10 years. Her work has appeared on some of the best-known media outlets including Forbes, Time, CBS News, Huffington Post, Business Insider, AOL, MSN, and more.

Jamie is passionate about finance, technology, and the Oxford comma. In her free time, Jamie takes care of her two crazy cats and ever-growing collection of plants. She’s also an avid gamer who watches way too many true crime documentaries. 

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