The best mortgage refinance lenders of May 2021

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*Minimum credit scores are for conforming loans, or for VA loans from Navy Federal and Veterans United. 

Refinancing your mortgage can be a great way to secure a better interest rate, lower your monthly payments, or get rid of private mortgage insurance.

You don’t necessarily need to refinance with the same lender you used for your initial mortgage, though. You might find a better fit — and a better deal — with a different company this time around.

We’ve chosen lenders that offer a variety of mortgages you can refinance into and have received an A in trustworthiness from the Better Business Bureau, with the exceptions being Navy Federal Credit Union and Guild Mortgage, whose BBB profiles are currently under review. Many of our top picks also thrive in customer satisfaction and accept alternative forms of credit if you don’t have a credit score, making it easier to qualify.

You may notice this list looks similar to our guide for the best mortgage lenders. In both cases, we chose lenders who are trustworthy, prioritize customer satisfaction, and make the process relatively affordable.

Our expert panel for this guide

We consulted mortgage and financial experts to inform these picks and provide their insights about mortgage refinance lenders. You can read their insights at the bottom of this post.

PFI Mortgage expert panel


Our experts have also provided advice about how to know whether it’s a good time to refinance and which type of refinance is best.

The pros of Rocket Mortgage:

The cons of Rocket Mortgage:

  • You can’t refinance into a USDA loan.
  • Rocket Mortgage doesn’t accept alternative credit data.

The pros of Veterans United:

  • The lender has a high score in the JD Power 2020 Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Survey (Veterans United doesn’t qualify to rank because it doesn’t meet certain criteria, but JD Power notes that the credit union would rank highly if it were eligible).
  • Veterans United has an A rating in trustworthiness from the BBB.
  • It accepts alternative forms of credit.
  • There are physical locations in 18 US states, but you can apply online from around the US.

The cons of Veterans United:

  • Although Veterans United is a strong choice for VA, conventional, and cash-out refinances, it doesn’t offer FHA or USDA refinances — although you can do a cash-out refinance for one of those mortgage types.
  • It might not be a good fit if you want to speak with someone face-to-face but don’t live in one of 18 states with a branch.

The pros of Fairway Independent:

  • You can refinance into a variety of mortgage types.
  • The BBB gives Fairway Independent an A in trustworthiness.
  • The lender accepts alternative forms of credit.
  • Its website is easy to navigate.
  • You can close on your new mortgage online instead of in person.

The cons of Fairway Independent:

  • You can’t refinance into a USDA loan.
  • Rates aren’t posted online.

The pros of Guild Mortgage:

  • Guild Mortgage refinances a wide range of mortgage types.
  • You can submit alternative forms of credit.
  • You have the option to close online rather than in person.

The cons of Guild Mortgage:

  • No home equity loans, HELOCs, or construction loans.
  • It has an NR (No Rating) in trustworthiness while the BBB reviews the company.
  • Mortgages are unavailable to residents of New Jersey or New York.
  • You may have to visit a physical branch for streamlined FHA, USDA, or VA refinances.

The pros of New American Funding:

  • You can refinance into several types of mortgages.
  • New American Funding has an A rating in trustworthiness from the BBB.
  • The lender accepts alternative forms of credit.

The cons of New American Funding:

  • No USDA streamline refinances are available.
  • Residents of Hawaii and New York can’t refinance with New American Funding.

The pros of PNC Bank:

The cons of PNC Bank:

The pros of NBKC:

  • You have several choices for mortgage refinance types.
  • It has an A rating in trustworthiness from the BBB.
  • Live online chat makes it easy to speak with an expert about your questions.

The cons of NBKC:

  • You can’t refinance into a USDA loan.
  • NBKC doesn’t accept alternative forms of credit.

The pros of Navy Federal:

  • Navy Federal has a high score in the JD Power 2020 Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Survey (Navy Federal doesn’t qualify to rank because it doesn’t meet certain criteria, but JD Power notes that the credit union would rank highly if eligible).
  • The credit union accepts alternative credit data, such as utility bills.

The cons of Navy Federal:

  • You can’t refinance into an FHA or USDA mortgage.
  • You can only become a member of Navy Federal Credit Union if you or your family is affiliated with the military.
  • The BBB gives Navy Federal an NR (No Rating) in trustworthiness, because Navy Federal is addressing some customer complaints that had previously been closed.

The pros of Chase:

The cons of Chase:

  • You can’t refinance into a USDA loan.
  • It doesn’t accept alternative forms of credit.

The pros of Carrington:

  • Carrington has a variety of refinance options, including the Carrington Flexible Advantage Refinance, which has looser requirements for credit scores and doesn’t require mortgage insurance.
  • It has an A rating in trustworthiness from the BBB.
  • You can provide alternative forms of credit.

The cons of Carrington:

  • The minimum credit score for a conventional loan is a little higher than with some of our other picks.
  • You can’t apply for preapproval online.

The pros of Bank of America:

The cons of Bank of America:

  • USDA refinance mortgages aren’t available.
  • You must already be a Bank of America customer to refinance into an FHA or VA mortgage.
  • It doesn’t accept alternative forms of credit.

The pros of US Bank:

  • US Bank offers a wide range of refinance loans.
  • It has an A rating in trustworthiness from the BBB.

The cons of US Bank:

Other mortgage refinance lenders we considered, and why they didn’t make the cut:

We looked at over two dozen mortgage lenders that refinance loans. Here are the ones we didn’t choose as our favorites:

  • USAA: This is a good option for refinancing VA or conventional loans, but because it only received an A- from the BBB, it might not be as strong an option as Navy Federal or Veterans United.
  • BB&T: BB&T’s website isn’t as easy to navigate as some of our top choices’ sites.
  • SunTrust: You might like refinancing with SunTrust, but it only has branches in the Southeast.
  • Regions: You might like using Regions, but the bank only has branches in certain parts of the US.
  • Citibank: This bank received decent customer satisfaction ratings from JD Power, but an F in trustworthiness from the BBB.
  • Wells Fargo: Due to some recent scandals, Wells Fargo has received an F in trustworthiness from the BBB.
  • A good option if you want a to refinance into a conventional loan with an easy-to-use online lender, but doesn’t let you refinance into an FHA, USDA, or VA loans.
  • SoFi: SoFi is another worthwhile choice for conventional mortgages, but you can’t refinance into an FHA, USDA, or VA loan.
  • Freedom Mortgage: You can refinance into several types of mortgages with Freedom, but JD Power ranks it low for customer service.
  • Guaranteed Rate: You might like Guaranteed Rate, but it only has a B rating in trustworthiness.
  • Loan Depot: Loan Depot isn’t accredited by the BBB, and you can’t refinance into a USDA loan.
  • Fifth Third Bank: The lender doesn’t rank very highly on JD Power’s customer satisfaction survey, and there are no USDA loans.
  • Caliber Home Loans: You can find lenders with better customer satisfaction ratings from JD Power.
  • Paramount Bank: You might like Paramount as an online lender, but it doesn’t offer as many mortgage refinance types as our top picks.
  • Penny Mac: You can refinance into several types of loans with Penny Mac, but the lender ranks low on JD Power’s customer satisfaction survey.
  • Flagstar Bank: This bank has received an A from the BBB, but JD Power ranks it pretty low on customer satisfaction.
  • Alliant Credit Union: This is a good online lender, but you can’t refinance into FHA, VA, or USDA loans.
  • Mr. Cooper: This lender offers a few refinance options, but JD Power ranks it as about average for customer satisfaction.

The Better Business Bureau grades companies’ trustworthiness from F to A . Grades are based on responses to customer complaints, honesty in advertising, and transparency about business practices. Here are the BBB grades for our top mortgage refinance companies:

Almost all of our top picks have an A from the BBB. The exceptions are Navy Federal and Guild Mortgage, both of which have No Rating, or NR. Navy Federal has an NR because it’s in the process of responding to customer complaints that had already been closed. The BBB says it is reviewing information for Guild Mortgage before updating the lender’s score.

Several of these lenders do have recent public controversies, though, even the ones with great BBB grades.

The US Justice Department required Rocket Mortgage’s parent company Quicken Loans to pay $32.5 million for alleged mortgage fraud in 2019. The Justice Department claimed Quicken Loans approved mortgage applications it shouldn’t have. The company never admitted to mortgage fraud, although it did pay the settlement.

A Navy Federal employee has claimed the lender pressured mortgage underwriters to approve loans even if they didn’t have sufficient reason to believe applicants could repay the loans. Then she filed a lawsuit and said Navy Federal retaliated against her whistleblowing by changing her job duties. She dropped the case in late 2020.

Guild Mortgage paid the United States $24.9 million in 2020 when it was accused of approving FHA mortgages for people who weren’t eligible, resulting in loan defaults.

In 2020, the Department of Justice charged Bank of America for unfairly denying home loans to adults with disabilities, even though they qualified for loans. Bank of America paid around $300,000 total to people who were refused loans. In 2019, the Department of Labor required Bank of America to pay $4.2 million to people who claimed the bank discriminated against women, Black, and Hispanic applicants in the hiring process.

In 2019, PNC Bank was accused of aiding a man in carrying out a fake debt relief project, which cost customers a total of $85 million. PNC had suspected the man of running a scheme and closed his bank accounts in 2014. But nine months later, the bank let him open more accounts.

The Department of Justice required JPMorgan & Chase to pay $920 million for wrongful trading in 2020. The company paid the Securities and Exchange Commission $135 million in 2018 for mishandling American Depisitary Receipts, certificates that let Americans invest in foreign stocks.

If any of these recent issues worry you, you may decide to go with one of the other refinance lenders on our list.

To choose the top mortgage refinance lenders of February 2021, we looked at four main factors:

  • Customer satisfaction. If the mortgage lender appeared in the JD Power 2020 Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Survey, we looked at its ranking. If it wasn’t in the survey, then we read online customer reviews.
  • Ethics. Each of our top picks received an A- from the Better Business Bureau, which measures companies’ trustworthiness. The exceptions are Navy Federal Credit Union and Guild Mortgage, whose BBB profiles are currently under review. We also researched and considered any scandals in the past three years.
  • Loan types. Does a lender offer several types of loan refinances to suit customers’ needs, including conventional loans, government-backed loans, and cash-out refinances?
  • Affordability. We looked at lenders’ minimum required credit scores. We also checked whether a lender lets you streamline from a government-backed loan into the same type of loan, which can be more affordable for borrowers with less-than-perfect financial profiles. Finally, we looked at whether it considers alternative forms of credit, like utility bills and rent payments, for you to qualify.

What makes a mortgage refinance lender good?

A mortgage lender should offer the kind of mortgage refinance that best suits your needs. For example, if you already have an FHA loan, you might want to refinance into another FHA loan. 

A lender should be relatively affordable. You shouldn’t need a super-high credit score to get a loan. It should also offer good rates and charge reasonable fees.

You want a lender that’s known for high customer satisfaction, and one that’s trustworthy. That’s why we’ve looked at ratings from JD Power and the Better Business Bureau for each lender on our list.

Is it better to refinance with my current lender or with a new one?

It depends. If you value convenience, then you might prefer using your current lender. You’ll already know how the company works and be familiar with its customer service operations.

However, just because a lender offered the best rate or lowest fees when you got your initial mortgage doesn’t necessarily mean it will offer the best deal when you refinance. Your financial situation also may have changed since you got your first mortgage. For example, if your credit score has dropped, then you may need to find a lender that has a lower minimum credit score.

Which lenders offer the best mortgage refinance rates?

The answer could change by the day. Take a look at Insider’s daily mortgage and mortgage refinance rate updates to see the average rates for various term lengths. If you have a good financial profile but a lender is charging you a higher rate than today’s national average, you may want to look elsewhere.

But a low interest rate isn’t the only expense that matters. Ask lenders for an itemized list of fees. Comparing closing fees among lenders is another way to see which is offering the best deal.

How can I get a good rate on my new mortgage?

To secure a low rate, focus on three main factors: credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and home equity.

You’ll need a 620 credit score to get a conventional loan with most lenders, although some require higher. But the higher your score, the better rate you should get. To improve your credit score, focus on making payments on time, paying down debts, and letting your credit age if you aren’t in a rush to refinance.

Your debt-to-income ratio is the amount you pay toward debts each month, divided by your gross monthly income. Lenders typically want to see a debt-to-income ratio of 36% or less. To get a lower ratio, you either need to pay down debts or earn more.

The more equity you’ve built in your home, the lower your rate should be. Calculate your loan-to-value ratio, or how much you still owe versus how much your home is worth. Many lenders want you to have at least 20% equity, but you may be able to refinance with a lower percentage if you have a great credit score and low debt-to-income ratio.

To help you learn more about refinancing and lenders, four experts weighed in:

Here’s what they had to say about mortgage refinancing. (Some text may be lightly edited for clarity.)

How can someone know whether it’s a good time to refinance?

Julie Aragon, Aragon Lending Team:

“The monthly savings and the cost for the refinance. When you have those two things, you can determine the break-even point. Also, how long they intend to stay in the house. If they know they’re going to sell next year, it probably doesn’t make sense to refinance.”

Lauryn Williams, CFP:

“A lot of times people don’t realize refinancing comes with some additional costs. There’s those closing costs, title costs, et cetera, that are tied into the overall fees. Simply getting a lower interest rate doesn’t mean that you’re saving money, is the biggest factor that a lot of people are not aware of.”

What factors should someone take into consideration when choosing a mortgage refinance lender?

Anthony Park, author:

“I feel like with a refinance, you’re going based on numbers a lot more than on your original mortgage. Probably because the mortgage feels like more of a weighty transaction, whereas with refinancing, you’re kind of an old hand at it at this point. I think the numbers matter a lot more for a refinance.”

Laura Grace Tarpley, Personal Finance Insider:

“Compare lenders’ interest rates and fees. Lenders charge different amounts for each type of fee, and not all even charge the same fees. For example, not every lender charges an origination fee. So closing costs could affect your decision as much as the interest rate does.”

When is it a good idea to get a cash-out refinance?

Julie Aragon, Aragon Lending Team:

“Investing the money into the home I think is always a good idea, as long as the math makes sense. Also paying off high-interest credit card debt. We have some clients, when we look at all of their debts, some are at 19% or 20%. By paying off all this crap, they’ll save $1,500 or $2,000 a month.”

Lauryn Williams, CFP:

“I think it’s a tough situation, because sometimes with cash-out refi is, you’re thinking of things like credit card debt. This is the biggest one I hear from clients: I can get rid of this 23% interest that I have on my credit card debt, and I can put it in my 2% mortgage. Well, you just took something that was not tied to any collateral. They can’t take your home away if you don’t pay your credit card debt. So something that previously couldn’t result in my home being in a way now can add to the stress of my home being taken away should I not be able to pay my mortgage.”

Mortgage and refinance rates by state

Check the latest rates in your state at the links below. 

New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Washington DC
West Virginia

Laura Grace Tarpley is an editor at Personal Finance Insider, covering mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. She is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). Over her four years of covering personal finance, she has written extensively about ways to save, invest, and navigate loans.

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