6 Best Mortgage Refinance Companies of September 2021

·20 min read

Interest rates are projected to stay low well into the rest of 2021. Refinancing could help lower your monthly mortgage payment, obtain a better interest rate, and even allow you to pay your mortgage in a shorter term. To help, we researched and selected the best mortgage refinance lenders of 2021.

To ease your mortgage refinance process, we also have a mortgage refinance calculator that can help you estimate how much you might be able to save.

Our Top Picks for Mortgage Refinance Companies

  • Quicken Loans by Rocket Mortgage – Best Refinance Lender Overall

  • Bank of America – Best for Member Discounts

  • Navy Federal Credit Union – Best from Credit Union

  • loanDepot – Best for Online Mortgage Refinancing

  • Nationwide – Best for Borrowers with Poor Credit

  • Ally Bank – Best for Jumbo Loans

Best Mortgage Refinance Reviews


Pros

  • JD Power best rated for customer support

  • Largest mortgage originator in 2020

  • Streamlined online application process with eClosing

  • Features a mortgage refinance rates calculator

Cons

  • No in-person service

Quicken Loans by Rocket Mortgage (NMLS#3030) ranks as our best refinance mortgage lender overall because of its excellent track record in customer satisfaction, in-depth digital software, and web-based customer support. In 2020, Rocket was also the top mortgage originator in the United States.

Through Rocket Mortgage, customers can automatically import their property taxes and home insurance information upon entering their address. Using eClosing, customers can modify their rate, repayment term, and costs to see other payment options.

Loan Types Offered:

  • Conventional 15 and 30-year mortgage

  • Adjustable-rate mortgage loans

  • Government-backed loans (FHA, VA, and USDA loans)

  • Jumbo loans

This online lender has consistently ranked first place in the 2020 JD U.S Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, outperforming other lenders every year. Although the company is deeply rooted in online technology, it also has over 3,000 Home Loan experts available seven days a week to help you complete your application over the phone.


Pros

  • Exclusive membership discounts available on both purchase and refinance closing costs

  • Physical branch locations available nationwide

  • Considers alternative credit data such as utility bills and rental payment history

Cons

  • No renovation loans

Bank of America (NMLS# 399802) is our top mortgage refinance company for member discounts because of its Preferred Rewards program. With this service, members can qualify for a closing cost reduction of up to $600 from their purchase or refinance origination fees.

The program works in tiers ranging from Gold to Platinum Honors, with discount levels based on the tier for which each customer qualifies. A member’s tier is determined by qualifying balances in Bank of America banking and/or Merrill investment accounts.

Loan Types Offered:

  • Home equity loans

  • Fixed-rate mortgages

  • Adjustable-rate refinance loans

  • FHA and VA loans

  • Cash-out refinancing loans

Another perk of doing business with Bank of America is its comprehensive digital services, including an online tool to track the progress of your mortgage loan and refinance application in real-time. While the company doesn’t state credit score requirements on its website, you can consult one of their loan officers to see if you qualify for refinancing.


Pros

  • Online pre-approval application

  • Sellers can contribute up to 6% of the value of the home towards closing costs

  • Doesn't require private mortgage insurance (PMI)

Cons

  • Membership is limited to veterans, active-duty military, and their families

  • No FHA, USDA loans, construction loans, or reverse mortgages

Navy Federal (NLMS #399807) has mortgage refinancing options ranging from 10- to 30-year loan terms for their VA Streamline (IRRL) and Homebuyers Choice. Navy Federal also offers the Military Choice loan for those who have exhausted their VA loan option. However, they don’t offer FHA, USDA loans, construction loans, or reverse mortgages.

Loan Types Offered:

  • Conventional fixed-rate loans

  • Cash-Out

  • VA loans, VA Streamline

  • Adjustable-rate mortgage loans

  • Jumbo loans

Realty Plus and Navy Federal Title Services are tools that facilitate the mortgage refinance process for homebuyers looking to refinance or sell and buy new property. Realty Plus connects you with a real estate agent and an agent coordinator to assist you with your mortgage application. Further, if you close your mortgage with Navy Federal using Realty Plus, you can get $400-$8,000 cashback.

Navy Federal also offers Homesquad, a new option for potential buyers to get a faster preapproval for a mortgage loan. It allows borrowers to track their loan status 24/7 online or through their mobile device, upload documents easily, set up autopay, access payment history and other account activities, and request forbearance assistance.


Pros

  • Licenced in all 50 states with 200 locations in 43 states

  • mello smartloan digital platform streamlines the entire loan process, from application to closing

Cons

  • Loan rates are not available online

loanDepot (NMLS# 174457) stands out for its “mellosmartloan,” an end-to-end digital portal that employs artificial intelligence to verify asset and employment details and can also perform credit checks and begin the appraisal process.

loanDepot also has licensed loan consultants available to help consumers select the best mortgage product for their particular financial situation. By calling their lending officers, you can also request information on their mortgage rates, which are unfortunately not readily available on their website.

Loan Types Offered:

  • Fixed- and adjustable-rate loans

  • Jumbo loans

  • Government-backed loans (VA and FHA loans)

  • Home Affordable Refinance Program Loans (HARP)

Choosing loanDepot for a mortgage refinance is rewarded with a lifetime guarantee. The company offers to waive lender fees and reimburse appraisal fees on future refinances after you’ve refinanced with them at least once.


Pros

  • Options for self-employed and low credit buyers

  • Customizable terms

  • Will match competitor's loan estimate offers

  • Free consultations

Cons

  • Only operates in eight states: California, Colorado, Texas, Idaho, Washington, Oklahoma, Montana, North Dakota

Nationwide Home Loans (NMLS #331347) ranks as a top choice for borrowers with poor credit for their Lease Option Program. The Lease Option Program requires that you have at least a 10% down payment, and enough income for closing costs and rent payment. Nationwide buys the home, and you sign a lease agreement with an option to buy within three years.

During those three years, you can live in your new home (paying the lease) while Nationwide helps you improve your credit score, sort out income reporting requirements, or perform whatever other steps are necessary to help you get ready to purchase the home.

Loan Types Offered:

  • VA loans

  • FHA loans

  • Conventional loans

  • Jumbo loans

Nationwide also offers a Best Rate Guarantee, where they match a loan estimate from another lender.


Pros

  • Online application, document uploads, and electronic signature options

  • No lender fees

  • Quotes don't impact your credit score

  • No PMI with a down payment of 20%

Cons

  • Mortgage applications can only be completed with an in-person visit

  • You may be required to pay PMI if your down payment is less than 20%

Ally Bank (NLMS #181005) stands out for their jumbo loans offerings of up to 4 million. For this type of loan, Ally offers a higher lending amount than other lenders, which usually cap at 2 million. For jumbo loans, this lender requires borrowers a down payment of at least 20%, and evidence that they can cover expenses for a certain amount of months. However, unlike other lenders, Ally accepts restricted stock units to count as reserve capital.

Loan Types Offered:

  • Fixed-rate mortgage

  • Adjustable-rate mortgage

  • Jumbo loans

  • Cash-out refinance

Potential borrowers can apply, submit documents, and sign paperwork online, but can only complete and close down the loan application by visiting one of their branches. On their website, borrowers can find rates and a refinance mortgage calculator, among other information about refinancing and jumbo loans.

Other Companies We Considered

When we looked at the refinance mortgage lending industry, we found that many of the biggest mortgage refinance lenders didn’t necessarily offer the best refinance products, though they might excel in other areas. This eliminated some lenders, such as Guaranteed Rate or better.com.

Chase Review

Highlights from Chase (NMLS #399798)

Pros

  • The eighth-largest originator of mortgage loans in the country

  • A large variety of loan products, including adjustable-rate mortgages, 10-, 15-, 20-, 25- and 30-year mortgages, FHA and VA loans, and the DreamMaker Mortgage Program

  • Competitive mortgage interest rates

  • Online Refinance Learning Center with calculators for loan estimates, interest rates, and terms

Cons

  • Several regulatory actions with the CFPB within the last five years (although none filed within the last three years)

  • High number of customer complaints with the CFPB

  • About Average rating in JD Power customer satisfaction survey

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rating

Regulatory Actions with the NMLS

Minimum Credit Score

Refi Loan Types

810/1000

9

620

DreaMaker®, Fixed-rate, FHA, VA, Jumbo, ARM

Guild Mortgage Review

Highlights from Guild Mortgage (NMLS#3274)

Pros

  • Online mortgage application, e-signatures, and digital loan process tracking

  • Direct lender services its own loans

  • Closing cost and total payment calculator

Cons

  • Not available in New York or New Jersey

  • Rates aren't available online unless you apply

  • Does not disclose fees

  • Branches only in 33 states

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rating

Regulatory Actions with the NMLS

Minimum Credit Score

Refi Loan Types

803/1000

3

640

Fixed, ARM, Cash-out, FHA, VA, USDA, Jumbo

U.S. Bank Review

Highlights from U.S. Bank (NMLS #402761)

Pros

  • Good variety of refinance loan offerings: traditional, cash-out, and a customer credit offer option that rewards homeowners with an existing first mortgage with U.S. Bank

  • Great online tools, with a fully digital application and a proprietary app

  • Provides general mortgage rates, with the option to input your state and narrow down results

  • Online prequalification

Cons

  • Customer satisfaction rating was below

  • Mortgage rates on the website assume a higher-than-average credit score

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rating

Regulatory Actions with the NMLS

Minimum Credit Score

Refi Loan Types

802/1000

0

620

Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA, Cash-out, IRRL

PNC Bank Review

Highlights from PNC Bank (NMLS#446303)

Pros

  • Has current mortgage rates on its site, as well as helpful calculators

  • Home insight planner and application tracker

  • Considers non-traditional credit history

  • Online mortgage preapproval

Cons

  • The process can't be fully completed online

  • No branches in Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Lousiana, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, Washington, or Wyoming

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rating

Regulatory Actions with the NMLS

Minimum Credit Score

Refi Loan Types

791/1000

2

620

Fixed, ARM, Cash-out, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA

Caliber Home Loans Review

Highlights from Caliber Home Loans (NMLS #15622)

Pros

  • Flexible borrower qualifications

  • Considers payment history instead of credit score or debt-to-income ratio, which makes it a great option for those with low credit scores or the self-employed

  • Accepts borrowers with a DTI of up to 50%

  • Down payments can be as low as 3%

  • Streamlined application process

  • Variety of mortgage products including adjustable-rate mortgages, 10- to 30-year fixed mortgage, FHA, USDA, VA, and jumbo loans

Cons

  • Information on interest rates and lender fees isn't readily found on their webpage

  • Charges a prepayment penalty

  • No discounts that reduce mortgage interest rates

  • Below Average rating in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rating

Regulatory Actions with the NMLS

Minimum Credit Score

Refi Loan Types

778/1000

1

620

Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA

Better.com Review

Highlights from Better.com (NMLS#330511)

Pros

  • Fast online process, with competitor price-match program

  • No loan officer commissions or fees for lender origination, application, or underwriting

  • Smart tech automatically looks for and applies eligible discounts

Cons

  • Online-only, no brick and mortar

  • Not available in Hawaii, Massachusetts, Nevada or New Hampshire

  • Limited loan options

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rating

Regulatory Actions with the NMLS

Minimum Credit Score

Refi Loan Types

Not Rated

4

620

Fixed, ARM, Conventional

Reali Loans Review

Highlights from Reali Loans (NMLS#)

Pros

  • Completely online process

  • No origination fees

  • Customized rate quotes

Cons

  • Website makes customers enter their data to provide any info

  • No information about loan types

  • Only available in Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, Washington

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rating

Regulatory Actions with the NMLS

Minimum Credit Score

Refi Loan Types

Not Rated

5

620

Fixed

LenderFi Review

Highlights from LenderFi (NMLS#133056)

Pros

  • Comprehensive online capabilities

  • No lender fees

  • Minimal paperwork and quick closing times

Cons

  • Not available in Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, New York, or Utah

  • Limited loan options

  • Must go through quote process to gain information on loans

  • No local branch offices

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rating

Regulatory Actions with the NMLS

Minimum Credit Score

Refi Loan Types

Not Rated

2

620

Fixed, ARM, Cash-out

Alliant Credit Union Review

Highlights from Alliant (NMLS#197185)

Pros

  • Rate watch sends a notification when rates have hit your target

  • Complete the application process online

Cons

  • No government-backed loans

  • Doesn't disclose loan fees

  • No in-person banking

  • Must be a member to qualify

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rating

Regulatory Actions with the NMLS

Minimum Credit Score

Refi Loan Types

Not Rated

1

620

Fixed, ARM, Jumbo

Veterans United Home Loans Review

Highlights from Veterans United Home Loans (NMLS#1907)

Pros

  • Free credit counseling

  • Representatives available 24/7

Cons

  • Only has physical branches in 18 states

  • Won't refinance FHA or USDA loans

  • Doesn't disclose closing costs or fees

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rating

Regulatory Actions with the NMLS

Minimum Credit Score

Refi Loan Types

Not Rated

3

640

Fixed, ARM, Jumbo, VA IRRRL, Cash-out

SunTrust Review (now Truist)

Highlights from SunTrust (now Truist) (NMLS#399803)

Pros

  • Online mortgage application and tracking software

  • Comprehensive educational resources

Cons

  • Customized rates are only available with an application

  • Branches only in Alabama, Arizona, Washington DC, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia

  • Rates and fees not available online

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rating

Regulatory Actions with the NMLS

Minimum Credit Score

Refi Loan Types

Not Rated

0

620

Cash-out, VA IRRRL

AmeriSave Mortgage Review

Highlights from AmeriSave (NMLS#1168)

Pros

  • Wide variety of loan options

  • Closing time average of 25 days

Cons

  • High number of regulatory actions with the NMLS

  • Doesn't disclose origination fees or closing costs

  • Not available in New York

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rating

Regulatory Actions with the NMLS

Minimum Credit Score

Refi Loan Types

Not Rated

14

620

Rate and Term, Cash-out, FHA, USDA, VA

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation Review

Highlights from Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation (NMLS #2289)

Pros

  • One of the largest refinance mortgage loan originators in the country, with over 400 locations

  • Better than Most rating in JD Power's Customer Satisfaction Survey

  • Loan products include adjustable-rate mortgages, conventional loans, fixed-rate mortgages, jumbo, FHA, USDA, and VA loans

Cons

  • No accessible information on interest rates, required credit scores, minimum and maximum loan amounts, lender fees, or available discounts

JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rating

Regulatory Actions with the NMLS

Minimum Credit Score

Refi Loan Types

Not Rated

3

620

Fixed-rate, ARM, Cash-Out

Mortgage Refinance Guide

Our mortgage refinance guide provides information about the different types of mortgage loans, the benefits of mortgage refinancing, and what documents financial institutions need for a complete application.

Types of Mortgage Refinance

icon: calendar with percentage sign and down arrow
icon: calendar with percentage sign and down arrow

Rate-And-Term Refinance

Also known as a “no cash-out refinance,” a rate-and-term refinance adjusts the interest rate or the term (or both) of an existing mortgage while its balance stays the same. This option often has a lower interest rate than cash-out loans.

icon: circular arrow with dollar sign inside and zero
icon: circular arrow with dollar sign inside and zero

Zero-Closing-Cost Refinance

Some lenders offer “no-closing-cost” or “zero-closing-cost” refinance loans for those who qualify. These let you roll up closing costs into your mortgage loan. While you’ll still pay closing costs and interest on those fees, it won’t be upfront.

icon: hand holding a dollar bill
icon: hand holding a dollar bill

Cash-Out Refinancing

A cash-out refinance converts the home equity you’ve accumulated into cash, similarly to a home equity line of credit (HELOC). You’re essentially replacing your existing mortgage loan with a new loan that’s higher than your current mortgage balance. In turn, you get the difference in home equity as a tax-free cash advance paid to you at closing.

What to Watch Out For: The borrower may end up with a higher interest rate and may extend the life of the loan. Keep in mind that you should only borrow an amount that’s feasible to pay off.

icon: down arrow in a circle with dollar sign
icon: down arrow in a circle with dollar sign

Cash-In Refinance

A cash-in refinance allows borrowers to lower their mortgage principal during a refinance negotiation. With this type of loan, the borrower makes a lump sum payment on their mortgage, lowering the principal balance on their new mortgage refinance loan.

Contrary to cash-out refinancing, this option may improve the chances of an underwater mortgage qualifying for a refinance. Generally, most lenders require an LTV ratio of at least 80%.

icon: piece of paper with x sign
icon: piece of paper with x sign

Streamline Refinance

Streamline refinance allows borrowers to refinance an existing FHA-insured mortgage with limited documentation or underwriting. These loans don’t require appraisals, in most cases only employment verification. Streamline refinance could be a good option for homeowners who already have a VA loan. Before making a decision, take a look at our picks for Best VA loans and Best Mortgage Lenders.

Should You Refinance Your Mortgage?

If you’re on the fence about mortgage refinance, here you can find information about the benefits of refinancing, what can that money be used for, and the documentation financial institutions require for a complete application.

Refinancing can help:

  • Lower the interest rate on your mortgage

  • Help you obtain a lower monthly payment

  • Shorten your loan term

Refinancing can be used for:

  • Home improvements

  • Home expansions or repairs

  • Financial emergencies

Your home equity is the difference between the value of your home and what is owed on the mortgage. Home equity can be used for:

If a mortgage refinance isn’t the best choice for your financial situation, and you’d still like to manage high student debt, our list of best student loan refinance companies may offer some options.

You should consider mortgage refinance to pay credit card debt only if the debt is very high and keeps growing due to interest rates. If you’re struggling with debt and you want to improve your credit score, check our selection for the best credit repair companies. You can also consult with a financial advisor before deciding on refinancing your home.

Should I refinance with my current lender?

Before selecting a refinance mortgage lender:

You might find lender offers that are better deals in terms of refinance rates, loan products, or closing costs. While many lenders have their calculators, you can also use our mortgage refinance calculator to get an idea of how much you could be saving.

Aside from refinancing with your current lender, another option is using a mortgage broker, an intermediary between borrowers and lenders. This can be beneficial, as some lenders work exclusively with brokers and offer better rates than a broker’s high volume of loans. However, brokers often receive fees from lenders for giving them business, or you might have to pay their fee yourself.

Enterprise-backed Mortgage Refinances

Starting this summer, eligible borrowers will be able to refinance their mortgage at a reduced interest rate and lower monthly payments. According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), borrowers could save an estimated $100 to $250 a month.

To qualify, borrowers must:

  • Have a mortgage backed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) for the house they live in

  • Have an income at or below 80% of the area’s median income

  • Have no missed payments in the past six months, and no more than one missed payment in the previous 12 months

  • Have a debt-to-income ratio below 65% or a FICO credit score of at least 620

  • Have a mortgage loan to value (LTV) ratio lower than 97%

What Do You Need to Refinance Your Mortgage?

Regardless of the type of loan, there are three primary considerations lenders consider when applying for a new mortgage refinance: credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and average loan-to-value ratio (LTV).

  • Debt-to-income ratio (DTI) of Less Than 50% for FHA loan refinance, DTI up to 43% for conventional loans, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)

To get you started, we have a tool to calculate your current DTI ratio.

  • A Healthy FICO Credit Score: Most mortgage refinance lenders require a minimum score of 620 on your credit report, but you’ll get the best rates for a score upwards of 740.

  • Average Loan-to-Value Ratio (LTV) of 20% or More: The LTV is the amount of the loan you want to take out divided by the appraised value of your home.

  • Mortgage Refinance Checklist

When applying for a mortgage refinance, lenders will ask you for specific documents. Check out the list below to ensure you have everything you need:

✓ A copy of your government-issued ID or Social Security card

✓ A recent copy of your credit report

✓ Proof of income for the last 30 days

✓ W-2s for the past 2 years

✓ Federal tax returns (personal and business) for at least the last 2-3 years

✓ Written explanation if employed less than two years or if there’s a gap or change in employment

✓ Statements of outstanding debt and all current expenses

✓ Address of property to be refinanced and purchase contract

✓ Homeowners insurance information such as the agent’s name and contact information

✓ Statements of assets

✓ Bankruptcy/ discharge papers if applicable

Best Mortgage Refinance FAQ

What is refinancing?

Refinancing a mortgage is, essentially, replacing a current loan with a new one - whether changing the terms, interest rates, or amount borrowed. In the best cases, refinancing can help you save money on your mortgage payments by negotiating low rates or reducing your term.

How much does it cost to refinance a mortgage?

Refinancing your mortgage can cost around 2% to 6% of your loan amount.

When to refinance a mortgage?

The best time to refinance a mortgage is when the interest rates are lower than the one you locked in when you close your mortgage. Lower interest rates will allow you to reduce your term and monthly payments.

What is the best refinance company?

Shopping around for a mortgage refinance company will help you get the best financial deal. We compared the best refinance companies and came up with a list of top companies, including Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans (Best Overall), Bank of America (Best for Member Discounts), and loanDepot (Best for Online Convenience).

What are today's mortgage refinance rates?

Mortgage refinance rates went up the first week of August, especially for 30-year fixed loans (3.00%). On the other hand, 15-year fixed refinance rates saw a decrease (2.29%).

How We Chose the Best Mortgage Refinance Companies

Our methodology considered:

Summary of Money’s Best Refinance Companies of July 2021

  • Quicken Loans by Rocket Mortgage – Best Refinance Lender Overall

  • Bank of America – Best for Member Discounts

  • Navy Federal Credit Union – Best from Credit Union

  • loanDepot – Best for Online Mortgage Refinancing

  • Nationwide – Best for Borrowers with Poor Credit

  • Ally Bank – Best for Jumbo Loans

© Copyright 2021 Ad Practitioners, LLC. All Rights Reserved.
This article originally appeared on Money.com and may contain affiliate links for which Money receives compensation. Opinions expressed in this article are the author's alone, not those of a third-party entity, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed. Offers may be subject to change without notice. For more information, read Money’s full disclaimer.