The Ascent's 2023 Mortgage Lender Awards
How we chose the winners
To determine the Best Mortgage Lenders awards for 2023, The Ascent’s experts evaluated accounts with our ratings model, focusing on industry factors and user benefits, including:
- Competitive rates and fees
- Customer service
- Online experience
- Loan options
Top-rated offerings were selected that we think represent the top pick for the average customer in each category. Our final awards winners were determined by vote to ensure objectivity, with a final Golden Rule check: would we recommend them to a family or friend? Special attention was also paid to:
- The application process
- Geographic availability
- Customer service channel options
- Down payment options
Best Mortgage Lender Overall
Although all top mortgage lenders have strong programs these days, Rocket Mortgage stands out among the crowd. Rocket offers programs to help fight against inflation, and it even offers fee-free refinancing for those who qualify.
Best Mortgage Lender for Purchases
Homebuyers will appreciate Better Mortgage’s all-digital platform, simple application, transparency regarding rates, and limited fees. Better is just a great all-around lender.
Best Mortgage Lender for First-Time Home Buyers
Better’s all-in-one model is very appealing to first-time home buyers. Buying a home can be very overwhelming, but having your real estate agent and loan officer under one roof – with a discount for doing so – is very attractive.
Best Mortgage Lender for Refinancing
Rocket comes out on top by offering competitive rates, and it shines with its refinancing rate lock program along with fee-free refinancing if rates continue to drop.
Best Mortgage Lender for FHA Loans
With a variety of loan length options available, PNC becomes an attractive option for people looking to pay off loans quickly. PNC also offers support for low-income borrowers and provides some ways to avoid extra payments.
Best Mortgage Lender for VA Loans
Navy Federal Credit Union Mortgage
Navy Federal Credit Union has been a leader in the mortgage lending category by consistently offering lower rates and having lower costs than any other lender. Navy Federal Credit Union is extremely flexible and offers more advantages for the military community than any other lender.
Best Mortgage Lender for Online Mortgages
The original online lender has streamlined their process so that just about anyone can feel comfortable using their services. And, if a borrower needs extra help, Rocket offers excellent customer service.
Best Mortgage Lender for People Building Credit
Carrington Mortgage Services
Carrington Mortgage Services offers multiple loan options for people with imperfect credit. Carrington’s flexible program will help open doors for borrowers who might otherwise be left out.
Best Mortgage Lender for USDA Loans
AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation
AmeriSave offers loans with little to no fees — including the absence of an origination fee. As a veteran in the mortgage lending industry, AmeriSave can save borrowers thousands of dollars.
Best Mortgage Lender for HELOCs
PNC offers high limits and the ability to choose between fixed or variable interest rates, which can save borrowers a ton of money. Additionally, making payments from a PNC account might also yield more discounts.
Best Mortgage Lender App
The Rocket Mortgage app can do it all – it’s accurate, easy to use, and robust. The technology is great, which is reflected in the overwhelmingly positive user reviews.
Experts You Can Trust
Our financial experts are constantly testing products to bring you the best. With decades of industry experience, our experts provide honest first-person reviews whenever possible to inform our selections.
Jake FitzGerald | Editorial Strategist
Jake is an Editorial Strategist for The Ascent. He specializes in product ratings and all things credit cards, and wants to make sure each person has the best card for them!
Product ratings, credit cards, and content production.
Dana George | Writer
Dana is a full-time personal finance writer, with more than two decades of experience. Her focus is on helping readers feel less alone as they navigate their personal finances and offering actionable insights.
Banks, Brokers, Credit cards, Insurance, Mortgages, Personal finance, Personal loans, Small business
B.A. Business Management, Spring Arbor University
Dana began her career as a news reporter in Michigan, writing for the Jackson Citizen Patriot and Traverse City Record-Eagle. In California, she wrote business and finance articles for the San Jose Mercury News, Oakland Tribune, and a host of other Northern California publications.
Has Written For
Detroit Free Press, MSN, International Business Times, Nasdaq, USA Today, Des Moine Register, Topeka Capital-Journal, Florida Times-Union, Fox Business, and Dun & Bradstreet.
Dana's first novel was published in 2005, and while seeing four of her books in print was exciting, her most satisfying professional experiences have come courtesy of the people she's met.
Interviewing survivors of Germany's Stalag III for a six-part series, covering the escape of an American ally from Saigon as the city fell to communists in 1975, and being trusted by everyday people to tell their stories has been an honor. More recently, getting to know and interview the CEO and president of OneUnited Bank -- the largest black-owned bank in the U.S. -- reminded her of how much she loves her job.
Kimberly Rotter, AFC? | Accredited Financial Counselor?
Kimberly B. Rotter is a consumer credit and personal finance educator helping everyday people level up from any starting point, to make their financial situation better.
Banks, Credit cards, Insurance, Mortgages, Personal finance, Personal loans, Small business, Taxes
Master of Business Administration, Entrepreneurship
Master's Certificate, Instructional Design
Master's Certificate, Financial Counseling
Bachelor of Arts, Professional Writing
Military training developer, Harvard case study writer
Has Written For
US News & World Report, Investopedia, California Management Review, Nasdaq, MSN Money, Fox Business News, Yahoo! Finance, Credit Sesame, Credit.com, Smart Asset
- Took the Financial Peace University course and found my name in the bibliography.
- A reader reached out to me privately, and over time I coached her to raise her credit score more than 200 points.
Christy Bieber | Writer
Christy Bieber is a full-time personal finance and legal writer with 15 experience. She has a JD from UCLA and is a former college instructor.
Everything finance-related: investing, real estate, credit cards, mortgages, taxes, insurance, brokerage firms
- B.A. English Media and Communications, University of Rochester
- J.D. University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law
- Adjunct professor
- LSAT/SAT tutor
- Textbook writer and course designer
Has Written For
USA Today, Fox Business, Student Loan Hero, Lending Tree, Credit Karma, CNN Money
- Seeing my work on major websites including USA Today, CNN Money, etc.
- Forming my own S-corp when I realized I could make a living by freelancing full-time
- Receiving feedback from people who read my articles and who said my advice made a difference
Cole Tretheway is a full-time personal finance writer whose articles have been featured on The Ascent and The Motley Fool. He has a degree in English with a Certificate in Professional and Technical Communication from California Polytechnic University, SLO.
Emma owns the English-language newspaper The Bogota Post. She began her editorial career at a financial website in the U.K. over 20 years ago and has been contributing to The Ascent since 2019.
Cryptocurrency, Personal finance, Small business
Emma started her career in journalism at UKiNvest over 20 years ago, before taking a side road into the world of Olympic bidding. She has started two businesses, including The Bogota Post, an English-language newspaper in Colombia.
- Worked on London's successful 2012 Olympic bid
- Founded a popular newspaper in Colombia
- Edited a book on women traveling in Latin America
Jamie Matthews is an alumnus of Ohio State University and still calls Columbus, Ohio home. She is a finance editor and occasional writer with more than nine years of experience. When she isn't poring over other people's grammar and punctuation, she enjoys baking, reading, and being a proud dog mom.
Matt Frankel, CFP? | Writer, Analyst
Matt is a Certified Financial Planner? and investment advisor based in Columbia, South Carolina, and has been writing about personal finance since 2011.
Personal finance, banking, brokerage, credit cards, student loans
- B.S. Physics, University of South Carolina
- M.S. Mathematics, Nova Southeastern University
- Graduate Certificate, Financial Planning from Florida State University
- Mathematics professor
- High school math teacher
Has Written For
- Won "Best in Business" award from the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing (SABEW) for my coverage of the tax changes
- Host 3 different shows on Fool Live, and have been a regular on Motley Fool podcasts since 2015
- Have been a guest on BBC, NPR, and various other news outlets
Kailey Hagen | Writer
Kailey Hagen has been covering personal finance topics, including banks, insurance, and retirement since 2013.
Retirement, investing, banks, insurance, taxes, personal finance
B.A. English, University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Research Analyst
Has Written For
The Simple Dollar and Motley Fool syndication partners: USA Today, MSN Money, Yahoo Finance
- Growing a successful freelancing career
- Seeing her work published by major media outlets
- Being thanked by readers who have learned something valuable from her articles
David Chang, ChFC?, CLU? | Writer, Consultant
David S. Chang, ChFC?, CLU? is an award-winning entrepreneur and financial planner with over two decades of experience in the personal finance space. He is a graduate of West Point and a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard. He has an MBA from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.
Finance, investing, insurance, wealth management
- MBA UCLA Anderson School of Management
- BS United States Academy at West Point
- MA University of Hawaii at Manoa
- MATS Covenant Theological Seminary
- East-West Graduate Degree Fellow
- Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC)
- Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
- Project Management Professional (PMP)
- Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business Program
- Emerging Leaders Initiative Program, Executive-Level Series, SBA
- CEO of Chang Holding Company (Portfolio of 8 Companies)
- Chief Editor, The Art of Thinking SMART
- Chief of Intelligence (40ID) California Army National Guard
- Military Intelligence Officer for the US Army and Army National Guard
Has Written For
Equities.com, US Today from Motley Fool, Midweek, Hawaii Business Magazine, Star Advertiser
- InvestmentNews’ 40 Under 40 list of top advisers in the financial planning industry and FIVE STAR Multi-Year Wealth Manager (9-time winner)
- Deputy Chief of Intelligence and Task Force Leader for California National Guard’s successful response to COVID and the successful response to the largest wildfire season recorded in California's modern history.
- Created an educational blog ranked #36 of the Top 50 Financial Advisor Blogs and Bloggers by Kitces.com
- Largest Veteran-Owned Businesses Awardee and Young Business Leader of the Year 40 Under 40 by Pacific Business News; Top 40 Under 40 Military from CivilianJobs.com; Young Professional of the Year from Pacific Edge Magazine.
Eric McWhinnie has been writing and editing digital content since 2010. He specializes in personal finance and investing. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in Finance.
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About the Author
We're firm believers in the Golden Rule, which is why editorial opinions are ours alone and have not been previously reviewed, approved, or endorsed by included advertisers. The Ascent does not cover all offers on the market. Editorial content from The Ascent is separate from The Motley Fool editorial content and is created by a different analyst team.
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