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Top VA Loan Lenders: Freedom Mortgage Was #1 Again in 2021, But That Could Change

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If you’re curious who the top VA loan lenders were last year, wonder no longer. The biggest was Freedom Mortgage, a direct lender based out of Boca Raton, Florida that topped the list for the second straight year.

Somewhat amazingly, they also claimed the #2 spot for FHA loans, despite not being a household name like say Rocket Mortgage.

Speaking of, Rocket Mortgage, formerly known as Quicken Loans, snagged the second spot, though it was behind by a large margin.

Rounding out the top three was Veteran United Home Loans, which was about $7 billion behind Rocket.

That brings us to number four, Pennymac, which does a lot of correspondent business with smaller mortgage bankers and credit unions.

Coming in fifth was United Wholesale Mortgage, which relies only on mortgage brokers to bring in business. They are also a fierce crosstown rival of Rocket’s.

Both Navy Federal and USAA also made the list, banks that exclusively serve U.S. military and their family members. You can see the full top-10 list below.

Top VA Loan Lenders

RankingCompany Name2021 Loan Volume
1.Freedom Mortgage$59.6 billion
2.Rocket Mortgage$35.5 billion
3.Veterans United$28.6 billion
4.Pennymac$18.0 billion
5.UWM$15.8 billion
6.loanDepot$13.0 billion
7.Lakeview Loan Servicing$11.9 billion
8.Caliber Home Loans$11.7 billion
9.Navy Federal$9.9 billion
10.USAA$8.1 billion

Now let’s take a look at the top VA purchase lenders, who made the most VA loans for home buyers.

These lenders helped military customers become homeowners, as opposed to assisting them with an existing mortgage.

Top VA Purchase Lenders

RankingCompany Name2021 Loan Volume
1.Veterans United$20.6 billion
2.Navy Federal$5.2 billion
3.UWM$4.8 billion
4.Caliber Home Loans$4.3 billion
5.Fairway Indpt. Mortgage$4.3 billion
6.USAA$4.2 billion
7.loanDepot$3.4 billion
8.Rocket Mortgage$3.1 billion
9.Guaranteed Rate$2.9 billion
10.DHI Mortgage$2.8 billion

The list is quite a bit different, with Veterans United Home Loans easily taking the top spot for at least the fifth year in a row, well ahead of Navy Federal Credit Union and UWM.

You’ll notice that Freedom Mortgage and Pennymac didn’t even make the list, but home builder D.R. Horton’s financing division DHI Mortgage did.

This makes sense because some mortgage lenders focus more on purchases, especially a home builder financing unit.

By the way, if you do buy a new home, be sure to compare options beyond the home builder’s financing department as well!

This is similar to checking out auto loan financing outside the dealership, which could be considerably better.

Top VA Refinance Lenders (IRRRL)

RankingCompany Name2021 Loan Volume
1.Freedom Mortgage$56.1 billion
2.Rocket Mortgage$25.2 billion
3.Pennymac$16.1 billion
4.Lakeview Loan Servicing$11.7 billion
5.UWM$8.8 billion
6.loanDepot$6.9 billion
7.Caliber Home Loans$6.3 billion
8.Village Capital$6.1 billion
9.Veterans United$6.0 billion
10.Nationstar Mortgage$5.8 billion

If you already have a VA loan, the lenders above are the most likely to help you with a streamline refinance, also known as an IRRRL.

There is where Freedom Mortgage shines, and it’s basically all they do, accounting for more than 90% of their overall business.

You can thank the low mortgage rates that have been available for several years now.

Now that interest rates have gone up considerably, these lenders could take a big hit unless they somehow pivot to purchase lending.

Assuming that doesn’t happen, we could well have a new largest VA lender as a result, likely Veterans United in 2022 if things continue as they have.

Top VA Refinance Lenders (Cash Out)

RankingCompany Name2021 Loan Volume
1.Rocket Mortgage$7.2 billion
2.loanDepot$2.7 billion
3.UWM$2.2 billion
4.New Day Financial$2.2 billion
5.Navy Federal$2.0 billion
6.Veterans United$1.9 billion
7.Freedom Mortgage$1.6 billion
8.Home Point$1.5 billion
9.The Federal Savings Bank$1.4 billion
10.Caliber Home Loans$1.1 billion

Last but not least, we have the top VA cash out lenders, those who help existing owners tap equity.

And let’s face it, there’s a whole lot of home equity out there at the moment. It was very ripe for the taking last year with mortgage rates still near record lows.

This is no longer the case, so there’s a very good chance we’ll see a big drop in this category for 2022.

The nation’s number one lender overall, none other than Rocket Mortgage, topped this list last year.

Rocket has been the top VA cash out lender for at least the past five years, per VA data.

And they did so by a large margin, basically tripling the volume of their nearest competitor, aspiring #1 lender loanDepot.

Third on the list was UWM, which managed decent volume considering it came through the wholesale channel only.

New Day Financial, which runs lots of commercials on TV under the NewDay USA brand, came in fourth, followed by Navy Federal in fifth.

Veterans United, Freedom Mortgage, Home Point, The Federal Savings Bank, and Caliber Home Loans rounded out the top 10.

Biggest Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Best

Now I’ve discussed some of the largest VA lenders out there, but size isn’t necessarily synonymous with the best service, or the lowest interest rates.

Just because a company does more business than another doesn’t mean they’re superior. It just means they either advertise a lot or have more resources available to them.

Of course, it’s possible to be the best as well if they happen to top the customer satisfaction rankings at the same time.

Be sure to put in the time to comparison shop by reading reviews for these lenders and others that didn’t make a top-10 list.

You may find that the best VA home loan lender is a local shop, small credit union, or even an individual mortgage broker that provides excellent customer service and product knowledge.

Remember, once your loan funds it doesn’t really matter who made it. And it will more than likely be transferred to a new loan servicer.

(Data source: VA.gov)

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