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Top VA Home Loans: The 8 Best Mortgage Lenders for Veterans

Shop around for the deal that suits your housing needs

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You can subscribe here to AARP Veteran Report, a free e-newsletter published every two weeks. If you have feedback or a story idea then please contact us here.

With interest rates having hit a 20-year high in October, shopping around for the best mortgage deal is more important than ever.

For a U.S. military veteran, the VA Home Loan Guaranty Program is a significant advantage. This benefit, part of the 1944 GI Bill, makes it easier for active-duty service members, veterans and surviving spouses to purchase or refinance a home. Those using a VA home loan can buy a house with zero down payment (typically it’s 20 percent) and no private mortgage insurance.

Here are AARP Veteran Report’s recommendations of the best lenders to work with as a VA loan borrower.

Veterans United

Veterans United provides the highest volume of VA loans, with $26.5 billion in funding secured for almost 750,000 VA loans in 2022. The company employs retired senior enlisted leaders as advisers to help borrowers navigate the VA mortgage system.

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Navy Federal Credit Union

Navy Federal Credit Union has been serving the military community since 1933, and service members from all branches can join. As a modern-day mortgage lender, it provides an online process and a VA homeownership hub full of educational resources.

Rocket Mortgage

While online lender Rocket Mortgage is not focused on the military community, it ranks second in the volume of VA loans it secures. Military-connected borrowers can benefit from its acceptance of credit scores as low as 580.

PenFed Credit Union

The Pentagon Federal Credit Union, known as PenFed, is open to all borrowers, not just veterans and service members. It retains its historical connection to the military in part by offering VA loans and was named by Money magazine as the best VA lender for competitive rates.


Founded in 1922, USAA is a leading financial institution serving the military community. VA loan borrowers become USAA members and by doing so gain access to a long list of benefits and discounts. Money named USAA best for military-only perks among banks for military members.

Freedom Mortgage

While Freedom Mortgage isn’t a dedicated military lender, it focuses on VA lending and is the third-highest-volume VA lender. This one is a good choice for borrowers with credit scores as low as 550, who might struggle to get approval elsewhere. 

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California-based mortgage company Pennymac ranks sixth in its volume of lending for VA loans. The bank has been ramping up VA lending recently, with $9 billion in VA loans — 15 percent of its current total — secured in 2022.

Guaranteed Rate

Guaranteed Rate, one of the country’s largest retail mortgage lenders, offers a great perk to military borrowers: waiving its $1,440 lender fee for VA loan applicants who have a credit score of at least 580. The company partners with the USO, and its VA specialist team staff includes 55 veterans.

Shop around

Now that you know your options, you should do some comparison shopping. Most borrowers don’t this: According to a 2022 survey by Zillow, only 28 percent of those looking for a mortgage shop around for the best terms.

If you simply contact all the lenders in this list to see which one delivers the best offer, you’ll be a smart borrower.

You can subscribe here to AARP Veteran Report, a free e-newsletter published every two weeks. If you have feedback or a story idea then please contact us here.

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