If you’re a former or current member of the U.S. armed forces, you may be able to qualify for a mortgage without a down payment or mortgage insurance. VA loans are backed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and are an excellent option for a mortgage with minimal upfront costs.

VA loans are offered by many banks, credit unions, and online lenders, and comparing their rates, features, and qualification requirements can be difficult. To make things easier, we’ve rounded up the best VA loan lenders of 2024.

5 Best VA Loan Lenders

We reviewed 15 mortgage lenders offering VA home loans and evaluated them based on the rates they offer, customer satisfaction, credit score requirements, and experience in processing VA loans. Here are our recommendations for the best VA loan lenders in 2024.

Navy Federal Credit UnionPenFedVeterans UnitedRocket MortgageNew American Funding
Interest Rate5.625% (6.282% APR)5.75% (6.048% APR)5.990% (6.436% APR)6.375% (6.826% APR)6.000% (6.662% APR)
Minimum Credit ScoreNot specified620600580580
Minimum Down Payment0% for some borrowers0% for some borrowers0% for some borrowers0% for some borrowers0% for some borrowers
Pre-approval Time3 business days3 business daysNot specified15 minutes24 hours
  • Interest Rate: 5.625% (6.282% APR)
  • Minimum Credit Score: Not specified
  • Minimum Down Payment: 0% for some borrowers
  • Pre-approval Time: 3 business days

Navy Federal Credit Union is our top recommendation for VA loan lenders because of its low rates, quick pre-approval, and the perks it offers.

All active duty, veteran, and retired service members, their immediate household members, and Department of Defense civilian personnel are eligible for credit union membership.

Like all VA mortgage loans, Navy Federal’s VA loans don’t require private mortgage insurance (PMI).  In addition, they come with added perks like the ability to lock in your rate for 60 days, a rate match guarantee, and up to $9,000 in cash back when you work with a RealtyPlus real estate agent.

  • Interest Rate: 5.75% (6.048% APR)
  • Minimum Credit Score: 620
  • Minimum Down Payment: 0% for some borrowers
  • Pre-approval Time: 3 business days

PenFed offers very competitive rates and offers 0% down payment for qualifying borrowers. VA loan borrowers don’t need to pay PMI, but you must be a member to apply for the mortgage loan.

Joining the credit union is easy. You can open a savings account with a minimum of $5 to become a member and apply for the VA loan. You can get pre-approved for a VA loan in as little as three business days.

  • Interest Rate: 5.990% (6.436% APR)
  • Minimum Credit Score: 600
  • Minimum Down Payment: 0% for some borrowers
  • Pre-approval Time: Not specified

Veterans United offers a variety of VA home loans and has been the top lender (by volume) for 2023. The income and credit score requirements are quite lenient, and the lender offers a variety of loans to choose from, such as VA cash-out refinance loans, energy-efficient mortgages, Interest Rate Reduction Refinance Loans (IRRRL), and Jumbo VA loans.  

  • Interest Rate: 6.375% (6.826% APR)
  • Minimum Credit Score: 580
  • Minimum Down Payment: 0% for some borrowers
  • Pre-approval Time: 15 minutes

Rocket Mortgage has an online application and closing process, which makes it easy and convenient for you to apply. Another advantage is that online pre-approval only takes 15 minutes.

Rocket Mortgage works with borrowers with credit scores as low as 580 and may consider higher debt-to-income ratios.

  • Interest Rate: 6.000% (6.662% APR)
  • Minimum Credit Score: 580
  • Minimum Down Payment: 0% for some borrowers
  • Pre-approval Time: 24 hours

New American Funding offers a wide range of VA home loan products, such as VA cash-out refinance, VA streamline refinance loan, energy efficient mortgage, VA Native American Direct Loan, and the custom “I CAN” mortgage that allows you to select a custom fixed loan term of 8 to 30 years.

How To Qualify for a VA Home Loan With The Best Lenders

You must meet specific requirements to qualify with the best VA loan lenders. This loan program is available for active-duty service members, present and past members of the National Guard, veterans, and surviving spouses.

While there are no minimum credit score requirements for the loan program, most lenders will have their own requirements. You’ll also need to satisfy these service requirements set by the VA:

  • Active-duty members and veterans must have served at least 181 days during peacetime or 90 days during wartime.
  • National Guard members must have served at least six years of service in the Select Reserves or Guard or 90 days during wartime.
  • The VA will consider the type of discharge and specific circumstances around it to determine eligibility.

If you’re eligible, you’ll need to get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE) from the VA to apply for a mortgage loan.

Tips for Choosing the Best VA Loan Lender

Many online lenders, credit unions, and banks offer VA loans. Consider your specific needs when choosing the best VA loan lenders. Here are a few key factors to keep in mind.

Compare Interest Rates and Fees

The VA loan rates you qualify for will depend on a few factors, such as the current economic conditions (upon which the Federal Reserve Bank sets the general level of short-term interest rates), loan terms, your income, your liquid assets, and your credit score. While you’ll have to pay VA funding fees with all VA loans, there are other costs you’ll need to account for, such as loan origination fees and closing costs.  

Be sure to compare the annual percentage rate (APR) of the VA loans offered by different lenders instead of the interest rate because the APR represents the true cost of the loan(s) you’re considering. APRs represent the total loan cost on an annual percentage basis, including all lender fees. And since there can be drastically different fees, expenses, and lending terms from loan to loan, you’re better able to directly compare each loan on an “apples-to-apples” basis when using the APR instead of the interest rate alone.  

Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or refinancing your current mortgage, you may be able to get a lower interest rate and keep your mortgage payments affordable if you compare at least three lenders.

Research Lender Reputation

We recommend working with VA lenders that are experts in their fields. Learn more about how long the lender has been offering VA loans and how many loans they originate each year. VA loans can be complicated so it’s best to work with lenders that are experienced.

You should also check the reviews of the lenders online and read about the experience of other borrowers to get a better understanding of their services. Ensure that the lender is registered with the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System and Registry (NMLS).

Evaluate Customer Service

Mortgages require a lot of paperwork, and VA home loans may be more complicated because they also involve determining the borrower’s military status and eligibility. The best VA mortgage lenders will have experienced VA loan officers who can make the entire loan process seamless and stress-free.  

Make sure the lender is easy to get in touch with, responsive to questions and concerns, and can help you obtain specialized docs like the Certificate of Eligibility (COE).

Compare Your Options To Find the Best VA Home Loan Provider

VA home loans offer an easier path to homeownership for veterans, active duty service members, and surviving spouses. These loans don’t require any down payment and often come with very competitive interest rates compared to other conventional mortgage loans.

However, it is important to understand how VA loans work, what eligibility requirements are, and what costs are involved. Compare multiple loan options and read customer reviews to find the best VA mortgage lender. Most importantly, make sure the monthly payment is affordable.