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5 Best Mortgage Refinance Companies of May 2021 logo 5/3/2021 Heidi Rivera, Joan Pabón, Andrea Agostini and Gabriella Cruz-Martínez
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Interest rates are projected to stay low well into 2021. Refinancing could help lower your monthly mortgage payment by allowing you to change the terms of your mortgage. To help, we selected our top picks for the best mortgage refinance lenders as an extension of Money’s Best Mortgage Lenders.

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.

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The Best Mortgage Refinance Reviews

Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans Review – Best Refinance Lender Overall

Pros Cons
Best rated for customer support No in-person service
Ranked as the nation’s top refinance originator by the MBA
Streamlined online application process with eClosing
Features a mortgage refinance rates calculator

Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans (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.

Through Rocket Mortgage, Quicken’s digital platform, 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 and VA loans)

Rocket Mortgage, an 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.

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Bank of America Review – Best For Member Discounts

Pros Cons
Exclusive membership discounts available on both purchase and refinance closing costs No renovation loans
Physical branch locations available nationwide
Considers alternative credit data such as utility bills and rental payment history

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 a credit score requirement on its website, you can consult one of their loan officers to see if you qualify for refinancing.

loanDepot Review – Best For Online Mortgage Refinancing

Pros Cons
mello smartloan” digital platform streamlines the entire loan process, from application to closing Loan rates are not available online
200 locations nationwide and over 1,700 affiliated licensed loan professionals

loanDepot (NMLS# 174457) stands out for its “mello smartloan,” 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 the consumer 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.

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Navy Federal Credit Union – Best from Credit Union

Pros Cons
Online pre-approval application Membership is limited to veterans, active-duty military, and their families
Sellers can contribute up to 6% of the value of the home towards closing costs No FHA, USDA loans, construction loans, or reverse mortgages.
Doesn’t require private mortgage insurance (PMI)

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
  • Cash-Out
  • VA loans, VA Streamline
  • Fixed and 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 cash back.

Nationwide: Best for Borrowers with Poor Credit

Pros Cons
Refinance No Cash-Out and Cash Out options Only operates in eight states: California, Colorado, Texas, Idaho, Washington, Oklahoma, Montana, North Dakota
Options for self-employed and low credit buyers
Will match competitor’s loan estimate offers
Free consultations

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 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.

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

Other Companies we Considered
Refinancing Lender JD Power Customer Satisfaction Rating Regulatory Actions with the NMLS Variety of Mortgage Products Accessible Information
Ally Bank Above Average 2
Wells Fargo About Average 9
Chase About Average 9
Caliber Home Loans The Rest 1
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation Better than Most 3
U.S. Bank Below Average 0

Wells Fargo Review

Highlights from Wells Fargo (NMLS #399801)

What we liked The deal breakers
The second-largest originator of mortgage loans in the country Subject to several regulatory actions by the CFPB for improper handling of mortgage loans and placing loans into forbearance without the borrower’s knowledge
Variety of mortgage loan products including FHA, VA, and Guaranteed Rural Housing programs, jumbo loans, 15-, 20- and 30-year mortgages, and adjustable-rate mortgages A high number of customer complaints with the CFPB
Traditional banking plus online tools that allow borrowers to get a rate quote, upload documents, verify employment, and e-sign About Average rating in JD Power customer satisfaction survey
Loan consultants available in-person at a bank branch or by phone

Chase Review

Highlights from Chase (NMLS #399798)

What we liked The deal breakers
Third-largest originator of mortgage loans in the country Subject of several regulatory actions with the CFPB within the last five years (although none filed within the last three years)
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 High number of customer complaints with the CFPB
Competitive mortgage interest rates About Average rating in JD Power customer satisfaction survey
Online Refinance Learning Center with calculators for loan estimates, interest rates and terms, refinancing guides, and other homebuying resources

Caliber Home Loans Review

Highlights from Caliber Home Loans (NMLS #15622)

What we liked The deal breakers
Flexible borrower qualifications Information on interest rates and lender fees isn’t readily found on their webpage
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 Charges a prepayment penalty
Accepts borrowers with a DTI of up to 50% No discounts that reduce mortgage interest rates
Down payments can be as low as 3% Below Average rating in the JD Power customer satisfaction survey
Streamlined application process
Variety of mortgage products including adjustable-rate mortgages, 10- to 30-year fixed mortgage, FHA, USDA, VA, and jumbo loans

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation Review

Highlights from Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation (NMLS #2289)

What we liked The deal breakers
One of the largest refinance mortgage loan originators in the country, with over 400 locations No accessible information on interest rates, required credit scores, minimum and maximum loan amounts, lender fees, or available discounts
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

U.S. Bank Review

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

What we liked The deal breakers
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 Customer satisfaction rating was below average
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

Ally Bank Review:

Highlights from Ally Bank (NMLS #181005)

What we liked The deal breakers
Online application Mortgage applications can only be completed with an in-person visit.
Fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, and jumbo loans available Not enough information about rates, terms, and credit score requirements on their website
Quotes don’t impact your credit score

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Mortgage Refinance Guide

Why Should You Refinance Your Mortgage?

Refinancing can lower the interest rate on your mortgage, help you obtain a lower monthly payment, and even get a shorter term. Homeowners also choose to refinance their homes for expansion, reparations and even use the home equity to consolidate debt or other financial emergencies. While some people may look at mortgage refinancing as a way to pay off credit card debt, but this should only be considered if your debt is very high and keeps growing due to interest rates.

A refi is also the best way to get rid of private mortgage insurance (PMI) after you have reached 20 percent equity in your home.

Types of Mortgage Refinance

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Cash-In Refinance

A cash-in refinance lets you pay down an existing mortgage to lower your mortgage loan balance during a refi negotiation. 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%.

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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.

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%

Your debt-to-income ratio consists of all of your monthly debt payments added up and then divided by your gross monthly income. The DTI helps lenders determine your ability to manage payments and plays a key role when applying for refinancing.

Lenders usually require that your debt-to-income ratio be 50% or less to qualify for a Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan refinance. Meanwhile, conventional loans may allow DTI ratios of up to 43%, 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

Refinance lenders have minimum credit score requirements. Experian, Equifax, and My Fico are authorized FICO score retailers. However, you can still obtain free copies of your credit report from the three main credit reporting bureaus — TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian — at once a year.

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. Most lenders require that borrowers have at least 20% in equity to qualify for a refinance.

Should I refinance with my current lender?

You can refinance and renegotiate the terms of your current loan with your lender, but it’s still wise to shop around and request loan estimates from multiple lenders. You might find lender offers that are better deals in terms of refinance rates, loan products, or closing costs.

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

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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 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%

Best Mortgage Refinance FAQs

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.

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 at the time of closing your mortgage. Lower interest rates will allow you to reduce your term and monthly payments.

How much does it cost to refinance a mortgage?

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

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 and mortgage refinance rates have been declining since 2019, hitting historical lows in 2020. Here are the most recent numbers.

How We Chose the Best Mortgage Refinance Companies

Customer experience

Our methodology considered lenders that provided online tools, pre-approval, discounts, or exclusive refinance programs above those that didn’t.

Data analysis

We considered lender size, reputation, and complaints. As part of our research, we consulted the Mortgage Bankers Association, J.D. Power’s U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, and the NMLS (Nationwide Multistate Licensing System, or “Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System”).

Consumer feedback and expert input

We vetted each based on the most important attributes of a lender — price, process, and service — according to expert interviews and consumer feedback from a short poll that ran on Money’s social media platforms.

Summary of Money’s Best Refinance Companies of May 2021

© Copyright 2020 Ad Practitioners, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

This article originally appeared on 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.


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