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Who has the best refinance rates? Top 24 lenders ranked

Erik J. Martin
The Mortgage Reports contributor

Who has the best refinance rates? 

We analyzed data on every refinance loan from the biggest lenders in 2019, searching for the lowest refinance and cash-out refinance rates1,2.

These lenders topped the list for best 30-year refinance rates on average:

  1. Citizens Bank
  2. Navy Federal Credit Union*
  3. USAA*
  4. Veterans United*
  5. Freedom Mortgage
  6. loanDepot
  7. Bank of America
  8. Caliber Home Loans
  9. Quicken Loans
  10. Wells Fargo

*Only available to eligible veterans, service members, and military-affiliated persons

Just remember, rates are different for each borrower. So you’ll have to compare rates and costs from a few different lenders to find your best deal.

Find your best refinance rate (Oct 24th, 2020)

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The best refinance rate is different for everyone

Be aware that the actual interest rate and fees you pay will vary. And the lenders we ranked may not necessarily offer you the best rate for your needs.

The lowest refinance rate you can get will depend on:

  • Your credit score and credit report
  • Your home’s value
  • How much home equity you have
  • Your income and employment
  • Your existing debts

And remember, the lender boasting the lowest rates on average won’t necessarily be your least expensive option.

You also have to consider the total cost to refinance your mortgage, including closing costs.

That’s why it’s important to do your own homework and compare personalized rates before choosing a refinance lender.

Find your best refinance rate (Oct 24th, 2020)

Current refinance rates have fallen

To find the lenders with the best refinance rates, we looked at loan-level data filed in 2019 — the most recent numbers available.

The good news is that rates have dropped significantly since then. So the rates you’re quoted today are likely to be much lower than what you see below.

Still, these average rates provide a helpful way to compare lenders side by side, so you know where to start looking.

Best refinance rates from top lenders 

As this table indicates, refinance interest rates differ from lender to lender, and there can be a wide gap between the lowest rate and the highest rate.

Mortgage Lender  Average 30-Year Refinance Rate (2019)
Citizens Bank 3.50%
Navy Federal Credit Union* 3.57%
USAA* 3.65%
Veterans United* 3.70%
Freedom Mortgage 3.76%
LoanDepot 3.79%
Bank Of America 3.82%
Caliber Home Loans 3.83%
Quicken Loans 3.87%
Wells Fargo 3.88%
Guaranteed Rate 3.88%
Movement Mortgage 3.89%
New American Funding 3.92%
Homebridge Financial 3.94%
Chase 3.95%
Guild Mortgage 3.95%
Fairway Independent Mortgage Co. 3.97%
Mr. Cooper (Nationstar) 3.98%
Flagstar Bank 4.00%
Finance of America 4.01%
CrossCountry Mortgage 4.03%
Primelending 4.09%
PNC 4.12%
US Bank 4.44%

*These lenders predominantly issue VA loans, which come with lower rates than other loan types. This skews their rates lower. Additionally, they only serve eligible veterans, service members, and military-affiliated persons.

Only three of the lenders listed above require you to be an eligible veteran, service member, or military-affiliated individual.

But each lender still has basic requirements to qualify for a refinance.

If you have a high credit score, low debts, and lots of equity, you’re likely to be offered a good refinance rate from most any lender.

But if you’re closer to the edge of qualifying for a refinance — maybe because you have lower credit or little equity — you’ll likely need to compare more lenders to find the best refinance rate.

Find your lowest refinance rate (Oct 24th, 2020)

Best cash-out refinance rates 

If you want to tap into your home’s equity and pull cash out at closing, expect to pay a slightly higher refinance interest rate.

Based on data from 2019, interest rates for a cash-out refinance are around 0.25% higher than rates for a standard refinance on average.

Mortgage Lender  Average Cash-Out Refinance Rate (2019)
Navy Federal Credit Union* 3.74%
Veterans United* 3.96%
USAA* 3.99%
Bank Of America 4.06%
PNC 4.17%
LoanDepot 4.22%
Caliber Home Loans 4.24%
Mr. Cooper (Nationstar) 4.27%
Flagstar Bank 4.29%
US Bank 4.29%
New American Funding 4.30%
Quicken Loans 4.31%
Guaranteed Rate 4.31%
Movement Mortgage 4.32%
Finance of America 4.34%
Guild Mortgage 4.37%
Freedom Mortgage 4.38%
Fairway Independent Mortgage Co. 4.38%
Chase 4.40%
Citizens Bank 4.42%
Wells Fargo 4.45%
CrossCountry Mortgage 4.52%
Primelending 4.61%
Homebridge Financial 4.72%

*Only available to eligible veterans, service members, and military-affiliated persons

A closer look at this table also reveals that the three lenders with the lowest cash-out refi rates are exclusively available to qualified service members, veterans, and military personnel.

This is likely due to the fact that most homeonwers in those groups use VA loans. And VA loans almost always offer lower interest rates than conventional or FHA loans.

That said, rates have fallen so far in 2020 that it’s possible to find an exceptionally low interest rate on just about any type of mortgage — provided you qualify for one.

Verify your cash-out refinance eligibility (Oct 24th, 2020)

Costs to refinance 

Don’t forget: Opting for a lender that offers the lowest refinance rate doesn’t mean their loan will be the least expensive overall.

You also have to factor in lender fees and closing costs, which can equate to around 2 percent to 5 percent of your total loan amount, on average.

Closing costs can include fees for several items. Among these are:

  • Mortgage origination and underwriting fees (the lender’s cut)
  • Credit reporting fee
  • Discount points to lower your rate
  • Home appraisal (you can skip this with a streamline refinance)
  • Title and escrow fees
  • Prepaid taxes and homeowners insurance 
  • Mortgage insurance or guarantee fee (if applicable

Fortunately, closing costs can be rolled into your loan when you refinance.

If the lender agrees, they can add the amount to your principal borrowed or increase the interest rate charged to offset closing costs.

Who has the lowest refinance closing costs? 

The table below shows how much each lender charged in closing costs in 2019, as a percentage of their average loan amount.

It also shows how much they’d likely charge on a $250,000 refinance loan, to give you a better benchmark for comparison.

Mortgage Lender  Average Refinance Costs in 2019 (% of Loan Amount)  Example: Cost for a $250,000 Refinance 
PNC 0.41%  $1,018
Veterans United* 0.52%  $1,303
USAA* 0.78%  $1,954
Chase 1.01%  $2,514
Guaranteed Rate 1.01%  $2,531
Wells Fargo 1.03%  $2,571
US Bank 1.15%  $2,883
Bank Of America 1.20%  $3,009
Freedom Mortgage 1.26%  $3,160
Flagstar Bank 1.29%  $3,229
Finance of America 1.45%  $3,631
Fairway Independent Mortgage Co. 1.49%  $3,719
LoanDepot 1.51%  $3,774
Caliber Home Loans 1.55%  $3,872
Homebridge Financial 1.61%  $4,036
Citizens Bank 1.67%  $4,181
Quicken Loans 1.71%  $4,276
CrossCountry Mortgage 1.73%  $4,336
Primelending 1.78%  $4,446
New American Funding 1.78%  $4,457
Navy Federal Credit Union* 1.79%  $4,484
Movement Mortgage 1.92%  $4,789
Guild Mortgage 1.94%  $4,861
Mr. Cooper (Nationstar) 2.37%  $5,922

*Only available to eligible veterans, service members, and military-affiliated persons

The gap between the cheapest and most expensive closing costs is nearly two percentage points, with the lowest being 0.41% of the loan amount, and the highest at 2.37%.

Say you borrow $200,000 to refinance. Using the average refinance costs in 2019 listed above, you could expect to pay anywhere from $820 to $4,740 in closing costs.

Depending on how long you plan to stay in the home after refinancing, a large closing bill could potentially take a big chunk out of your savings.

This is further proof that it pays to shop around carefully for the best refinance rate and the lowest fees.

Compare refinance loans. Start here (Oct 24th, 2020)

Tips to find your best refinance rate

Want to score the lowest refinance interest rate possible? There are several steps you can take to improve your chances:

  • Get your credit and debt in good shape. Working to improve your credit score and pay off existing debts can earn you a lower refinance rate and big savings in the long run
  • Shop around among several different lenders. It pays to request rate quotes from at least a handful of mortgage lenders so that you can better compare rates, terms, and fees
  • Factor in closing costs. Again, choosing a refinance loan strictly based on interest rates won’t give you an accurate picture of the total loan cost. Find out all the fees and closing costs involved, and ask each lender what the total cost of the loan will be
  • Scrutinize loan estimates to find the best overall deal. When you begin applying with lenders, you’ll get a loan estimate which provides a thorough breakdown of the costs that come with your loan. Be sure to compare your loan estimates line by line and dollar for dollar. Also, look closely at page 2 of the estimate; Group A will indicate the lender’s loan costs and origination charges, while Group B reveals the costs you can’t shop for (for example, the credit report fee, appraisal fee, and other related fees)
  • Consider purchasing discount points. You may be able to buy down your interest rate using points. Every point you purchase costs 1 percent of your loan amount. Typically, buying one point will lower your interest rate by 0.25%
  • Keep your eyes on the prize: Stay focused on your major refinance goal. For instance, if you are seeking to simply lower your interest rate to decrease what you pay monthly, then the choice is simple: Select the lender providing the lowest interest rate and the cheapest closing costs. When you’re trying to decide which refinance rate you should choose, you should think about what you’re trying to accomplish by refinancing your mortgage

You can find more information in the article Get the best refinance rate: Tips for comparing lenders and loan estimates

Refinance rates FAQ

Which bank is best for refinancing? 

The lender that’s best for your refinance needs will vary, depending on your circumstances and budget. Overall, you should consider a lender that offers the lowest combination of interest rate, fees, closing costs, and total loan costs.

What is a good interest rate for a refinance? 

Your objective and circumstances will determine this. “But in most cases where only the interest rate is being changed, the rate should be at least 0.50% lower than your current rate,” recommends Guy Silas, branch manager for Embrace Home Loans.

Is it worth it to refinance for 1 percent? 

Dropping your mortgage rate by 1% will usually create enough savings to make a refinance worthwhile, explains Silas.

“The true test, assuming only a rate reduction is the objective as opposed to shortening the term, is how quickly you can recover the transaction costs in your monthly savings,” he says.

Is it worth it to refinance to save $100 per month? 

Saving any amount of money is usually worth it. But it depends on the total cost of your loan.

“There is little point in saving $100 per month if you have $10,000 in closing costs. You need to make sure you’re working with a lender that will evaluate your entire situation and provide good, solid advice here,” suggests David Ratti, branch manager for Envoy Mortgage.

When is refinancing a bad idea? 

Refinancing may not make financial sense if you’re very far into the loan term, or if you’re not certain you’re going to remain in the home more than two years after refinancing, according to Jane Hammond, a mortgage loan officer with Compass Mortgage LLC.

“Every situation is unique. So you need your loan officer to clearly indicate how quickly you will benefit from the cost of the refinance,” she says.

How much does it cost to refinance? 

A mortgage refinance comes with costs — typically including lender fees, discount points, and closing costs. In general, the latter is approximately 2 percent to 5 percent of your total borrowed amount. So for a $250,000 refinance loan, closing costs are likely to be around $5,000-$10,000.

Are refinance rates trending up or down? 

“We are currently experiencing historically low interest rates. In the near term, rates remain very attractive and present an excellent opportunity for many consumers,” notes Silas.

But keep in mind that mortgage rates are extremely variable. They move up and down just about every day depending on what’s happening in the wider economy.

So while mortgage and refinance rates have recently been on a downward trend, there’s no guarantee about how long they’ll stay that way.

What’s the best refinance loan? 

The best refinance loan varies based on your goals. If you want to tap your home equity, a cash-out refinance might be best. If you want to shorten your loan term, consider a 15-year refinance. If you simply want a lower rate and payment, consider a plain vanilla 30-year refinance loan.

For homeowners who currently have FHA, VA, and USDA loans, the answer is a little easier. A streamline refinance is often best, as this program offers reduced paperwork and typically has lower closing costs.

How do I shop for refinance rates? 

Compare rates from several different lenders to make a more informed decision.

“Keep in mind that an advertised rate is designed to generate a phone call. Not everyone gets the same rate, either,” cautions Ratti. “Every lender is required to provide a loan estimate, which should help you compare apples to apples.”

Do I have to refinance with my current mortgage lender?  

You are not required to refinance with your current mortgage lender. However, it may be smart to start your search by requesting a refinance rate quote from your current lender, who may be able to beat loan rates, terms, and costs quoted by competitors.

What are today’s refinance rates?

Today’s refinance rates are sitting near all-time lows.

But remember, the rate you’re offered could be higher or lower than average depending on your credit, home equity, and finances.

Check personalized rates from a few different lenders to find the best refinance rate for your situation.

Verify your new rate (Oct 24th, 2020)

1Top 24 refinance lenders for 2019 sourced from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s 2019 Mortgage Market Activity and Trends report

2Refinance rate data was sourced from self-reported loan data that all mortgage lenders are required to file each year under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Averages include all 30-year refinance or 30-year cash-out refinance loans reported by each lender for the previous year. Your own rate and loan costs will vary.