Who has the best refinance rates? 2021 Lender rankings

Erik J. Martin
Erik J. Martin
The Mortgage Reports Contributor
August 23, 2021 - 13 min read

Who has the best refinance rates?

We analyzed data on every refinance loan from the biggest lenders in 2020, searching for the lowest mortgage refinance rates.1

The companies with the best 30–year refi rates on average are shown below.

Just remember, rates are different for each borrower. So you’ll have to compare a few different lenders to find your best deal. Your lowest refi rate may or may not come from one of the companies listed here.


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The 10 lenders with the best refinance rates

Using data from 2020 – the most recent numbers available – the 10 lenders with the best refinance rates on average are:

  1. Freedom Mortgage
  2. American Financial Network
  3. Better Mortgage
  4. Navy Federal Credit Union*
  5. Veterans United*
  6. loanDepot
  7. Homepoint
  8. Quicken Loans
  9. Citibank
  10. Bank of America

*Only available to military members, veterans, and select military-adjacent groups.

A note on current refinance rates

To find the lenders with the best refinance rates, we looked at loan–level data filed in 2020 – the most recent numbers available.

Keep in mind that mortgage interest rates hit record lows in 2020 and early 2021. Today’s refinance rates may be higher, as most experts expect rates to continue rising as the U.S. recovers from the COVID pandemic.

The rates you’re quoted today are likely to be different 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.

The lowest refinance rates, ranked

Among the 40 biggest mortgage lenders in 20202, these 25 had the best mortgage refinance rates on average:

LenderAverage 30-Yr Refinance Rate
Freedom Mortgage*2.87%
American Financial Network2.98%
Better Mortgage3.00%
Navy Federal Credit Union*3.01%
Veterans United*  3.01%
loanDepot3.02%
Homepoint3.04%
Quicken Loans3.05%
Citibank3.05%
Bank of America3.06%
CrossCountry Mortgage 3.06%
NewRez3.08%
American Pacific3.10%
New American Funding3.12%
CMG Financial3.13%
Stearns Lending3.14%
Primary Residential Mortgage3.14%
Caliber Home Loans3.15%
Guild Mortgage Co.3.15%
Sierra Pacific Mortgage3.17%
Finance of America3.18%
Paramount Residential Mortgage Group3.18%
Bay Equity LLC3.18%
Guaranteed Rate3.19%
Prosperity Home Mortgage3.19%

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

As this table indicates, refinance rates vary a lot from lender to lender. But they also vary by borrower.

For example, Freedom Mortgage has the lowest refinance rates of any lender in our study – at least on average. But its rates for individual borrowers ranged from just 1.75% to over 5%. So some homeowners got much lower refi rates than others.

In addition, rates change constantly based on how busy a lender is and what type of borrower it prefers. (For instance, some might only want high–credit homeowners while others might be more lenient.)

The point is, you have to find a lender offering low rates for your situation, at the time you’re looking. This will take some shopping around.

Prepare to fill out refinance applications with at least 3–5 lenders and compare the loans you‘re offered to find the very best deal.

Refinance closing costs

Don’t forget: Opting for a lender with the lowest refinance rate doesn’t mean it will be least expensive overall.

You also have to factor in lender fees and closing costs, which typically cost around 2–5% of your new loan amount.

Closing costs include the lender’s own fees as well as a new home appraisal and other third–party fees – just like when you bought your home. For example, you’ll pay:

  • Mortgage origination fee
  • Underwriting fee
  • Credit reporting fee
  • Discount points to lower your rate (optional)
  • 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 often 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 fees?

The table below shows how much each lender charged in total refinance closing costs in 2020, as a percentage of their average loan amount.

It also shows how much each lender would likely charge on a $250,000 refinance loan, to give you a better benchmark for comparison.

LenderMedian Refinance Loan Costs, 2020 (as % of Average Loan Size)Example: Upfront Cost for a $250,000 Refinance Loan
Supreme Lending0.38%$957
Citibank0.56%$1,398
PNC0.57%$1,416
Veterans United*0.66%$1,661
Better Mortgage0.69%$1,736
Chase0.76%$1,894
Guaranteed Rate0.79%$1,987
Wells Fargo0.95%$2,378
US Bank0.95%$2,380
loanDepot0.96%$2,404
Bank of America0.97%$2,423
Flagstar Bank0.98%$2,446
USAA0.98%$2,449
American Pacific0.98%$2,451
Homepoint1.01%$2,516
Finance of America1.01%$2,527
Northpointe Bank 1.03%$2,580
Sierra Pacific Mortgage1.03%$2,581
Prosperity Home Mortgage1.03%$2,582
Navy Federal Credit Union1.08%$2,702
CrossCountry Mortgage 1.09%$2,717
NewRez1.09%$2,726
Fairway Independent 1.11%$2,784
Bay Equity LLC1.12%$2,795
Caliber Home Loans1.13%$2,823

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

How much should you care about closing costs? That depends.

If you’re planning to keep the loan for decades, you likely want the lowest interest rate possible. This will save you more money over the life of the loan, and slightly higher closing costs might not matter as much.

But if you’re only going to keep the new mortgage a few years before moving or refinancing again, then lower closing cost might be more important. In that case, a few thousand dollars of extra upfront fees can really eat into your savings.

Your loan officer can help you crunch the numbers. Or, you can use a refinance calculator to model your potential refi savings versus closing costs.

Finding your best refinance rate

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.

5 tips to get a lower refinance rate

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

  1. 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
  2. Shop around among several different lenders. It pays to request rate quotes from at least 3–5 mortgage lenders so that you can better compare rates, terms, and fees
  3. Factor in closing costsAgain, choosing a low–rate loan won’t necessarily get you the best deal. You should also compare annual percentage rate (APR), estimated closing costs, and monthly payments on each loan offer you receive
  4. Read your Loan Estimates carefully. When you apply with a lender, you’ll get a Loan Estimate which provides a thorough breakdown of the costs that come with your refinance loan. Be sure to compare your Estimates line by line and dollar for dollar
  5. 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 about 0.25%

Finally, remember to keep your refinance goals in mind when choosing a lender.

Mortgage refinancing strategies

If all you want is a lower interest rate and monthly mortgage payment, then the choice is simple.

But if your refinance goals are more complex, you might have to be more careful when selecting a lender.

For instance, say your current loan is an FHA mortgage. You may want to refinance into a conventional loan to remove mortgage insurance payments – but you have to find a new lender that will approve you for conventional financing.

If you want to take cash–out when you refinance, you’ll notice that cash–out refinance rates are a little higher than ‘standard’ rates. In this case, you want to be extra careful to find a lower mortgage rate and maximize your savings.

There are other reasons to refinance, too.

You might switch from an adjustable–rate mortgage to a safer, fixed–rate mortgage. Or you might switch from a 30–year mortgage to a shorter–term loan to pay off your home faster.

Whatever your reason for refinancing, find a lender that can help you understand your loan options and meet your goals as well as offering a low rate.

The right choice depends on your financial situation and your refinance options.

Refinance rates FAQ

Which bank is best for refinancing? 

The lender that’s best for your refinance will vary depending on your circumstances and budget. Overall, you should find a lender that offers the lowest combination of interest rate, fees, closing costs, and total loan costs. Don’t just look at banks, either. Online lenders, credit unions, and mortgage brokers can all offer good deals for many borrowers.

What is a good interest rate for a refinance? 

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

Is it worth refinancing for 1 percent? 

Dropping your mortgage rate by 1 percent 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. This is known as the break–even point. You typically want your savings to break even with your upfront costs to make refinancing truly worth it.

Is it worth refinancing 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 typically costs 2 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.

Do I need a down payment to refinance?

No. However, you need a minimum about of home equity. For instance, conforming loans typically require at least 3% equity to refinance – meaning your loan balance is no more than 97% of your home’s appraised value. If you refinance with at least 20% equity, you can often eliminate private mortgage insurance (PMI) payments.

Are refinance rates going 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 at historic lows, there’s no guarantee about how long they’ll stay that way.

What’s the best refinance loan? 

The best loan product 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 mortgage. If you simply want a lower rate and monthly 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 current mortgage rates?

Today’s refinance rates are still 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.


1Rate and fee data were 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 loans reported by each lender for the previous year. Your own rate and loan costs will vary.

2Top 40 lenders for 2020 sourced from S&P GlobalHousingWire, and Scotsman Guide.

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