Intro: Understanding Mortgage Origination and the Mortgage Origination Process

Obtaining a mortgage is often one of the most pivotal decisions of your life. You’re making the decision to buy a home and take on a loan that you could be paying back for the next 30 years, so it’s important to make the right choice.

Unfortunately, the process of obtaining a home loan can be one that’s complicated and, in many instances, frustrating for consumers.

The best defense against becoming overwhelmed by the experience is to go into it armed with knowledge and information.

Key to understanding mortgages is to at least have an overview of mortgage originators and the mortgage origination process.

The mortgage originator is the party that works with borrowers to complete an actual transaction of obtaining a mortgage, and the term can refer to brokers or bankers, as these are two of the most commonly seen types of originators.

While there are similarities between a broker and a banker, there are differences as well, with specific regard to origination. For example, a mortgage broker serves as an intermediary between a borrower and mortgage banks. A banker is someone who’s working on behalf of the organization that’s actually going to be funding a loan for a borrower.

The mortgage loan origination process includes many steps, but some of the most important, in simplest terms, are as follows:

  • The process begins by meeting with a mortgage consultant who then obtains all the necessary information and documentation
  • A borrower will receive pre-approval to use during the course of finding a home
  • He/she will then work with a real estate agent or work on one’s own to find a home
  • The home undergoes an inspection
  • The lender will seek third-party services which includes homeowner’s insurance
  • Borrowers should receive a copy of the closing disclosure several days before the closing, which shows the fees and services that are being paid as well as the terms and features of the loan
  • At the closing, you will sign a promissory note accepting the mortgage, and there will also be other documents that will need to be covered during this time

Also important to note before considering the top mortgage loan originators is the mortgage origination fee. Originators are ultimately salespeople who are working to sell a financing product to the borrower, regardless of who they’re working on behalf of.

As a result, the mortgage originator receives a mortgage origination fee, and it’s paid from the loan itself. It’s like paying your realtor a commission.

AdvisoryHQ’s List of the Top Mortgage Originators

This list is sorted alphabetically (click any of the above names to go directly to the detailed review for that firm).

The Best 10 Top Mortgage Loan Originators

Mortgage Loan Originator


Caliber Home Loanshttps://www.caliberhomeloans.com/
Eagle Home Mortgagehttps://www.eaglehm.com/
Freedom Mortgagehttps://www.freedommortgage.com/
Guaranteed Ratehttps://www.guaranteedrate.com/
Guild Mortgagehttp://www.guildmortgage.com/guild-home.html
HomeBridge Financial Serviceshttps://www.homebridge.com/
Prospect Mortgagehttps://www.myprospectmortgage.com/
Stearns Lendinghttps://stearns.com/


​Methodology for Selecting Top Mortgage Originators

The signature approach used in the creation of this ranking of the leading mortgage originators first included comprehensive research to look at what’s currently happening in the industry as well as reviewing the overall real estate and consumer lending industries.

It was important to have an understanding of these areas to guide the in-depth research required to determine the most reputable mortgage loan originators.

Once there was an understanding of trends, market forces, and consumer sentiment, we were then able to start compiling a detailed list of criteria which was used as a guide for determining the mortgage loan originators that would appear on this ranking.

Detailed Review – Top Mortgage Originators

After carefully considering the mortgage loan origination process and the largest mortgage originators, we created the following list of the top 10 mortgage loan originators. As you continue reading, you’ll find detailed reviews for each of our picks as well as specifics of some of the factors we used in our decision-making process.

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Caliber Home Loans Review

Caliber Home Loans focuses only on mortgage originations and offers a range of not only home loans but also refinancing options, including loans insured by the FHA and VA. Caliber Home Loans was created in 2013 through the integration of two existing companies: Caliber Funding and Vericrest Financial.

The goal of Caliber Home Loans is to provide affordable home financing as well as a mortgage loan origination process that is satisfying for the consumer. It’s this dedication that has led Caliber to become one of the leading mortgage lenders during its brief history.

Caliber Home Loans - Top Mortgage Loan Originators

Image Source: Top Mortgage Loan Originators

Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as a Top Mortgage Loan Originator

As part of the review and ranking process, below are some of the standout reasons Caliber was included on this list of top mortgage origination companies.

Fresh Start Program

Part of Caliber’s extensive lending portfolio is the Fresh Start program, designed to help those consumers who’ve been impacted by something like a bankruptcy or foreclosure.

The Fresh Start program features no waiting period following a bankruptcy, foreclosure, deed in lieu of foreclosure or a short sale. Low minimum credit scores are accepted, and with Fresh Start, borrowers can finance a single-family residence, condo, co-op, a 2 to 4-unit property, or a Planned Unit Development property.

This mortgage program includes fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages, with down payments starting at only 15%.


HomeReady is a Fannie Mae loan program that aims to help those buyers with limited incomes to have the opportunity to own a home. It delivers the possibility of buying a home with little or no out-of-pocket expenses, through the use of gift funds that family members provide.

This loan includes very low down payments that begin at only 3% of the total amount of the loan, and, along with being able to buy a home through assistance from family members, it’s also possible to receive help from your employer.

In addition, this loan offers the opportunity of purchases in FHFA high-cost areas, and it is integrated with a homeowner education program that helps new owners understand the long-term financial responsibilities they’re taking on by purchasing a home.

Consumer Focus

Caliber is unique in many ways, as compared to other mortgage loan originators. To begin, its work is based on a consumer-driven approach. It offers products and services that aim to give homeownership opportunities to customers in a way that’s highly personalized and tailored to the unique needs of each individual or family.

Caliber is also unique because it focuses only on mortgages. This allows it to offer more options to borrowers and also fewer restrictions, as well as loan options, for borrowers who need a non-traditional financing product.

Finally, Caliber is also distinctive because when a loan closes with Caliber, it’s typically transferred to a servicing division, as opposed to being sold somewhere else. This means that the borrower can maintain a long-term relationship with this mortgage originations company.

Government Loans

This mortgage loan originator offers several different government loan options designed to suit the needs of a range of consumers. These include:

  • FHA loans: An FHA loan is partially insured by the FHA, and it includes fixed-rate and ARMs, as well as high-balance loans
  • FHA 203(k) fixed-rate rehab: This loan lets buyers purchase a property that requires renovations, giving extra funding before move-in to make the necessary changes
  • FHA streamline refinance: This option is a refinancing product for borrowers with a current FHA mortgage
  • USADA loans: For rural homebuyers, this is designed for consumers that wouldn’t otherwise qualify for a conventional loan
  • VA streamline refinance: This boasts a better way to lower or lock-in an interest rate while keeping costs limited
  • VA loans: VA loans are partially insured by the Department of Veterans Affairs

Eagle Home Mortgage Review

Eagle Home Mortgage is a member of the Lennar family of companies, which has more than $9 billion in revenue and is a Fortune 500. This Lennar Corporation subsidiary has a long history spanning back to 1984, and there are more than 7,700 professionals that are part of the company throughout the world.

Eagle Home Mortgage strives to deliver appropriate financing to consumers as well as personal service and attention. Eagle Home also bases its work on concepts of ethical lending and competitive interest rate provision. Some of the loan programs offered through Eagle Home include FHA and VA, rural, convention, and in-house jumbo loans.

Key Factors That Led Us to Rank This as One of the Top Mortgage Loan Originators

When comparing mortgage originators, below are some reasons Eagle Home ranks well.

Full-Service Experience

Often, when reading consumer reviews regarding mortgage companies, there are a lot of negative things said. Some of these frequent negative remarks made about even the largest mortgage loan originators include that there’s not of a lot of transparency, and the overall experience is one that’s bumpy, unclear, and stressful.

This is the opposite of what you’ll discover many customers say about Eagle Home.

Customers often say they’ve had a great experience, with professionals who are easy to work with and walk them through each step of the process. The Eagle Home team will not only provide clear instructions but also often work with borrowers to raise their credit scores. Other comments include the fact that the Eagle Home team is accessible and will always go the extra mile to get things done in a way that’s advantageous for the customer.


Eagle Home Mortgage can be a great option for a mortgage loan originator if you’re looking for convenience and accessibility. The company has locations throughout most of the country, and even in the states where there aren’t branches, it is licensed. There are very few states in the country where Eagle Home doesn’t have a presence.

This mortgage originator is also easy to reach through other methods besides visiting a branch, including by email or phone. You can also visit the website and find a tool that helps locate the nearest branch to you. This level of accessibility continues if you decide to work with Eagle Home.

Knowledge Base

As part of the concept of being a full-service and customer-driven mortgage originator, Eagle Home offers a lot of information and resources for buyers. This information can be obtained in person when you’re working with your loan professional and want to, for example, understand how your credit score impacts your interest rate.

There are also written resources available online, including through the Knowledge Base. Recent topics covered in the Knowledge Base include:

  • “What a Realtor Can Do for You”
  • “Why Use a Realtor”
  • “Choose a Realtor to Sell Your Home”
  • “How to Pick a Realtor”
  • “Moving Checklist”
  • “Types of Home Inspections”
  • “Types of Mortgages”
  • “Advice for First-Time Buyers”
  • “The Benefits of Using a Buyer’s Agent”

Bond Program

One of the many loans available to customers of Eagle Home is the bond program, which is designed to provide lower-interest second mortgage loan options for down payments available through local agencies. These organizations work to make homeownership a realistic and affordable option for more people.

The bond program is offered as part of programs designed to help low to moderate-income buyers, not only through special loans but also assistance for down payments.

This is an excellent option for first-time buyers, and these buyers must be within certain income limits.

Freedom Mortgage Review

For 25 years, Freedom Mortgage has been a leader in terms of providing full-service lending options as well as a streamlined experience and excellent customer service. Freedom features conventional mortgages along with FHA and VA loans. Freedom was founded in 1990 by Stanley Middleman.

This full-service lender is licensed in all 50 states as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Freedom is consistently ranked as one of the top mortgage originators in the country, and it also works with small businesses, financial institutions, and wholesale services.

Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of the Top Mortgage Originators

Following is a list of critical reasons that Freedom Mortgage is part of this ranking of the country’s best and largest mortgage originators.

Streamlined Process

One of the ways Freedom Mortgage differentiates itself from other mortgage loan originator companies is through what it calls its signature streamlined process. The thought is that borrowers want everything to go smoothly when they’re working to buy a home, so it’s with that in mind that Freedom tailors the experience.

Freedom employs dedicated loan officers who are assigned to the borrower so they can build a long-term and personal relationship and also serve as their guide throughout the entire process.

These expert loan officers will help borrowers choose the right loan, regardless of whether they’re a first-time buyer, refinancing or converting from an adjustable-rate to a fixed-rate mortgage.

Mission and Values

One of the problems many consumers may have when they think about mortgage origination is the sense that it’s not necessarily an ethical business, particularly in the wake of the Great Recession, which has had a lasting impact on many people and was largely the result of irresponsible lending.

Freedom Mortgage is unique because it really strives to move beyond that and operate with the utmost in integrity. The Freedom Mortgage mission is to foster homeownership in America and build lasting relationships, one loan at a time. This is done through personalized solutions and service.

The values of Freedom Mortgage include integrity, responsible growth, collaboration, creativity, and community spirit.


Consider the scenario of being in the midst of making one of the largest investments you will likely ever make. There is a lot of documentation needed, and many steps are required to properly move through the mortgage loan origination process. So, envision at the same time that you’re working with a company where you either don’t have a dedicated point person to contact or you aren’t receiving prompt attention to your questions and requests. It can completely derail the home buying experience and make it a confusing nightmare.

That is not the case at Freedom Mortgage, according to customer reviews. One of the primary points of praise many customers have with regard to Freedom is its high level of attentiveness and responsiveness.

Customers rate this company highly for many reasons, but in particular, the fact that they always feel like they are able to get through to their officer when needed, without difficulty or obstacles.

FHA and VA Loans

Along with conventional loans, Freedom Mortgage has two areas of specialization, and those are FHA loans and VA loans.

FHA loans are insured by the Federal Housing Administration, under a program that is designed to help more people become homeowners. Freedom is an approved FHA lender and also has extensive expertise in this area to help borrowers get approved. An FHA loan is typically good for people with less-than-perfect credit or those buyers that aren’t able to make a significant down payment.

Freedom also specializes in the VA loan, which is partially insured by the Veterans Administration. While the terms and qualification requirements of a VA loan tend to be favorable to other options, it can be a tricky area to navigate, which is why it’s important to work with a lending institution that understands the ins and outs of this product. For more than 25 years, Freedom has been a VA-approved lender.

Guaranteed Rate Review

Guaranteed Rate is one of the top 10 largest mortgage originators in the country, with around 175 nationwide offices and a team of more than 2800 employees. Guaranteed Rate was started in 2000, based on a model of delivering an easy-to-understand mortgage loan origination process flow as well as a platform of technology.

To date, Guaranteed Rate has provided lending services to hundreds of thousands of homeowners, with more than $80 billion in loans being funded since the company was established. 

Key Factors That Allowed This to Rank as a Top Mortgage Loan Originator

Main reasons Guaranteed Rate is part of this list of the country’s best mortgage originators are cited below.

Awards and Recognition

Guaranteed Rate has been recognized and honored in many ways over the years. For example, it has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and a 95% customer satisfaction score. This mortgage originator also has an 80% Net Promoter Score, the highest of any company in any industry and is well beyond the banking industry average, which is 35%.

Recent awards include a Stevie Award in the 2016 American Business Awards for Guaranteed Rate’s Digital Mortgage technology.

Crain Chicago Business recognized Guaranteed Rate as the 15th largest privately-held workforce in the Chicago area, and the company’s CEO was named the CEO of the year by CityLights. These are just a few of the many recognitions Guaranteed Rate has received over the years.

Digital Mortgage

Guaranteed Rate offers the world’s first digital mortgage, which is a technology-based platform that lets customers do essentially everything required to obtain a mortgage online, from anywhere and at any time. It completely streamlines and modernizes the process of getting a mortgage, and this offering makes Guaranteed Rate a very popular mortgage origination company.

The Digital Mortgage platform lets users choose the loan type that’s right for them, order appraisals, and get their free credit score.

They can then digitally sign documents, upload documents securely, and get a real approval. All of this is technologically driven and fully convenient, but if you ever need help along the way, you can also easily get in touch with a home loan expert from Guaranteed Loan.

Competitive Rates

Along with offering innovative technology and an incredibly simple, low-stress way to apply for and obtain a mortgage, Guaranteed Rate tends to rank well with consumers and within the industry because of its focus on offering the most competitive interest rates. It strives to make the entire cost of a home loan transparent, including details like the mortgage origination fee.

It also constantly monitors its competitors to make sure customers are getting the lowest rates and fees.

In addition, Guaranteed Rate promotes transparency by posting a live comparison of mortgage rates as compared to its competitors.


While Guaranteed Rate’s exclusive focus is on providing the most straightforward and low-cost loans possible to homeowners, it also works with top U.S. insurance carriers to ensure their customers can also get great rates on these products as well.

This can be particularly beneficial when you’re in the step of the mortgage loan origination process that requires you to obtain homeowner’s insurance.

Guaranteed Rate can help customers get competitive quotes for insurance that will cover damage to their home and property. Also available through Guaranteed Rate are quotes for auto and life insurance products.

Guild Mortgage Review

An independent mortgage banking company, Guild Mortgage has a history that spans back more than 50 years. Guild was founded in San Diego in 1960, and the concept was one of innovation, with the primary mission being to provide the possibility of homeownership for American families.

Guild values include stability, integrity, and the desire to build strong, long-term relationships with customers. Guild also prides itself on closing loans quickly, upholding a high standard of professionalism, and leading the way in the creation of value.

Key Factors That Enabled Us to Rank This as One of the Top Mortgage Loan Originators

Pivotal reasons Guild is ranked as one of the country’s best mortgage originators are highlighted in the details below.

The Right Fit

The number one thing that Guild really focuses on in its delivery of mortgage products is making sure to find the right loan for each of its customers. Its approach is one that’s built on the idea of choosing loans that are the smartest possible fit for each person or family.

Borrowers can begin their journey to find the right product by visiting the Guild website, which categorizes the different loan options based on the needs of the client.

For example, if you’re a U.S. veteran or active military member, you’ll be shown some of the loan options that might be a good fit for you. If you don’t have a large down payment or you’ve had credit troubles, you’ll be shown good options as well.

You can also visit a Guild Mortgage office to discuss your loan options in-depth with an expert professional.


Even if you’ve purchased a home before, the process of obtaining a loan can still be confusing and somewhat overwhelming. Through a focus on financial education, Guild strives to maintain a sense of transparency and also make sure each client is fully aware of what’s happening throughout every step of the mortgage loan origination process.

There are signature guides that Guild customers can take advantage of on topics including whether or not they’re ready to own a home, how to create a budget, and how credit works. There are also guides to understanding the loan process and on how to find the right home.

In addition to home buying resources, Guild also offers guides for refinancing and selling a home.

FHA 203K Loan

This mortgage loan originator can provide the unique FHA 203k loan, which is from the Federal Housing Administration and offers flexibility and loan down payment options as well as the opportunity to obtain additional funding to make improvements on a property.

The loan is the perfect choice if you’re looking at older, distressed or REO properties.

The FHA 203k loan includes up to 96.5% financing and up to $35,000 to make cosmetic improvements. It’s available for purchase and refinance transactions.

Hardship Assistance

Guild strives to maintain responsible lending practices, but it does understand that borrowers occasionally experience financial hardships that can impact their ability to make payments.

Guild has a team of experienced loan counselors and loss mitigation professionals who can help loan holders if they do experience difficulties.

Some of the possible options that may be available to a borrower include:

  • Informal repayment plans: With this option, the borrower would agree to a verbal contract with a defined period of time to reinstate the mortgage. The homeowner would include an additional amount with their payments to make up for past due amounts.
  • Formal repayment arrangements: This is a written agreement in which a homeowner pays additional amounts to make up for past due payments.
  • Forbearance/special forbearance: This is a temporary suspension or reduction of payments until the customer can make regular payments again.
  • Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP): This is a government-sponsored loan modification program.
  • Loan Modification: This is an agreement to make a permanent change to one or more of the original terms of the loan, which can include the interest rate or an extension of the loan term.

Other possible options offered by Guild include HUD partial claims, short sales, deed in lieu, and deed for lease.

HomeBridge Financial Services Review

HomeBridge Financial Services is one of the largest privately-held, non-bank mortgage originators in the country, specializing in facilitating and securing mortgage solutions. HomeBridge was founded in 1989 and has more than 90 retail branches located in the U.S. as well as two wholesale operations.

HomeBridge describes its mission as helping families achieve the dream of homeownership and along with assisting real estate agents and construction professionals build thriving communities. HomeBridge bases its success on its financial stability, culture of integrity, and core belief system that guides its client interactions.

Key Factors Leading Us to Rank This as One of the Best Mortgage Loan Originators

When ranking and comparing mortgage loan originators, below are some reasons HomeBridge was included on this list of the best mortgage originators.

Customer Satisfaction

HomeBridge puts value on the relationships its company is able to cultivate and maintain with customers, and it’s important to its way of doing business that borrowers have peace of mind when working with the company.

HomeBridge has a Net Promoter Score of 74, which it says highlights its dedication to transparency, honesty, and accountability. It also encourages all customers, as well as business partners and associates, to share real feedback about their experiences.

Some of the areas customers say HomeBridge excels in include its timeliness, friendliness, and knowledgeable support.


Often, when consumers are working with other mortgage loan originators, they report frustration because they’re not sure of the materials they need ahead of time, and they’re often scrambling to secure these documents and get them sent in at the last minute.

To make for a smooth mortgage loan origination process, HomeBridge provides potential borrowers with a detailed list of the documents they’ll need to get together so that they can be fully prepared.

In addition to the standard documents essentially every borrower will need, HomeBridge even put together a list of potential documentation that might be needed in some situations, such as proof of VA eligibility or self-employment information.

Short Sale Assistance

One of the service areas available through HomeBridge is the Short Sale Assistance program. HomeBridge has a dedicated in-house Short Sale Division, which is called Short on Sale (SOS).

This in-house division provides services exclusively to customers and business partners, and the company helps everyone involved throughout the entirety of the process to ensure the solution is the least expensive and complicated one possible.

The SOS process is uniquely designed to ensure everyone is informed through each step of the process.

Some of the benefits of this program include the following:

  • HomeBridge and SOS work with the seller and listing agent to make sure a complete, accurate, and updated Short Sale package is submitted to the lender
  • HomeBridge has relationships with most lenders, so it’ll have access to lender-specific guidelines and forms
  • HomeBridge and SOS will conduct a preliminary title search or credit evaluation
  • Most Short Sale packages include a full appraisal with a full mortgage commitment for the buyer if the buyer is using HomeBridge for financing
  • HomeBridge serves as the primary point of contact for everyone

Diverse Loan Products

As a full-service mortgage loan originator, HomeBridge can provide a very extensive selection of solutions and products. These loan products can be tailored to the needs of the buyer, and they’re offered at competitive rates. Loan products available to customers of HomeBridge include:

  • Conventional
  • FHA
  • VA
  • Fixed and adjustable rate
  • Jumbo and super jumbo
  • Reverse mortgage
  • USDA financing
  • Second home or investment
  • FHA 203(k) and 203(h)
  • VA 95% cash out
  • FNMA HomeStyle
  • HomeBridge Home Fixer
  • Construction to Perm
  • Energy efficient mortgage
  • Interest-only
  • Mixed use or commercial
  • Low to moderate programs
  • FHLMC open access

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loanDepot Review

Highly ranked as a mortgage origination company, loanDepot was founded in 2010 to provide access to ethical and fair lending for consumers. This national, non-bank mortgage loan originator has more than 5,200 employees, and this team of professionals includes more than 1,700 licensed loan officers. Anthony Hsieh serves as the chairman and CEO of the company.

loanDepot is licensed in all 50 states and is headquartered in Foothill Ranch, CA. There are also more than 150 loan stores throughout the country, and loanDepot maintains four online direct-lending business centers.

Key Factors That Enabled This to Rank as One of the Top Mortgage Originators

During the process of reviewing and ultimately ranking mortgage loan originators, the following details represent some of the reasons loanDepot was included on this list.

Technology and Innovation

Among even the largest mortgage originators, loanDepot really leads the way in terms of innovation and technology. The company’s CEO was an essential part of the development of loansdirect.com, E*Trade Mortgage, and LendingTree, so he was able to bring experience regarding the online marketplace, as well as the mortgage industry, and create a unique concept.

During its short history, loanDepot has been able to grow and become the second largest nonbank consumer lender and the second largest nonbank retail mortgage lender.

loanDepot challenges what currently exists in the mortgage market through the integration of several distribution channels, including consumer direct, wholesale, retail branches, and services.

Online Application

When a consumer works with loanDepot, much of the mortgage loan origination process can be completed online. Consumers can visit the website and then create an account or log into a secure application area.

They fill out information regarding their needs and then are shown loans based on their individual situation. The consumer selects a rate and is able to see a Good Faith Estimate instantly.

The online portal also allows customers to lock in their rate and schedule an appraisal.

Lifetime Guarantee

loanDepot features the Lifetime Guarantee, which is designed to ensure homeowners don’t overpay in lender or appraisal fees. With this guarantee, after a customer refinances with loanDepot once, it waives the lender fees and reimburses appraisal fees on any future financing done through the company.

This program applies to loandepot.com mortgage loans, and you are required to fully qualify for the refinancing program you select and meet all of your loan program requirements.

Customers will receive a loanDepot Lifetime Guarantee Certificate, which they must present to qualify.

HARP Loans

loanDepot is a mortgage loan originator that’s able to offer Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) loans. This is a federal program designed to help homeowners who are underwater or nearly underwater. It offers refinancing on mortgages at a lower rate.

loanDepot has a team of licensed and experienced officers who can help customers determine if their situation and loan qualify for HARP.

The benefits of HARP loans include lower mortgage payments and saving hundreds of dollars every month. In addition, no equity is required, and loan-to-value is not a factor. There is also no minimum credit score requirement.

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PrimeLending Review

PrimeLending offers mortgage originations whether a customer wants to buy or refinance a home. PrimeLending has a team of almost 1,500 loan officers throughout the country, and the company has been helping individuals purchase homes or refinance since 1986.

PrimeLending is responsible for the origination of more than 500,000 loans, all with the goal of delivering a rewarding experience, along with simplicity and transparency. The guiding concept behind the services offered by PrimeLending is “home loans made simple.”

Key Factors That Led Us to Rank This as One of the Top Mortgage Originators

Listed below are some of the factors that make PrimeLending a selection for one of the best mortgage originators.

FHA Cash-Out Refinance

PrimeLending is eligible to offer government-backed loans, including the FHA Cash-Out Refinance Loan. This loan is designed for homeowners whose property is worth more than they owe. The concept is that the difference between home value and what’s owed is equity, and by taking advantage of this particular loan, owners can tap into the equity.

Refinancing with this FHA option makes it easier to qualify, particularly for those homeowners that have variable income, a credit history that isn’t perfect or a higher debt-to-income ratio.

This particular loan can provide financial flexibility and the opportunity to put your home’s equity toward things like education expenses, home upgrades or to consolidate higher-interest debts.

Honors and Recognitions

As a well-respected and established mortgage origination company, PrimeLending has gained many awards and honors over the years. Some of these include the following:

  • Named  a top 10 purchase lender in the nation by Marketrac
  • Ranked 6th on the list of the top 100 mortgage companies in America by Mortgage Executive magazine
  • 4th in top retail volume by Scotsman Guide
  • 8th in top overall volume by Scotsman Guide
  • Induction into the Mortgage Banker Association’s Hall of Honor Program
  • 12 loan officers from PrimeLending were ranked by Mortgage Executive magazine
  • 2nd in the list of 30 best workplaces in finance and insurance by Great Place to Work and Fortune
  • Ranked in the top 100 best workplaces for women by Great Place to Work and Fortune

Building a Home

PrimeLending is a unique company on this list of mortgage originators because it offers new construction loans. It’s important that a mortgage origination company understand the differences in a new construction loan because it’s a two-step process.

In this process, a temporary loan is first obtained to launch the project, and then once the construction is actually complete, the homeowner refinances the loan to get a regular mortgage with favorable terms.

When working with PrimeLending, it will lock the interest rate for a second refinance loan for up to nine months. The first loan is offered with a fixed rate, and interest is only paid on the money used for construction rather than the total of the loan. When you refinance your initial loan to your regular mortgage, PrimeLending provides closing cost credits.

Renovation Loans

PrimeLending has an extensive number of renovation loan options available, which is just one more way it is a unique mortgage loan originator.

These loan options include:

  • HomeStyle: This is good for older homes in established neighborhoods, and it has fewer costs because repairs and refinancing expenses can be combined into a single loan.
  • EZ C’onventional: This is designed to cover appraiser-required or borrower-requested repairs, and it creates a dedicated account to cover the costs.
  • Buyer/Seller Funded Repair Escrow: This loan is borrower-requested repairs or updates that determine the final appraisal. It is advantageous because there’s a dedicated account to cover costs, and funds can be provided by the buyer or the seller.
  • Jumbo Renovation: This loan is for appraiser-required or borrower-requested repairs on luxury homes valued over $417,000. It covers a dedicated account for non-structural repairs up to $250,000.

Also available is the pool escrow, designed to add a pool to a home, and the weather-related escrow, which is a loan designed to be used to repair weather damage or make weather-related or energy efficient upgrades to a home.

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Prospect Mortgage Review

Prospect Mortgage has headquarters in Sherman Oaks, California and is one of the largest mortgage originators in the U.S. Prospect Mortgage is backed by the strength and security of Sterling Partners, which has more than $5 billion in assets.

This mortgage origination company offers a full selection of the most popular and top-quality home loans, and these options include the government-backed FHA and VA loans as well as conventional, jumbo, and renovation loans.

Key Factors Considered When Ranking This as One of the Best Options for Mortgage Originations

When considering the most important criteria with regard to mortgage originators, the following are some reasons Prospect is part of this ranking.

Face-to-Face Service

When it comes to obtaining financing for a new home or even for a renovation, Prospect understands that it’s a deeply personal experience for every individual. With that sense of personalization come different preferences for how you’ll work with the mortgage origination company.

Prospect likes to offer accessibility, in the form of more than 200 locations nationwide, where customers can visit to receive face-to-face service and guidance through a local lender.

If this doesn’t work for you, you can also choose to work online or by phone.

Tools and Information

Along with responsible lending and matching customers with the right loan products for their unique needs, a high priority of Prospect is to make the process of financing a home simple and free of stress or unnecessary obstacles.

It’s with that in mind that it offers consumers access to a range of valuable resources that walk them through each detail of the mortgage loan origination process.

For example, the home buying guide is a great explanation of the lending process while the mortgage checklist provides a simplified way to understand exactly what you need to gather to be prepared during each step of the mortgage loan origination process.


As a full-service home loan provider, Prospect works first to understand the unique needs of the buyer before determining what product is going to be right for him/her.

Since Prospect is a direct lender, it then has the flexibility to become the borrower’s broker as well. What does this mean for the buyer? It delivers the utmost in choice, convenience, and control through the entire mortgage loan origination process.

Along with this, Prospect offers a full loan portfolio, with loans broken into primary categories that include 30- and 15-year fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages, jumbo and super jumbo mortgages, and also government loans.

Fannie Mae Foreclosure Loan

According to Prospect, purchasing a Fannie Mae foreclosure represents an excellent opportunity to get the house you want and need at a price that’s affordable. Prospect Mortgage has programs specifically designed to aid in the purchase of these valuable foreclosure properties.

Prospect can help clients get the best price on a home that’s owned by the bank, and when using an FHA loan, homes can be purchased with as little as 3.5% down.

Prospect can also help borrowers get up to $35,000 to make upgrades or renovation to the home.

Free Money Management Software

Stearns Lending Review

Stearns Home Loans is one of the leading mortgage originators in the country, with headquarters in Santa Ana, California. Stearns was founded in 1989 by Glenn Stearns who was committed to building a company based on integrity and helping customers achieve the American dream.

Stearns now has more than 2,000 employees, and Stearns companies have funded more than $58 billion in loans in recent years. The company strives to ensure customers retain a sense of dignity, confidence, and comfort throughout the mortgage loan origination process, and its mission statement is, “We can help you.”

Key Factors That Led to Our Ranking of This as One of the Top Mortgage Originators

Factors weighing heavily into the inclusion of Stearns on this list are below.

Streamlined Service

When comparing the country’s mortgage loan originators, one of the many ways Stearns is unique is because it takes care of all underwriting and closing documents at a local operations center.

Other mortgage loan originators might outsource the underwriting to a third-party service provider.

The result of the system Stearns has in place is that the borrower gets the benefit of lower rates, faster and more regular status updates, and the route to closing is also quicker and more streamlined.

Honesty and Transparency

Stearns takes a unique approach to maintain a sense of honesty and transparency. It does this by not publishing loan products’ interest rates that it has available, which may sound counterintuitive but actually isn’t.

Stearns made this decision because it wants to ensure that it is always giving a possible borrower a completely accurate quote, and to do that, a detailed analysis of that person’s financial situation is first required. Some of the factors that go into the price of a loan include credit score, loan size, and the type of property that will be purchased.

Instead of following a methodology where applicants see a quote on a rate sheet and believe that’s the price they will get, Stearns has a team of mortgage loan originators that carefully analyze the individual’s loan application before offering a rate quote. The initial consultation with a mortgage loan originator takes just a few minutes.

Promises Made to Customers

Stearns is a mortgage loan originator with a long and sound reputation in the industry, and part of that are the commitments it makes to its customers. These include the following:

  • Stearns only business is home loans. This direct lender has an extensive national presence, and it is large enough to offer competitive prices as well as diversity in its available products. At the same time, its size doesn’t detract from the company’s ability to be able to provide finely tailored, personalized service to each client.
  • The professionals at Stearns work with the borrower through each and every step of the mortgage loan origination process, starting with the application and all the way through funding.
  • Stearns strives to become a lender for life with all of its clients.
  • Finally, all loans are underwritten and processed in-house, leading to accurate status updates and timely closings.

Purchase Options

As one of the largest mortgage originators, Stearns offers a wide range of available loan products for buyers.

These include conventional loans which are suitable for people with a strong credit history that can qualify for a lower interest rate.

For those people that can’t afford a large down payment, there is an FHA loan as well as the FHA Limited 203k loan available to borrowers with Stearns, also known as a rehabilitation loan.

Fixed-rate loans aim to provide a simple option for borrowers who want their interest rates to stay locked in. In addition, VA loans, adjustable-rate mortgages, and USADA rural loans are all available through Stearns.

Conclusion – Top Mortgage Originators

You’ve made the decision that it’s the right time in your life to buy a home. It’s an exciting time, but if you’re like most people, you probably also feel some level of anxiety and trepidation. It’s likely not just because you’re making such a major purchase, but you may also be wondering who will walk you through the process and what it will be like to get the financing for your new home.

This is where mortgage originators become an essential part of the equation. There is one caveat, however. It is important to realize mortgage loan originators are salespeople who ultimately want to make a profit, including through the mortgage origination fee.

With that in mind, it’s essential to choose the right one. Some of the important criteria that can determine a top mortgage loan originator, over one that might not work in your best interest, include transparency when it comes to fees, reputation, and its history of customer service.

These were just a few of the many factors that went into the creation of this ranking and review of the best mortgage originations throughout the country. The above list represents not just the largest mortgage originators, but those companies that excel in offering diverse products, honesty, and integrity in their delivery of loan products and that also have excellent reputations with past customers.

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