Veterans First Mortgage Review

About Veterans First Mortgage

Veterans First Mortgage

Wintrust Mortgage dba Veterans First Mortgage is committed to empowering Veterans, one by one, to live the American Dream of home ownership. Experience a lender who specializes in getting Veterans into solid loans with competitive rates. Our leadership team brings three decades of insight and experience in VA loans, VA refinancing, and other government-backed lending. You can count on dedicated personal service as we walk you through the process, step by step. We are a top-ranked national VA lender, and are proud to have an A+ ranking from the BBB. Check out what other LendingTree customers are saying about Veterans First.

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What is Veterans First?

Founded in 1985, Veterans First has issued more than $21 billion in mortgages to more than 100,000 customers.

The lender, previously known as iFreedom Direct, is one of the country’s prominent U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs lenders. In 2017, iFreedom was the 25th largest VA lender, with $872,381,388 in loan volume. At the end of the year, Wintrust Mortgage, a division of Barrington Bank & Trust Company, which is headquartered in Illinois, purchased Veterans First. In the second quarter of 2019, parent company Wintrust was the No. 23 VA lender, with $188,535,300 in loan volume. This loan volume includes loans issued by Wintrust Bank and Veterans First.

Working with Veterans First

The lender’s primary product is VA mortgages, but you don’t have to be a veteran to borrow from Veterans First; it also offers FHA loans. Veterans First has offices in Utah, California, Arizona, Missouri and Nevada. It can issue loans in all 50 states.

Borrowers need a minimum of a 620 credit score to take out a loan from Veterans First. Veterans First will also manually underwrite its loans in certain circumstances.   

Veterans First issues loans for single-family homes, certain condos, homes in planned-unit developments and multifamily properties up to four units. It does not issue loans for cooperative apartments.

Veterans First products



Home equity

Veterans First mortgage application process

Because Veterans First specializes in VA mortgage lending, the application process differs from that of other lenders. Servicemembers and veterans who want to apply for a VA loan must first get a Certificate of Eligibility (COE). Veterans First gives clear instructions on its website for how to get a COE.

How to apply. Once an applicant has their COE, they can call Veterans First or fill out a quick form online. The form only requests your name, email address and phone number. Once Veterans First has your contact information, a loan officer will call to help you understand your options.
The loan officer can help borrowers get pre-qualified for a VA mortgage. This process will involve looking at your credit score and verifying your income.
Borrowers can lock in their interest rate as soon as the application is complete.

Disclosure process. With Veterans First, the disclosure process is done electronically. Applicants send and receive information and documents through Veterans First’s secure online portal. Applicants who prefer not to use the online portal can mail the required documentation to their loan officer.

Submitting loan for approval. Before submitting a loan for approval, an appraiser must place a valuation on the process. Veterans First orders the appraisal, and applicants can pay for it through the lender’s secure online portal.

Final approval. If all the details and documentation are in place prior to underwriting, Veterans First can complete underwriting in as little as 24 hours.

Closing. Borrowers may pick the date and time of closing, so they can close on their schedule.

Communication during the process

Throughout the loan process, borrowers will communicate primarily with a specific loan officer.   The loan officer will explain the lending process, talk to the applicant about loan options and detail the necessary documentation.

Aside from a loan officer, borrowers can expect to communicate with a real estate attorney (prior to closing) and their real estate agent.

Pros and cons of a Veterans First mortgage


  •  Experts in VA mortgage lending. Veterans First has specialized in VA mortgages for more than 30 years.
  •  Loans available in all 50 states. Veterans First is licensed to lend in all 50 states.


  •  Only five loan centers. Throughout most of the country, borrowers cannot meet face-to-face with a loan officer.
  •  Limited selection of loans. Veterans First only offers VA and FHA-guaranteed mortgages. If another loan option makes more sense for you, you may have to work with a different lender.

Editorial Note: Parts of this article were reviewed by a lender to ensure accuracy prior to publication. The overall conclusions, recommendations and opinions are the author’s alone.

The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.