The Best Conventional Refinance Lenders of 2019
Rent tends to increase steadily based on the whims of a landlord. But a mortgage payment can actually go down over time. How? By paying it off and replacing it with a new loan at a lower interest rate.
Perhaps the most common way to do this is through a 30-year fixed conventional refinance loan. This type of mortgage gives you the stability of a set payment, while still allowing you to gradually pay the loan off by paying the principal and interest.
LendingTree reviewed data from hundreds of lenders that offer 30-year fixed rate conventional refinance loans to come up with the top five lenders of 2019. Our ratings are based primarily on the interest rate terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree over the last 12 months. Then we take into account the quality of information each lender provides on their websites. You can read up on our full methodology below.
Here are the top 30-year fixed conventional refinance lenders for 2019.
| KS StateBank
KS StateBank was founded as Kansas State Bank of Manhattan in 1969. The bank is based in Manhattan, Kan., and has branches in Minnesota, Arizona and Missouri.
KS State Bank offered a median 30-year fixed conventional refinance rate of 4.776% on the LendingTree platform.
The homepage of the bank’s website features general home loan product information under the “Personal” drop-down menu of the website. It also includes a link to a checklist of documents needed for each loan type, a glossary of mortgage terms and mortgage calculators.
There is no “Apply now” button, but there is a “Find a Lender and Apply Today” link that takes the reader to a page where customers can choose a general application to fill out, or a list of loan officers at each of the bank’s branches to contact directly.
| TIAA Bank
TIAA Bank was founded more than 20 years ago as Everbank, and offers mortgage products along with a full line of standard banking products. It was acquired in 2017 by TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America).
TIAA Bank offered a median rate of 4.789% for 30-year fixed conventional refinance loans on the LendingTree platform.
The homepage features a navigation bar that a customer can browse for mortgage-related information. Basic information about buying a home, refinancing and getting a home equity loan can be found by clicking on the “Lending” drop-down menu and selecting “Mortgage solutions.”
The “Lending” dropdown also takes the customer to an “In the know” column with a “Home matters insights,” which are in-depth articles about topics such as buying versus renting, things to avoid before applying for a mortgage and other informative topics related to homebuying and refinancing.
There were no financial calculators, but the “Apply now” button was prominently displayed on each information page, making it easy for a customer to begin the application process at any point while browsing the site.
| AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation
AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation has been providing mortgages since 2002 out of its corporate headquarters in Atlanta. The company is licensed to originate mortgages in 49 states.
AmeriSave Mortgage Corporation offered a median 30-year conventional fixed refinance rate of 4.875% on the LendingTree platform.
The homepage provides an abundance of information about mortgages, with easy-to-find guides to buying a home, refinancing, and loan programs with basic information. The knowledge center provides a wide variety of more detailed articles and videos covering homebuying, refinancing and other frequently asked mortgage questions.
Although the site doesn’t feature mortgage calculators, there are numerous educational articles that provide most of the information a customer will need to make an informed decision about the best loan program for their financing needs, as well as some tips on mortgage shopping. The “Apply now” button is easy to find at the top of each page, and there is a live chat option for any questions that might not be answered on the website.
| J.G. Wentworth Home Lending, LLC
J.G. Wentworth Home Lending, LLC is a direct lender operating under its parent company, J.G. Wentworth. The company has branches in 15 states and has been in business since 1992.
J.G. Wentworth offered a median 30-year fixed conventional refinance rate of 4.881% on the LendingTree platform.
Information on the company’s loan options is easy to find from the homepage. There is also a wide variety of informational content on topics related to buying and refinancing different types of properties, plus blog posts that go into detail about specific mortgage-related topics and calculators.
There is no “Apply now” button and there doesn’t appear to be a link for filling out an online loan application, but there are buttons for getting a rate quote, finding a loan officer or talking to a
| Nations Lending Corporation
Nations Lending Corporation was founded in 2003 and is currently licensed as a residential mortgage lender in 44 states. The company has 25 branches across the U.S. with corporate offices in Independence, Ohio.
Nations Lending Corporation offered a median 30-year fixed conventional refinance rate of 4.883% on the LendingTree platform.
There was no information about loan options or products on the homepage of the website, nor were there any mortgage calculators or educational tools. However, informational articles are featured with helpful details about a variety of different home buying and mortgage-related topics.
There is no “Apply now” button, but a “Get started” button appears to provide an option to locate a loan officer at a branch of Nations Lending Corporation, where consumers can get assistance in filling out a loan application.
How we choose our “best” lenders
Our “best” winners aren’t chosen based on rate alone, but also with a unique rating developed by our editorial staff called “Online Information Quality,” or OIQ. We’ve taken extra time to review the information you can access online, including how easy it is to access loan product information, use mortgage tools like mortgage calculators and fill out a loan application.
To determine the best 30-year fixed conventional refinance lenders, we analyzed data from actual loan terms offered by lenders to borrowers on LendingTree. We chose the top five lenders by rate for the last 12 months. Then, we selected lenders that originate mortgages in at least 25 states. From that list, we gave each lender an OIQ rating based on answers to the following when accessing the lender’s main website. One point was given for each yes answer.
Is there general product information on the website?
If the website features both basic terms of the loan (30-year, 15-year, adjustable rates) and program offerings (FHA, conventional, FHA, VA), it scores a full point.
Is there general home loan information on the website?
Borrowers can make the most informed decisions if they have additional information regarding mortgages in the form of explanation articles, FAQ sections or links to an informational blog. Sites that have additional mortgage information score an extra OIQ point.
Is the general home loan information easy to find?
If the information is available with less than two clicks on the homepage, it scores an extra point, since a consumer will be able to get the information easily without having to search extensively through the site.
Are there any education tools (e.g. loan calculators) on the page or at least one click away from the homepage?
Mortgage calculators, home value estimators and other tools help consumers make educated decisions, so landing pages that feature them score an additional OIQ point.
Is it easy to find the “Apply now” button?
Mortgage users in the digital age want a quick online way to apply for a mortgage, so if the “Apply now” button is easy to find on the homepage, it will be easy for a consumer to apply once they’ve gotten the information they need to proceed to the next step in the mortgage process.
Tips for shopping for a 30-year fixed conventional refinance mortgage
When you bought your home, chances are pretty good that you took out a conventional mortgage. With first-time homebuyer programs that allow as little as a 3% down payment and much cheaper mortgage insurance costs, nearly 44% of all mortgages made through the first quarter of 2018 were conventional mortgages.
If you’re not familiar with mortgage insurance, it’s required on most loans if you make less than a 20% down payment. With conventional loans, you are required to pay monthly private mortgage insurance (PMI) based on how much you put down, your FICO scores, a few other factors like property type and how many people are on the loan. FHA loans, backed by the Federal Housing Administration, require both a lump-sum upfront mortgage insurance premium of 1.75% and a monthly premium that becomes a part of your monthly payment for the life of your loan, making the total insurance costs much more expensive than conventional loans.
As your equity increases and your credit scores improve, your private mortgage insurance premium can go down or even be completely removed without a full refinance. Equity and FICO scores have almost no impact on FHA mortgage insurance premiums.
While APR is a good baseline to determine competitive offers, you should also do a breakeven analysis on your refinance.This is a measure of how many months it takes to recoup the fees you’ll pay to complete the refinance.
Calculating a breakeven is easy. First, you’ll want to find out what the closing costs are, focusing on the lender fees such as origination, appraisal and credit report and the title fees.
Don’t include the ongoing costs of your home like property taxes or insurance.
Once you determine the closing cost figure, divide it by the amount of savings for each loan option to calculate the number of months it will take to recoup your costs. The best option will be the one that takes the least number of months to recoup.
The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.