Top FHA Lenders: Freedom Mortgage Is #1 Overall, But Is Biggest the Best?

If you’re in need of an FHA loan, you might be curious who the top FHA lenders are. By top, I mean largest.

While biggest certainly doesn’t mean best, or cheapest for that matter, it can helpful to know the major players.

If nothing else, these companies should at least have a good understanding of the process and a decent track record of closing such loans.

This can be especially important if you’re purchasing a home and need a competent lender that will actually get you to the finish line.

However, the smaller shops (and even mortgage brokers) could be a perfectly viable option as well, assuming they’re well-versed in FHA lending.

Top FHA Loan Lenders (Overall)

Ranking Company Name 2020 Loan Volume
1. Freedom Mortgage $35.4 billion
2. PennyMac Loan Services $27.6 billion
3. Wells Fargo $23.0 billion
4. Quicken/Rocket $16.9 billion
5. U.S. Bank $16.1 billion
6. Lakeview Loan Servicing $15.5 billion
7. Nationstar Mortgage $13.4 billion
8. AmeriHome Mortgage $12.7 billion
9. Caliber Home Loans $11.9 billion
10. Newrez $9.6 billion

Last year, nearly a half-trillion ($472 billion) in FHA loans were originated by a couple thousand banks, credit unions, and independent mortgage lenders.

But some companies did a lot more volume than others and dominated the FHA lending space.

That brings us to the top-10 list, which is based on HMDA data for 2020 compiled by advisory firm Richey May.

The number one spot for 2020 was claimed by Freedom Mortgage, which incidentally was the top VA lender in 2020 as well.

The government loan specialist originated a whopping $35.4 billion in FHA loans, fairly similar to their $39.8 billion in VA loan production.

Coming in second was PennyMac Loan Services with $27.6 billion, which operates a large correspondent lending business (B2B) and also operates a retail channel. Many former Countrywide execs are involved.

Third was banking behemoth Wells Fargo, a company that has seen its share of controversies over the past few years. Still, they managed $23 billion in FHA loan production alone.

It dropped off quite a bit from there, with top overall mortgage lender Rocket Mortgage snagging the fourth spot with $16.9 billion in FHA loans.

Rounding out the top five was U.S. Bank, another depository based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota. They mustered $16.1 in FHA lending.

Others in the top ten included Lakeview Loan Servicing, Nationstar Mortgage, AmeriHome Mortgage, Caliber Home Loans, and Newrez.

Top FHA Purchase Lenders (for Home Buyers)

Ranking Company Name 2020 Loan Volume
1. PennyMac Loan Services $19.6 billion
2. Lakeview Loan Servicing $10.5 billion
3. U.S. Bank $10.3 billion
4. AmeriHome Mortgage $8.6 billion
5. Caliber Home Loans $7.4 billion
6. Fairway Indpt. Mortgage $6.8 billion
7. Freedom Mortgage $6.3 billion
8. loanDepot $5.9 billion
9. Quicken/Rocket $5.6 billion
10. Newrez $5.0 billion

Now let’s break it down by transaction type, separating home purchase loans from refinance loans.

Some lenders specialize in mortgage refinances for existing homeowners, while others focus on home buyers.

The top FHA lender for home purchases was PennyMac Loan Services, with $19.6 billion in total volume.

They easily beat out their nearest competitor, Lakeview Loan Servicing, which doubles as a loan servicer and mortgage lender. The company’s $10.5 billion was nearly doubled by PennyMac.

Third was U.S. Bank and its $10.3 billion in FHA purchase loans, a strong showing for a brick-and-mortar bank.

In fourth was AmeriHome Mortgage with $8.6 billion in production, followed by Caliber Home Loans with $7.4 billion.

These are the mortgage lenders that might be well-suited for a home buyer looking to finance their purchase with an FHA loan.

Why? Because they close thousands of these types of home loans annually, so they should know what they’re doing.

As the refinance market fades, more banks and lenders will want to be on this list.

Top FHA Refinance Lenders (for Existing Homeowners)

Ranking Company Name 2020 Loan Volume
1. Freedom Mortgage $29.1 billion
2. Quicken/Rocket $11.2 billion
3. Nationstar Mortgage $9.6 billion
4. PennyMac Loan Services $8.0 billion
5. Lakeview Loan Servicing $5.0 billion
6. Newrez $4.6 billion
7. Caliber Home Loans $4.5 billion
8. AmeriHome Mortgage $4.1 billion
9. Homebridge Financial $3.2 billion
10. United Wholesale Mortgage $2.5 billion

Now let’s talk about who’s closing the most FHA refinance loans, which are reserved for existing homeowners.

These folks are typically refinancing to get a lower mortgage rate, usually via the FHA’s streamline refinance program that makes it pretty simple to qualify.

The undisputed king of FHA refis was Freedom Mortgage last year, with a big $29.1 billion in total production.

The nation’s number one lender didn’t even come close, with Rocket mustering just $11.2 billion of these types of loans.

They were followed by Nationstar Mortgage with $9.6 billion, PennyMac with $8 billion, and Lakeview with $5 billion.

Of course, rate and term refinances are expected to cool quite a bit, so chances are these totals will be down considerably. Whether that changes the names on this list remains to be seen.

To sum things up, it doesn’t matter how big a bank or mortgage lender is, as long as they’re financially sound and operationally competent.

You can have an amazing experience with a local mortgage broker or a massive depository bank. You can also have a bad experience with either.

Take the time to vet the lender you plan on using, whether it’s an FHA loan or any other type of home loan.

And make sure they specialize in the type of financing you need. Oh, and you should know the type of loan you want before speaking to any interested parties.

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