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10 Biggest USDA Home Loan Lenders for Homebuyers

10 biggest USDA lenders

With a USDA mortgage, you can buy a home with 0% down, flexible qualifying guidelines, and generally competitive interest rates. These features make USDA loans an attractive option for low-to-moderate-income borrowers planning to purchase property in a rural setting.

However, not every lender offers USDA loans, and many who do may only process a few per year. So, while volume isn't necessarily an indicator of a great mortgage provider, many buyers opt to work with companies that handle USDA purchase loans on a daily basis.

If you're looking for a high-volume originator for USDA loans, we have you covered: we've compiled a list of the ten biggest USDA lenders based on 2023 loan data released under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.

Check your zero-down USDA eligibility.

Biggest USDA Lenders

Out of the 224 active lenders currently listed on the USDA website, these ten originated more than a quarter (27.72%) of all USDA mortgages for homebuyers. The biggest lender, CMG Mortgage, accounted for 1 out of every 14 USDA purchase loans last year.

Rank

Lender

USDA Loans in 2023

Market Share

1

CMG Mortgage

2,518

7.18%

2

United Wholesale Mortgage

1,402

3.99%

3

Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.

968

2.76%

4

Guild Mortgage

892

2.54%

5

Flat Branch Mortgage

798

2.27%

6

CrossCountry Mortgage

758

2.16%

7

Union Home Mortgage

679

1.93%

8

Movement Mortgage

602

1.72%

9

Newrez

570

1.62%

10

DAS Acquisition

543

1.55%

Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA) data from the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), accessed via PolygonResearch.com HMDAVision, May 15, 2024.

1. CMG Mortgage

Top-ranked CMG Mortgage claimed the number one spot on our list by originating 7.18% of all USDA purchase loans in 2023. Their total, 2,518, is a 48.7% increase over their 2022 total.

Founded in 1993, the San Ramon, CA-based lender works directly with consumers and through a network of mortgage broker partners across all 50 states and the District of Columbia. According to the CMG Mortgage website, applicants for their USDA loan program should aim for a credit score of at least 620.

2. United Wholesale Mortgage

As the name suggests, United Wholesale Mortgage (UWM) is a wholesale lender. The company doesn't connect with borrowers through retail locations or an online platform. Instead, it works with a nationwide network of mortgage brokers and financial institutions.

While United Wholesale Mortgage ranks second for USDA loans, the company was the biggest overall lender by volume in 2023.

Based on UWM guidelines, borrowers can qualify for a USDA purchase loan with a credit score as low as 620. Need to close quickly? According to their website, the average UWM mortgage is cleared to go in just 17 days.

3. Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp.

Founded in 1996 in Madison, Wisconsin, Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. has grown to boast branch locations in 48 states and the District of Columbia. In 2023, the company originated 968 USDA purchase loans.

Fairway's secret may well be its emphasis on customer service. The company has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and was ranked #1 in mortgage origination customer satisfaction for 2023 by J.D. Power.

See if you qualify for a zero-down USDA loan. Start here.

4. Guild Mortgage

Guild Mortgage is a retail USDA lender whose website lists branches in 46 of the 50 states. The company has been making home loans since 1960 and has expanded through numerous industry acquisitions in recent years. In addition to being the fourth-ranked USDA lender, Guild Mortgage also claimed the #9 spot on our list of biggest FHA lenders.

According to the company's website, the Guild Mortgage USDA loan program accepts credit scores as low as 540.

5. Flat Branch Mortgage

Missouri-based Flat Branch Mortgage has been helping buyers finance their home purchases since 2005. Operating as Flat Branch Home Loans, the company ranks as the fifth-largest USDA loan originator, thanks to its strong presence through the Midwest region. According to Flat Branch's LinkedIn, the company offers mortgage services across 30 states.

Are you looking to build a new home with a USDA loan? Flat Branch Mortgage is one of just two top-ten lenders participating in the USDA Construction-to-Permanent loan program.

6. CrossCountry Mortgage

Ranking 6th with 758 USDA purchase loans originated in 2023, CrossCountry Mortgage boasts more than 600 branch offices spanning all 50 states – and they’re still expanding. Just earlier this year, CrossCountry acquired Texas-based competitor AmCap Home Loans, according to HousingWire.

By all accounts, the company's growth strategy seems to be paying off: CrossCountry Mortgage earned the title of biggest direct-to-consumer lender in the United States last year.

7. Union Home Mortgage

Since 1970, Union Home Mortgage has worked with hundreds of thousands of borrowers to purchase and refinance their homes. According to its website, the company has a total annual loan volume of over $5 billion. In 2023, Union Home Mortgage closed 679 USDA home loans.

Union Home Mortgage offers loans in all states except Hawaii and New York, with over 155 nationwide locations, according to its branch directory. Like Flat Branch, Union Home Mortgage also participates in the USDA Construction-to-Permanent loan program.

8. Movement Mortgage

Founded in 2008, Movement Mortgage serves all 50 states with more than 775 locations and 4,500 employees, according to its website. As the 8th biggest USDA lender, Movement Mortgage emphasizes top-tier customer service, which has earned it an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. It also claims to close loans 57% faster than the national average.

Movement Mortgage bills itself as an "Impact Lender," stating that it gives between 40% and 50% of its profits back to local community-based initiatives.

9. Newrez

Pennsylvania-based Newrez was founded in 2008. It has grown its business in recent years through several industry acquisitions and by prioritizing AI and tech development. Newrez accepts applications directly from consumers, as well as through a team of third-party mortgage brokers.

Newrez's USDA business took off in 2023, growing a whopping 313% from 2022. They also made our list of the year's biggest cash-out refinance lenders.

10. DAS Acquisition

St. Louis, MO-based DAS Acquisition operates mainly under the USA Mortgage brand name, capping off our list of the biggest USDA lenders with 1.55% of the market share in 2023. Employee-owned and with a nationwide team of over 1,000 strong, DAS seems well-positioned to maintain its top-performing status.

DAS Acquisition recommends a credit score of at least 640 for its USDA loan program. However, its website states that borrowers with lower – or no – credit scores may still be eligible.

Why Choose a USDA Loan?

USDA loans may not be the most popular mortgage option – the latest data from the Mortgage Bankers Association shows that the program only accounts for 0.4% of home loan applications. Still, they can offer tremendous value for borrowers and properties that qualify.

Why choose a USDA loan? Here are just a few of the reasons:

If interest rates decrease in the future, you can apply for a USDA Streamlined Assist loan for a simplified refinancing process

USDA Mortgage Guidelines

While USDA mortgage guidelines are more relaxed than for many other types of home loans, you will still have to meet minimum (and maximum) requirements to qualify. The property you're purchasing must also meet USDA standards regarding location and characteristics.

Minimum Credit Score for USDA Loans

USDA guidelines do not set a minimum credit score. However, it’s common for lenders to look for a score of 640 because that’s the minimum score to use the USDA’s automated underwriting system. However, many mortgage companies are willing to manually underwrite loan applications and accept scores of 620 or lower. Guild Mortgage, #4 on our list, advertises that they can approve borrowers with scores as low as 540 in some scenarios.

See if your credit score is high enough for USDA lending. Start here.

Income Requirements for USDA Loans

USDA home loans are designed for low-to-moderate-income borrowers. You must earn 115% or less of your area's median income to qualify. Unlike other types of mortgages, the USDA counts income from all adults in the household – not just the borrowers listed on the mortgage. In most parts of the country, the income limit for a four-person household is currently $110,650. You can look up the specific limits for your area directly from the USDA website.

Property Guidelines for USDA Loans

The primary requirement for a property when applying for a USDA loan is that it's located in a rural setting. Several factors determine what constitutes an appropriate locale, although guidelines allow for communities with up to 35,000 residents in certain situations. You can use the USDA Property Eligibility Tool to find out if the area you’re looking to buy in qualifies.

Apart from location, some of the property requirements for a USDA mortgage include:

  • Homes are typically required to have between 400 and 2,000 square feet of living area

  • It must be for a single-unit property like a detached home, condo, or townhouse. Some manufactured homes are eligible, but multi-family properties are not

  • Properties cannot be primarily income-producing, such as a working farm

  • Properties must meet HUD guidelines as documented by a qualified property appraiser

  • Sites with wells and septic systems are allowed, but you'll need a water quality test in most cases

Previously, you couldn't get a USDA loan for a home with a swimming pool. However, guidelines were updated in 2022 to allow properties with in-ground pools as long as other dwelling requirements are met.

Find the Best USDA Lender

There are hundreds of USDA lenders out there, but these ten companies accounted for more than 25% of all USDA purchase loans last year. If you want to work with the biggest USDA lenders, the providers on this list are an excellent place to start.

But based on your location and financial profile, the best lender for you may not even be in the top ten. To discover your options – including any other mortgage programs that could better fit your needs – check today’s rates and apply for a quote from at least three established lenders.

Find your USDA lender. Start here.

About The Author:

Jonathan Davis is a Florida-based writer with over a decade of experience helping consumers understand complex mortgage, real estate, and personal finance topics. Jonathan has previously worked in the real estate industry and holds a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Central Florida.

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