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Navy Federal Credit Union mortgage review: a good lender if you’re affiliated with the military

Navy Federal Credit Union mortgage 4x3

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Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Navy Federal Credit Union offers VA, conforming, and jumbo mortgages.
  • Its Military Choice and Homebuyers Choice mortgages don’t require a down payment.
  • Navy Federal charges relatively low rates and lets you apply with alternative credit data.
  • See Insider’s picks for the best mortgage lenders »
Navy Federal

Editor’s rating 3.75 / 5
Minimum credit score 660*
Minimum down payment 0%*
Types of mortgages Conventional, VA, ARM, jumbo, Military Choice, Homebuyers Choice, refinance
Navy Federal Credit Union Navy Federal Credit Union Mortgage

*Credit score and down payment shown are for VA mortgages

You might like Navy Federal if you … You might not like Navy Federal if you …
  • Want a VA or conventional mortgage
  • Are interested in a no-down-payment mortgage
  • Have a low or no credit score and need to apply with alternative credit data
  • Are looking for an easy online application process
  • Are searching for competitive rates
  • Want an FHA mortgage, USDA mortgage, home equity loan, HELOC, construction loan, or reverse mortgage
  • Aren’t affiliated with the military
  • Want to see more personalized rates before applying for preapproval

Should you use Navy Federal?

Navy Federal interest rates

When you select “Mortgages” on the Navy Federal website, you’ll scroll down to see rates for VA loans and conventional loans. Click on the type of loan you want, and you’ll see typical rates for 15-year and 30-year terms.

Navy Federal doesn’t show customized rates based on your credit score, down payment, and zip code, though, as some other lenders do.

Right now, the conventional rates on Navy Federal’s website are a little lower than national averages on the Federal Reserve’s website. If you want a low rate, Navy Federal is a worthwhile option.

How Navy Federal works

You can get a mortgage through Navy Federal if you are an active military member, veteran, family member of someone affiliated with the military, or Department of Defense civilian.

The credit union has over 200 branches around the US, plus nine overseas branches and locations on US military bases. It provides mortgages for residents all around the US.

Navy Federal specializes in mortgages for people affiliated with the military. You can get a regular VA loan. If you’ve already used up all your VA loan benefits, you may qualify for a Military Choice Loan, a 30-year mortgage with no minimum down payment.

It’s possible to qualify to become a Navy Federal member without having all the requirements for a VA loan, so you can also get a conventional mortgage (either conforming or jumbo). You may qualify for a Homeowners Choice Loan, which is similar to Military Choice, but for people who aren’t eligible for VA loans.

You can also refinance your VA, conventional, Military Choice, Or Homeowners Choice mortgage.

Navy Federal doesn’t offer FHA or USDA mortgages, or home equity loans or HELOCs. It also doesn’t have construction loans or reverse mortgages.

The credit union’s website has an intuitive interface with an online preapproval application. The site says that you may even get preapproved immediately. Or you can apply in person at a branch.

Navy Federal could be a good lender if you have a low credit score, or none at all. Most lenders require you to show your credit score when you apply, but Navy Federal accepts alternative credit data, like proof that you pay your bills on time. This can help you buy a home even if you don’t have a great score.

You can speak with a live customer service agent 24/7 over the phone. Or send a secure online message, talk via online chat, or visit a branch to speak with someone face to face.

Is Navy Federal trustworthy?

The Better Business Bureau gives Navy Federal Credit Union an A+ in trustworthiness. A strong BBB score indicates a company is transparent about business practices, advertises honestly, and responds effectively to customer complaints.

Navy Federal also received a high score on the JD Power 2020 Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Survey. The credit union actually doesn’t qualify to rank because it doesn’t meet certain criteria, but JD Power notes that the Navy Federal would rank highly if eligible.

Navy Federal does have one recent public scandal, though. An employee has claimed the lender pressured mortgage underwriters to approve loans even if they didn’t have sufficient reason to believe applicants could repay the loans. Then she filed a lawsuit and said Navy Federal retaliated against her whistleblowing by changing her job duties. She dropped the case in late 2020.

How Navy Federal compares to similar lenders

We’ve compared Navy Federal to two other lenders that work with veterans and active military: Veterans United and USAA.

Navy Federal
Veterans United
USAA

Types of mortgages

Conforming, jumbo, VA

Types of mortgages

Conforming, jumbo, VA, FHA, USDA

Types of mortgages

VA

Alternative forms of credit

Yes

Alternative forms of credit

Yes

Alternative forms of credit

No

Get started Get started

Get started

Navy Federal Credit Union review vs. Veterans United review

You’ll want to choose Veterans United for an FHA or USDA mortgage, because Navy Federal doesn’t offer these types of loans.

But you may like Navy Federal’s Military Choice or Homebuyers Choice mortgages, which don’t require down payments.

Navy Federal credit union review vs. USAA review

USAA normally provides conforming and jumbo mortgages, but at the time of writing this review, the lender has halted these products. It’s only originating VA mortgages right now, but it has plans to reintroduce conforming and jumbo mortgages in the future. So if you want a conventional loan, you’ll want to go with Navy Federal.

Navy Federal is probably the better choice if you have a low or no credit score. It accepts alternative credit data, like utility bills, whereas USAA does not.

Laura Grace Tarpley is an editor at Personal Finance Insider, covering mortgages, refinancing, bank accounts, and bank reviews. She is also a Certified Educator in Personal Finance (CEPF). Over her four years of covering personal finance, she has written extensively about ways to save, invest, and navigate loans.

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