Finding a mortgage lender can be intimidating and leave you wondering where to even start. If you’ve ever bought a home (unless it was from us, of course), you know that this process can be overwhelming and stress-inducing.

Where do you start? How do you get started? Who should you talk to?

This article will help you sort through mortgage bankers, mortgage brokers, and mortgage direct lenders to find the right type of mortgage lender for you.

Mortgage lenders can be broken down into three critical categories: bankers, brokers, and direct lenders. You may be familiar with many of at least one of them, but when it comes to getting your mortgage, they all have a few pros and cons.

woman texting her mortgage lender

Banks/Credit Unions

Banks are going to be institutions that offer checking and savings account. This may be the company you use to do your personal or business banking. They usually operate a local branch and have “9-5” workers during the week.

Most banks will have some form of mortgage originator on staff to help you get a mortgage.


  • They can offer lower rates due to paying their loan officers less and investing in less technology. They also have such strict guidelines that they manage less risk. They can pass that saving onto the borrower in lower interest rates.
  • You are going to be familiar with the location and have some form of pre-existing relationship. This can be comforting if you are wary of change.


  • A mortgage is not their top-selling product, which means that you are likely to have an inadequate and inefficient experience.
  • They have stricter guidelines meaning that if you lack a high credit score, income, or assets, you may not qualify for what they offer.
  • Their loan officers tend to have less competence due to their pay being so low. This can mean that you can end up in the wrong mortgage for your long-term wealth plan. This can cost thousands in interest or opportunity cost.

Couple packing car with moving boxes after buying home

Mortgage Brokers

Opposite to bankers, mortgage brokers offer the most amount of freedom. They shop hundreds of mortgage lenders and work as a middleman to find you the lender that works best for your needs. If you need a specialized loan product, a mortgage broker may make sense for you.


  • They can shop around for the lowest rate quickly without you having to do the work. This will depend highly on the type of program you use and the broker’s access to different lending channels.
  • They can offer the most loan products, which means that if you have rocky credit or write off a lot of income for taxes, a broker may be able to find solutions that the others cannot.
  • Their business is built entirely on their reputation. They have an incentive to provide you with a product that you will talk to your friends and family about.


  • They often can charge broker fees since they are the middleman between you and the lender. These fees can be labeled in various ways, and it can be confusing to tell if you are getting the best deal.
  • They use many different lenders to fund the loans, which means that you are at the mercy of that lender’s operation staff. This can make it difficult for the broker to provide consistent levels of customer service.
  • The broker needs to remember hundreds of lenders’ guidelines and specific overlays. This means that unless they are intentional about their product knowledge, they may make more mistakes.

Direct Lenders

Direct lenders lie in the middle between banks and brokers. They do all of their operations in-house but have multiple investors that they fund loans through, meaning they can offer more products.


  • Their only responsibility is to originate and fund mortgages. This allows them to focus on building a team of high-level operations staff.
  • They pay their loan officers a premium which attracts the top talent of the industry.
  • One set of guidelines and overlays means that their product knowledge should be high level.
  • Business built on referrals means that they are focused on providing a referable customer experience.



  • They may have hefty fees due to their talent level when it comes to operations and sales staff.

  • They can offer competitive rates due to the company’s control of pricing and margin.
  • Their margin may cause rates to become uncompetitive.
  • Not as many loan products as mortgage brokers

How To Find The Right Lender

Now that you understand the different types of lenders, it’s time to start shopping for your mortgage lender. Whether you pick a banker, broker, or direct lender, it’s essential to find someone you can trust to provide you with the right solution.

Get a Referral

The most commonplace that people find their lender is through a referral from a realtor, friend, or family member. This is also the most likely to provide you with a great experience because it’s coming from someone you already trust.

Feel free to reach out to people you know and ask them who helped them with their mortgage. If they can’t remember them, there is a good chance it was a poor experience.

Research Them Online

Once you have a referral to a great lender, it’s time to do your due diligence. Check out your lender’s social media platforms and look at the following:

Connect With Them Via Phone Or In Person

Finally, you must meet them in some fashion. Make sure that this person is someone that helps you feel educated and comfortable. When you meet someone, you’ll immediately know whether this is someone you can trust with the most significant transaction of your life.

Couple moves into new home after mortgage closes

Have Some Questions?

If you are looking for someone to help you start the process of buying a home, click here and schedule a time to talk with our team. We can help you build a strategy to buy your dream home today.