Types of Lenders

There are many places you can go to get a home loan, so you need to find the one that fits you the best. Talk to the lender. Make sure the lender understands your needs and is willing to meet them. The following are types of lenders who make mortgage loans.

Banks are the most common source of mortgage loans and are one of the places you should start looking for a loan. They usually have many loan products including car, business, personal and home improvement loans. They also offer checking and savings accounts, credit cards, insurance and other services. The advantage from borrowing from your local bank is that you can keep all your financial business at one location. These banks are regulated and insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). FDIC protects the money deposited at the bank against theft and loss.

Mortgage Banks 
Mortgage banks are banks that only offer mortgages. These banks can be independent or part of a larger corporation. Mortgage banks either lend their own money or act as a broker for out-of-town lenders. These banks are not regulated by FDIC, but they are regulated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), states and other agencies.

Credit Unions 
A credit union is a private bank run for its members. The members are usually part of a large group, such as teachers or autoworkers. Credit unions usually offer their members good mortgage loan terms, fees and interest rates. Check with your employer to see if there is a credit union you can join.

Mortgage Brokers 
Mortgage brokers are loan finders. They don’t lend their own money, but they help you apply for a loan, and then find a lender who will make the loan. The lender and/or the borrower may pay the mortgage broker. Ask about the fees that the mortgage broker will receive for its services. Most brokers are reputable and provide a valuable service by helping you shop for the very best loan. However, mortgage brokers collect fees from both you and the lender. Some brokers place loans with lenders who pay the highest fees even if it isn’t in the borrower’s interest. 

Secondary Market Investors 
Secondary market investors insure that lenders have money to help homebuyers by purchasing loans from banks and mortgage companies. While they don’t deal directly with borrowers, they are important to the housing market. Secondary market investors can control interest rates and types of loans that are available by telling lenders what types of loans they will buy and what interest rates they will pay. The biggest secondary market investors are Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have many affordable loans for low-income and first-time buyers.

Federal Housing Administration (FHA) 
FHA insures loans made by mortgage providers. These loans usually have lower interest rates because the government insures the lender in the event the borrower does not repay the loan. There is a cap on the limit of these loans. They require that the borrower bring a minimum of 3% of the purchase price as the down payment.

Veterans Administration (VA) 
VA loans work much like FHA loans, but they are for veterans and current employees of the armed services. VA loans do not require a down payment.

USDA/Rural Development Loans 
USDA/RD is a federal agency that provides loans for homes in rural areas.

Maine State Housing Agency
MSHA is a state agency that provides loans and grants to low- to moderate-income individuals, particularly first-time homebuyers, seeking to purchase a home.