LendingTree is compensated by companies on this site and this compensation may impact how and where offers appear on this site (such as the order). LendingTree does not include all lenders, savings products, or loan options available in the marketplace.
Mortgage Broker vs. Mortgage Bank or Local Bank: What’s the difference?
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been reviewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
Should you choose a mortgage broker versus a lender for your home loan? What’s the benefit of picking a mortgage broker versus your bank for a refinance or purchase? The answer depends on your finances, how fast you need to close and which type of loan you need.
The different types of mortgage lenders
What is a mortgage bank?
A mortgage bank, also called a mortgage lender or even “lender” for short, is a financial institution with direct access to the money you need for your mortgage. Typically, the money comes from the company’s own bank account or from its investors.
How mortgage banks work
- A lender can approve your loan application and provide money to you directly.
- You’ll usually make your payments directly to the mortgage bank after your loan closing.
- Mortgage banks only offer home loans — you won’t find options for checking accounts, credit cards or car loans.
- Mortgage processors and underwriters work for the lender. Closing and funding of the loan is handled internally.
- Documents can be uploaded to one central processing site.
What is a mortgage broker?
A mortgage broker has indirect access to the money for your home loan based on approved relationships with a number of different banks. A mortgage broker matches your finances with a mortgage bank that can fund your loan but doesn’t lend you the money directly.
How mortgage brokers work
- The only paperwork in the broker’s name is your initial application.
- You don’t typically find out which mortgage bank will fund your loan until you get your initial loan disclosures.
- Processing may be done by an employee of the mortgage broker.
- The rest of the process — from underwriting to closing and funding — is completed by the mortgage bank.
- A separate company may prepare loan disclosures or closing documents.
What is a retail bank?
Many national and local retail banks and credit unions offer mortgages at their branches. While you might think of your bank as the place you deposit your paycheck, there’s a good chance they also offer a variety of home loan products.
How banks work
- The money for the mortgage is with the bank.
- The bank can fund the loan from its mortgage banking department.
- The bank approves your loan and provides the money to you directly.
- You may even get a special discount on closing costs if you pay your mortgage payment from a bank checking account.
Pros and cons of each type of lender
How to choose the right type of lender for your mortgage needs
Mortgage lender vs. bank
You may want to consider a mortgage lender versus a bank if:
- You have bad credit or complicated income
- You need to have a final decision on a loan quickly
Mortgage broker vs. lender
You may want to consider a mortgage broker versus a lender if:
- You’ve been denied at a mortgage lender or bank
- You need non-QM lending because you don’t fit traditional lending guidelines
Mortgage broker vs. bank
You may want to consider a mortgage broker versus a bank if:
- You’ve been denied at your bank or need a faster closing
- You need an alternative loan product the bank doesn’t offer
Bank vs. mortgage broker and mortgage banker
You may want to consider a bank for your mortgage if:
- You have excellent credit and large deposits with a bank that offers rate or closing cost discounts based on your business relationship
- You need a first-time homebuyer down payment assistance program that is only offered through the bank