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PenFed Mortgage Review 2021

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Pentagon Federal Credit Union, commonly known as PenFed, was founded in 1935 to help employees of the war department save money and buy homes. Since then, the credit union has grown into the second-largest in the country, with more than 2.1 million members across all 50 states, Washington D.C. and military bases overseas. You no longer need a military affiliation to join. PenFed mortgages are available in all 50 states as well.

Who is this lender for?
  • Members of the U.S. military and veterans
  • First-time homebuyers
  • People who want to tap their home equity
  • Borrowers looking to refinance their mortgage

8.5/10  LendingTree’s mortgage lender rating

LendingTree’s mortgage lender rating is based on a 10-point scoring system that factors in several features, including digital application and closing processes, available loan products and online and in-person accessibility. LendingTree’s editorial team calculates each rating based on a review of information available on the lender’s website. Lenders receive a half-point on the “standard product offerings” criterion if they offer at least two of the four standard loan programs (Conventional/FHA/VA/USDA). In some cases, additional information was provided by a lender representative.

  = 1 pt   = 0 pts

  1.   Application online
  2.   Product info online
  3.   Rates listed online
  4.   Helpful articles about mortgages/homebuying
  5.   Standard product offerings (Conventional/FHA/VA/USDA)
  6.   Special programs (first-time homebuyer grants, purchase closing cost incentives)
  7.   Info about how to qualify for products offered online
  8.   E-closing availability
  9.   Licensed in at least 35 states
  10.   After-hours and weekend access to loan officers

PenFed pros and cons


  No lender fees. PenFed doesn’t charge origination fees on its mortgages, saving you money at closing.

  Rate quotes available online. PenFed offers borrowers a simple online form to fill out to get an idea of what mortgage rates might look like for them, without needing to speak with a loan officer or hand over contact information.

  Lender credits available. PenFed will give you a credit ranging from $500 to $2,500 depending on the size of your loan, reducing the amount that needs to come out of your pocket.


  No FHA loans. You won’t find FHA loans at PenFed. This can be disappointing for first-time homebuyers or people with moderate credit.

  Few branches outside of the D.C. area. If you were hoping for some in-person help, that can be hard to find outside of the Washington metro area.

  Lender credits not available on refinances. While the lender credit PenFed offers is a great benefit, you can only get it with a new purchase mortgage. If you’re refinancing, you won’t qualify.

PenFed borrowing requirements

Minimum credit score  650
Minimum down payment  0% for VA loans

3% for first-time homebuyers

5% for conventional loans

Available loan terms  30-, 20-, 15-, 10-year fixed; 3-, 5-, 7-, 10- and 15-year ARMs
Available loan types  Conventional, VA, jumbo, HELOC

PenFed mortgage rates and fees

Rates are published online, and you can get a quick quote without submitting contact information or speaking with a loan officer. To fill out the form to get an instant quote, you’ll need to know (or estimate) the purchase price, how large a down payment you can make, the ZIP code of the home and your credit score.

PenFed does not charge a lender fee. The lender does have small fees for late payments, returned checks and lien releases.

PenFed mortgage products


All PenFed purchase loans have options for 15- or 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages. PenFed also offers adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), which can help you pay less during your initial borrowing period.

Fixed-rate loans:

  • Conforming mortgages (10-, 15-, 20- and 30-year terms)
  • Jumbo mortgages (15- and 30-year terms)
  • VA conforming mortgages (15- and 30-year terms)

Adjustable-rate loans:

  • 3/1, 5/1, 7/1, 10/1 conforming mortgages 
  • 3/1, 5/1, 5/5, 7/1, 10/1, 15/15 jumbo mortgages


PenFed offers a rate-and-term refinance for conventional loans, and a streamline refinance, known as the VA Interest Rate Reduction Loan for its VA loan borrowers. There is also the opportunity to use a cash-out refinance to tap equity in your home.

Home equity

Home equity lines of credit between $25,000 and $500,000 are available from PenFed. The lender’s HELOCs have a 10-year draw period and 20-year repayment period.

Special programs

PenFed’s First Time Home Buyer Advantage loan offers first-time homebuyers the ability to put just 3% down with no income limits and a $500 bonus after five years of on-time payments.

The lender also offers a lender credit between $500 and $2,500, depending on the size of the loan, for many new purchase borrowers.

How does PenFed compare to other lenders?

PenFed AmeriSave LoanSnap
Minimum credit score  650 600 on FHA loans 620
Minimum down payment  0% for VA loans

3% for first-time homebuyers

  • 5% for conventional loans
3% for conventional loans

3.5% on FHA loans

3% for conventional loans
Loan products and types  Conventional, VA, jumbo, HELOC Conventional, FHA, VA, USDA Conventional, FHA, VA, non-conforming, jumbo
Special programs offered  First-time homebuyer loan; lender credits None “Smart Loan” program offers $50 per referral
Lender Review AmeriSave LoanSnap

Today's Mortgage Rates

  • 2.76%
  • 2.16%
  • 2.70%
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