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7 best mortgage lenders in Montana

Looking to buy a home in Montana? Here are the best mortgage lenders in the Big Sky State.

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From Missoula to Miles City and from Billings to the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Montana is home to some of the most alluring real estate in the Western US. If you’re hoping to set down roots somewhere in the Big Sky State, the best mortgage lenders in Montana can make your dreams of homeownership a reality.

Best Montana mortgage lenders in 2020

How we pick mortgage lenders

We chose these Montana mortgage lenders based on several factors, such as their rates, fees, minimum requirements and website features. We also considered recent customer reviews from sites including Zillow, Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Learn more about Finder’s rating methodology.

Best online experience

Better.com

Better.com logo
Go to site
at Better.com's secure site
Read review
620
Min. credit score
3%
Min. down payment

Many of Montana’s best mortgage lenders have feature-rich websites that work well on any size screen. Yet few of these sites are as intuitive as the one developed by Better Mortgage. Whether you use your smartphone, tablet or traditional computer, you’re bound to find Better’s web presence easier to navigate than the websites for other lenders on this list.

And, aside from its sleek website, Better waives origination fees on a few of its mortgage programs, and this lender price-matches competitors if a different company offers you more attractive terms.

  • Online experience. Better’s responsive website adapts for screens of all sizes, and the company’s application process is especially intuitive.
  • Price-matches competitors. If another lender approves you for a lower mortgage rate or more compelling terms, Better will match that offer or give you $100.
  • Fewer fees. Unlike most other lenders on this list, Better won’t charge you an application fee or an origination fee.
  • Not all loan types. Better doesn’t offer home-equity loans or government-backed VA or USDA loans.
  • No app. Many of Montana’s best lenders offer dedicated mobile apps, but Better only has a website.
  • No branches. Better doesn’t have any physical locations, so you can’t meet with a loan officer in person.
Loan types Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, Refinance
Minimum credit score Refinance: 680
All other loans: 620
Minimum down payment 3%
States available Not available in: HI, MA, MN, NV, NH, VT, VA
Fees Better doesn’t charge origination fees, but you can expect to pay other third-party fees for appraisal, title services, recording changes, etc.

Best marketplace

LendingTree

LendingTree logo
Go to site
at LendingTree's secure site
Read review
620
Min. credit score
3%
Min. down payment

Unlike the other companies on this list, which are all direct lenders, LendingTree is a mortgage marketplace that lets you compare rates from dozens of home loan providers across Montana. After you answer a few questions about the type of loan you're looking for, LendingTree shows you a list of local lenders and their rates.

This site can save you a ton of time while shopping for a mortgage. But LendingTree will share your contact details with other companies, so you can expect a flurry of unsolicited calls and emails.

  • Large lender portfolio. LendingTree's features rates and terms from hundreds of mortgage lenders.
  • Free service. LendingTree is free to use, and the lenders on the marketplace don't ask for upfront payments.
  • Notifications. LendingTree can help you save money by alerting you when mortgage rates in Montana drop.
  • Unwanted calls and emails. When you agree to use LendingTree, you give the marketplace permission to share your contact details with companies that may call or email you.
  • Could hurt your credit. According to numerous reviews on the BBB's website, third-party lenders associated with LendingTree performed hard credit inquiries on customers without their consent.
Loan types Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Home Equity, HELOC, Reverse, Refinance
Minimum credit score Conventional: 620
FHA: 500
VA: 620
USDA: 640
Jumbo: 800
Minimum down payment 3%
States available Available in all states
Fees Expect to pay about 2% to 5% of your home’s total price in fees, including application, origination and third-party fees.

Best for first-time homebuyers

Rocket Mortgage

620
Min. credit score
3%
Min. down payment

It's common for first-time homebuyers to feel overwhelmed by the process of getting a mortgage. Fortunately, however, Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans makes the process much easier by allowing you to get a conditional prequalification in as little as 10 minutes.

Rocket Mortgage also offers more home loan programs than several other lenders on this list. And even if you have a below-average credit score, Rocket Mortgage may still approve you for a home loan.

  • Fast service. Getting a conditional prequalification from Rocket Mortgage only takes a few minutes, and your home loan could close in less than one week in a best-case scenario.
  • More control. Rocket Mortgage gives you more control over your monthly payment by providing you with additional flexibility over your home loan's terms.
  • No penalty for prepayment. Many lenders in Montana will charge you a fee if you pay off your mortgage early, but Rocket Mortgage won't.
  • Mandatory deposit. Some lenders on this list don't charge an application fee, but Rocket Mortgage requires anywhere from $400 to $750 to process your mortgage application.
  • Limited loan types. Rocket Mortgage doesn't offer loans for mobile homes or new construction.
  • No physical branches. Rocket Mortgage doesn't have any branches, so you can't meet with a loan officer in person.
Loan types Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, Refinance
Minimum credit score Conventional: 620
FHA: 580
VA: 620
Jumbo: 700
Minimum down payment 3%
States available Available in all states
Fees Rocket Mortgage charges a one-time “good faith deposit” on its home loans, payable by credit or debit card. A $400 to $750 fee covers your credit report, a home appraisal and loan processing fees.

Your deposit is refundable after you close your loan with Rocket Mortgage. It’s subtracted from your closing costs, so you pay less overall for your mortgage.

0.5%–1% origination fee.

Best for low rates

Bank of America

620
Min. credit score
3%
Min. down payment
For many hopeful homeowners, choosing a lender boils down to finding the one that offers the lowest mortgage rates. And compared to other lenders in Montana, Bank of America tends to have the most competitive rates around. So if you want to pay the least amount of interest possible, Bank of America might be your best bet.
  • Lowest rates. Compared to other lenders in Montana, BofA tends to offer lower mortgage rates.
  • Accepts alternative credit data. If you don’t have a high credit score, BofA will consider other factors, such as your rent and utility bills, when determining your eligibility for a mortgage.
  • Discounts for current customers. If you already have a credit card or bank account with BofA, you could save up to $600 on your loan’s origination fee.
  • Inconsistent service. BofA has mostly positive reviews on Zillow, but there are numerous complaints about the company on WalletHub, specifically concerning its customer service.
  • Past fines. Following the 2007 financial crisis, BofA paid $76 billion in fines for misleading customers about mortgages.
Loan types Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, Home Equity/HELOC, Refinance
Minimum credit score Conventional: 620
FHA: 600
Minimum down payment 3%
States available Available in all states
Fees Expect fees to include origination, appraisal, title charges, closing fees and state taxes.

Ask your loan consultant for the specific fees associated with your pending loan, and keep an eye out for additional fees in your loan documentation.

Best for refinancing

Freedom Mortgage

620
Min. credit score
3%
Min. down payment
Many of the lenders on this list are dedicated to helping you purchase a place to live, but others, like Freedom Mortgage, can help you refinance your existing mortgages to reduce your monthly payment. Freedom Mortgage provides several refinancing options for homeowners with conventional or government-backed loans, allowing you to get a lower interest rate and more flexible terms with your home loan.
  • Several refinancing options. This lender provides rate-and-term refinances for conventional mortgages and streamline refinances for government-backed FHA, VA and USDA home loans.
  • Low credit scores accepted. Even if your credit score is as low as 540, Freedom Mortgage may still approve you for a home loan.
  • Gig workers are welcome. If your income tends to fluctuate from month to month, Freedom Mortgage may still approve you for a refinancing program.
  • No Montana branches. Freedom Mortgage doesn't have any physical locations in Montana, so you won't be able to meet with a lender in person unless you leave the state.
  • Can't apply online. You must contact a Freedom Mortgage loan officer directly to apply for refinancing.
Loan types Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Refinance
Minimum credit score Conventional: 620
FHA: 540
VA: 580
USDA: 640
Minimum down payment 3%
States available Available in all states
Fees While not listed, expect to pay about 2% to 5% of your home’s total price in fees, including origination, application and third-party fees.

Best regional lender

Opportunity Bank of Montana

Opportunity Bank of Montana logo
620
Min. credit score
3%
Min. down payment

Many homebuyers in Montana want to work with a lender with long-standing ties to the state, but several of the companies on this list are headquartered hundreds — or thousands — of miles away. Then there’s Opportunity Bank of Montana.

This lender is based in Helena and has been in operation since 1922, making it one of the state’s oldest financial institutions. Opportunity Bank has more than 20 brick-and-mortar branches across the state, and qualified borrowers can get up to $5,000 in grants.

  • Construction loans. Unlike some lenders on this list, Opportunity Bank offers construction loans.
  • Several locations. This lender has 22 full-service branches throughout the state.
  • Home Start Savings Program. If you make regular deposits into a down payment savings account, Opportunity Bank may give you up to $5,000 in grants.
  • Barebones website. This lender’s website includes few details about its mortgage process.
  • No online application. You must contact a loan officer to apply for a mortgage.
  • No reviews. There are virtually no online reviews about this lender’s mortgage program, so it’s tough to tell if previous customers have been satisfied.
Loan types Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Home Equity/HELOC, Reverse, Refinance
Minimum credit score 620 for conventional
Minimum down payment 3%
States available Only available in: AL, AZ, ID, MT, ND, NV, OR, SD, WA, WY
Fees Opportunity Bank of Montana charges origination fees and closing costs

Most popular lender

Stockman Bank

Stockman Bank logo
620
Min. credit score
3%
Min. down payment
With a history dating back to 1953, Stockman Bank is the largest agricultural lender in Montana and the most popular mortgage provider in the state. The company’s website isn’t as flashy as the sites developed by other lenders on this, but it features a few helpful resources and mortgage calculators. Plus, Stockman Bank gets high marks for customer service.
  • Prequalification process. You can prequalify online, over the phone or in-person at a branch.
  • Down-payment assistance. Stockman Bank offers several assistance programs that make buying a home more affordable.
  • Good reviews. Stockman Bank has a rating of 4.89 out of 5 on Zillow and 4.5 out of 5 on WalletHub as of December 2020.
  • Few details. This lender’s website lacks many details about the bank’s mortgage programs.
  • Must work with a loan officer. You can prequalify through the website, but you can’t get preapproved without working with a loan officer.
Loan types Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Refinance
Minimum credit score 620
Minimum down payment 3%
States available Only available in: MT
Fees 1% Origination, credit report, appraisal, title recording, flood cert

Which lender is best for me?

Choosing a mortgage lender isn’t a decision you should make lightly. But if you keep these tips in mind, you’re more likely to find a quality lender with a competitive offer.

  • Read reviews. Check popular review sites such as Zillow, WalletHub and Trustpilot to find out what previous customers have to say about a particular lender.
  • Collect a few preapprovals. The more preapprovals you collect from competing lenders, the more leverage you’ll have regarding your mortgage rate.
  • Never accept the first offer. There’s usually some wiggle room when it comes to mortgage rates, so always ask potential lenders if they’re willing to come down a bit to close the deal.
  • Don’t skim the paperwork. Lenders commonly hide critical details in the fine print on their documents and websites, so be sure to read every word before signing anything.

Compare mortgage lenders

Name Product Loan products offered State availability Min. credit score
Better.com
(NMLS #330511)
Better.com
Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, Refinance
Not available in: HI, MA, MN, NV, NH, VT, VA
620
Online preapproval in minutes and no origination fees with this direct lender.
LendingTree
(NMLS #1136)
LendingTree
Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, USDA, Home Equity, HELOC, Reverse, Refinance
Available in all states
620
Connect with vetted home loan lenders quickly through this online marketplace.
SoFi
(NMLS #1121636)
SoFi
Conventional, Home equity, Refinance
Not available in: AK, HI, MO, NH, NM, NY, SD, WV
620
No hidden fees, multiple loan terms, and member discounts available.
Axos Bank
(NMLS #524995)
Axos Bank
Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, Home Equity/HELOC, Refinance
Available in all states
620
Purchase, refinance, and home equity options available with lender fees as low as $0 (restrictions apply).
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Average rates and fees in Montana

As of November 23, 2020, the average 30-year fixed-mortgage rate in the US is 2.95%, yet it’s marginally lower in Montana. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the mortgage rate on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages in Montana average 2.875%. And according to 2019 data from ClosingCorp, Montana closing costs averaged 0.95% of the sales price, which is among the lowest in the country.

What about brokers?

It can take days — or even weeks — to settle on the best lender for you, which is why many homebuyers choose to work with mortgage brokers. Mortgage brokers can compare your options for you to help you identify which lender is best suited to meet your needs.

But it’s important to note that not all brokers can be trusted. It’s an unfortunate truth that some brokers try to charge unnecessary fees to boost their bottom lines. If you decide to work with a broker, read as many recent reviews as possible to ensure the agent is trustworthy.

Bottom line

Montana’s best mortgage lenders each have their strengths and weaknesses, and not all of them are likely to be right for you. Carefully compare what they each have to offer, and apply with the lender that seems like the best fit for your situation. Start applying now, or compare more mortgage lenders.

Frequently asked questions

Home loans ratings

★★★★★ — Excellent

★★★★★ — Good

★★★★★ — Average

★★★★★ — Subpar

★★★★★ — Poor

We analyze top home loan providers and rate them one to five stars based on factors that are most important to you. These factors include: rates and fees, product selection and borrower experience.

Read the full methodology of how we rate home loan providers.

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