Navy Federal and USAA are both popular VA lenders. But when it comes to a range of important criteria, Navy Federal gets our vote.
Our verdict: Navy Federal wins
Navy Federal and USAA are lenders that focus on VA loans. Unlike other types of mortgages, VA loans require no down payment and no private mortgage insurance (PMI). Instead, you pay an upfront VA funding fee of 2.3%, which can be rolled into your mortgage.
As with any loan, make sure you choose the best VA lender for your needs. We think Navy Federal tops its competitor on a range of important criteria, including:
- Interest rates. Navy Federal advertised rates are lower than its competitor. While a slight percentage difference may not seem like much, it could save you thousands of dollars in interest over the long run.
- Customer satisfaction. As of February 2022, Navy Federal earns a solid 4.7 out 5 rating on Trustpilot from 7,875 customers, while USAA only gets a 1.3 out of 5 rating from 1,277 customers.
- Branch availability. Navy Federal has over 340 branches worldwide. USAA only has around twenty branches located in a handful of states.
Then there’s the issue of complaints. On the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website, USAA has received 1,853 complaints compared to Navy Federal’s 921 complaints over the past three years, as of February 2022. USAA also has a current BBB alert stating that USAA failed to honor customers’ requests for stop payments and error resolution.
How do Navy Federal Credit Union and USAA compare?
- Choose this lender for 0% down and no PMI loan options, beyond VA or USDA loans.
- Be wary of a slow approval process.
- Choose this lender for access to a variety of VA loans
- Choose another lender if you’re not a USAA member
Neither of these seems the right fit?
- For those ineligible for VA or USDA loans, additional 0% down, no PMI options available
- Special benefits for qualifying military service members
- Fewer fees on select mortgages than other companies
- Solid customer service
- Specialized help for military members
- Simplified mortgage process
- Requires NFCU membership
- Online complaints relate a long approval process and poor support
Member reviews for Navy Federal Credit Union on Trustpilot are overwhelmingly positive. Reviewers there have rated the credit union 4.7 out of 5 stars based on 7,862 reviews as of February 2022. Most customers commend the credit union for its empathetic, respectful and first-class customer service. Others say they received loans through Navy Federal that they wouldn’t have been approved for elsewhere.
Over on the Better Business Bureau (BBB), it’s a bit of a different story. Navy Federal Credit Union isn’t accredited, and it’s rated 1.29 out of 5 stars based on 129 reviews. In the last three years, the credit union closed 921 complaints. Negative reviews range from complaints about being denied for personal loans to closing credit cards without notice to long approval processes.
All things considered, Navy Federal Credit Union comes out near the top when compared to other lenders. Its customer reviews are overwhelmingly positive, which is more than you can say about some other lenders on the market.
As of February 2022, USAA is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB), where it earns an A+ rating. And with more than 769 reviews left on the site, it earns 1.23 out of 5 stars. Customers largely complained of slow customer response times, poor communication and transparency and issues when filing claims regarding insurance policies. It’s also worth noting that USAA has closed 1,853 customer complaints in the past three years.
On Trustpilot, customers rated USAA 1.3 out of 5 stars with 1,277 reviews. Some customers praised its excellent customer service and low fees. However, most customer reviews reported otherwise.
A majority of dissatisfied customers describe a poor customer service experience, slow processes and issues with insurance claims. These reviews are for USAA as a whole and not necessarily its mortgage products.
Reviewers on Zillow shed a little more light on USAA’s mortgages in particular. Reviews lean positive, with customers rating USAA 3.64 out of 5 stars based on 74 reviews.
Complaints regarding USAA’s mortgages center around unresponsive loan officers, a challenging and frustrating loan process and higher mortgage rates compared to other lenders. Other customers say the process was actually smooth, and loan officers were responsive and knowledgeable.
For unfiltered feedback, check out USAA’s Member Community online. USAA responds to most inquiries on the forum, even forwarding negative reviews to more senior departments to sort out any issues.
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