The men and women who serve this country in uniform, and those who have served in the past, are rightly offered special recognition by many institutions. Some types of recognition are relatively small, such as discounts in restaurants and at retail establishments. Others are more substantial, including financial instruments and institutions dedicated primarily or specifically to active duty military personnel and veterans, along with their families.
However, military personnel are also often targeted by unscrupulous operators, including payday lenders. The list below includes lenders that are specifically dedicated to military personnel and their families in addition to serving the general public. The list includes mortgage lenders as well as lenders offering personal loans. What all these lenders have in common is that they are reputable institutions providing fair and decent loans – not payday lenders.
- No Funding Fee
- 3.5% Down Payment
Although many veterans understandably prefer to obtain Veterans Administration loans to finance their homes, veterans are also eligible for Federal Housing Administration loans. FHA loans are an especially good option for vets who have faced difficulties in reestablishing eligibility for VA loans. Unlike VA loans, which require no down payment and no mortgage insurance, FHA loans require at least 3.5 percent down payment and nearly all FHA loans require mortgage insurance. However, FHA loans do not carry a funding fee, while VA loans carry a funding fee ranging from 0.5 percent to 3.3 percent.
- Loans from $150k-$725k
- Must be for purchase of primary residence
Veterans United Home Loans is the largest VA mortgage provider in the United States. Eligible borrowers can obtain loans from 150,000 dollars minimum to 725,000 dollars maximum for fixed rate and hybrid mortgages. Along with collecting high marks from consumers, Veterans United Home Loans has earned an excellent A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. Loans must be applied toward borrowers’ primary residences.
- Free appraisal
- Debt consolidation loans
New Day USA specializes in refinancing mortgages for veterans and eligible family members. Borrowers can obtain loans for up to 100 percent of the value of their homes. New Day USA also provides a free VA appraisal, valued at about 500 dollars. New Day USA also provides loans to allow borrowers to consolidate credit card debt. A major advantage of New Day USA is that borrowers can qualify with less than perfect credit, because the lender considers applicants’ entire financial profile, not just their FICO scores in making lending decision.
- Auto loans starting at 1.49%
- Mortgage loans starting at 3.361%
Despite the name, Navy Federal Credit Union is open to active duty personnel, veterans and family members of the Army, Marines, Air Force and the Coast Guard, in addition to members of the navy. Employees of the Department of Defense are also eligible to join the credit union. Navy Federal Credit Union provides a range of loans, including mortgages, home equity loans and auto loans. Interest rates are as low as 1.49 percent for auto loans and 3.361 percent for mortgages.
- Loans ranging from $3k-$20k
- Loan interest rates starting at 8.99%
USAA represents one of the most prominent organizations providing financial services for military personnel, veterans and their eligible family members. Borrowers can obtain loans for up to 60 months ranging from 3,000 dollars to 20,000 dollars. Interest rates vary but can be as low as 8.99 percent. Applicants must have good or excellent credit to qualify for USAA loans.
- Loans ranging from $1k-$40k
- Interest rates starting at 5.99%
As a peer-to-peer crowd funding based online lender, LendingClub loans are available to the general public. However, military personnel potentially have a distinct advantage because of the detailed personal and financial information prospective borrowers must include in their profiles. LendingClub offers personal loans ranging from 1,000 dollars to 40,000 dollars, with interest rates as low as 5.99 percent. Borrowers must have a FICO score of at least 640 to qualify for LendingClub loans.
- Loans ranging from $500-$10k
- Apply on line or in person
Omni Financial Military Loans offer eligible borrowers personal loans ranging from 500 dollars to 10,000 dollars. Omni does not list interest rates on its website, but unconfirmed reports estimate that interest rates range from 10 percent to 36 percent. Stateside borrowers may apply online or visit a brick-and-mortar Omni Financial facility; personnel stationed overseas can complete their applications online. Approved borrowers can pick up a check; receive their funds via direct deposit to their bank accounts or through a prepaid online virtual Visa card.
- Loans ranging from $1k-$10k
- Interest rates starting at 10%
Pioneer Services represents another online lending option for military personnel seeking personal loans. Pioneer also offers bereavement loans, disaster relief and convalescent leave loans. Borrowers complete applications online or over the phone, and are evaluated according to a proprietary Military Scoring model. Interest rates range from 10 to 36 percent; borrowers can obtain between 1,000 dollars and 10,000 dollars.
- Loans up to $500k
- Interest rates starting at 2.25%
The SBA has instituted the Patriot Express Loan Program in collaboration with banks and lending institutions across the country. Interest rates range from 2.25 percent to 4.75 percent over the prime interest rate. Approved borrowers can obtain loans of up to 500,000 dollars. Funds can be used to start or expand an existing business, finance equipment purchases, working capital, business-related real estate or inventory