The biggest, the best and the fastest mortgage lenders. We review the UK's top mortgage lenders.
In this guide:
Reviewing the UK’s best mortgage lenders
To buy a home, unless you're lucky to be a cash buyer, you’ll need to borrow money from a mortgage lender. It used to be the case that you’d have to go to a building society to get a mortgage, but these days most banks offer mortgage products for homeowners.
In fact, there are more than 100 mortgage lenders in the UK, who together offer over 12,000 different mortgage deals.
On this page you can find reviews for 'major lenders' and 'specialist lenders' and everything in between.
Major lenders include what’s commonly referred to as ‘The Big Six’ - that’s Lloyds (including Halifax), Nationwide, Santander, RBS, Barclays, and HSBC - because these six lenders collectively account for the majority of all mortgage lending in the UK.¹
Specialist lenders, such as Kent Reliance and Fleet, usually specialise in mortgages for a certain type of customer. If you have a history of bad credit, for example, you may need to get a mortgage from a specialist lender.
How many mortgage lenders are there?
There are around 100 mortgage lenders in the UK, which are mainly banks and building societies. Some are household names and others are specialists who you might not have heard of.
The biggest mortgage lenders
According to the latest data from UK Finance, these are the top five largest lenders in the UK²:
The Lloyds Banking Group (includes Halifax) - £42.5 billion
Nationwide Building Society - £35.7 billion
Royal Bank of Scotland (includes NatWest) - £30.5
Santander UK - £28.3 billion
Barclays - £23.1 billion
UK Finance ranks lenders based on their market share. This means that the lenders listed here provided the most mortgages in 2018.
The largest lenders are those that have lended the most.
Should I choose a high street mortgage lender?
Choosing a lender should depend on whether they’re the right choice for you and your situation.
Larger lenders do tend to offer a wider range of products and deals, but you may find that other smaller lenders can offer something better suited to you specifically.
As mentioned above, if you have a more complicated case, like bad credit, you might need to go to a specialist lender for the best deal.
Speak to a mortgage adviser if you’re not sure which lender is right for your situation.
The fastest mortgage lenders
Based on our own data, we’ve found that on average lenders take just over 15 days to approve new mortgage submissions.
The fastest lenders are:
Halifax - 6 days
Bank of Ireland - 8 days
HSBC - 8 days
Nationwide BS - 9 days
Coventry - 10 days
Keep in mind that not all lenders take on complex mortgage cases.
If time is of the essence then consider one of our faster lenders.
Speak to a mortgage adviser if you’re not sure which lender is right for your situation.
The best mortgage lenders
To decide the UK's best mortgage lenders we compared how satisfied their customers are.
We looked at publicly available complaints data to see how well lenders have been performing between January and June 2019.
In this time the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) received almost 79,000 complaints across the 31 lenders we’ve focused on.¹
Of these 79,000 complaints, approximately 60% were officially upheld.
An upheld complaint is when a complaint has been investigated to confirm that something went wrong.
We’ve chosen to look at the upheld complaints as opposed to simply the number of complaints. This is because it’s a more accurate way to see the number of valid and confirmed customer complaints.
The best lenders with the lowest percentage of upheld complaints were:
Bank of Ireland
The lenders with the highest percentage of upheld complaints were:
Coventry Building Society
Finding the best mortgage lenders
When it comes to finding you a mortgage, we'll always search the market for the most suitable deal for your specific circumstances.
However, it's useful to know which lenders receive the least number of complaints, which process applications the quickest, and which will lend the most based on your income.
For example, knowing that Barclays and HSBC took an average of 22 days to process applications for our customers over a 12 month period (the longest of the 'big six' lenders) might encourage you to start the application process a little earlier than planned.
We've captured this data and more, to give you an idea of which lenders are top for these criteria and prepare you for a future application.
Compare mortgage lenders
You can use the data on this page and our detailed lender reviews to compare mortgage lenders.
If your personal circumstances aren't complicated, then you will be able to choose from almost any lender in the UK. You could compare lenders and go with one that will lend you more money or will submit your application faster.
In either case, comparing and choosing lenders doesn't have to be complicated. A mortgage broker like Trussle will find out everything about your situation and always make sure they recommend the right lender and mortgage deal for you.
Online mortgage lenders
Online lenders, such as Digital Mortgages, are newer entrants to the market. They typically provide residential mortgages, but offer a purely digital experience rather than using call centers or branches.
Bear in mind that you'll need a smartphone available to apply. This applies to all applicants to the mortgage.
The benefits of using an online mortgage lender generally include a faster service than traditional non-digital lenders, and having the status of your application available at the click of a button.
Our mortgage lender reviews
Specialist mortgage lenders
Self-employed mortgage lenders
Historically it's been more difficult to get a mortgage if you're self-employed, but these days many lenders are more lenient about lending money to those in this situation.
For example, if you've saved enough for a good sized deposit, have a healthy credit rating, and have up to two years accounts showing a steady income, you'll likely have a chance of getting a mortgage with one of these lenders.
For those who don't have a large deposit, perfect credit history, or years of accounts available, there are specialist lenders who will also consider lending to you.
Bad credit mortgage lenders
If you have bad credit, this doesn't immediately mean you're not going to be eligible to get a mortgage. However it may reduce the number of lenders willing to assess your application.
If you're worried about your credit rating, it's worth sharing a copy of your credit report with your mortgage broker so they can look into which lenders might be most suitable to consider when searching for the right deal.
While there are lenders who are happy to help those with more severe credit issues, they'll typically offer less competitive deals with higher interest rates.
Help-to-buy mortgage lenders
It's important to remember that you'll need to apply for the equity loan directly on the government website to secure the funding for the deposit.
When picking a lender, your mortgage broker will be able to confirm the details of the equity loan, how this impacts your application, and the implications for when you remortgage in the future.
Shared ownership mortgage lenders
Unfortunately, not every lender offers shared ownership mortgages, so if you’re unsure about which ones do, it could help to seek help from a mortgage broker.
Some lenders that do offer shared ownership are Lloyds, Leeds Building Society, Nationwide and Kent Reliance.
Lenders that accept 5% deposits
There are around 90 lenders in the UK and about a third of them offer mortgages for people with a 5% deposit.
These lenders include:
Post Office/Bank of Ireland
Lenders don’t stipulate any special criteria to get this type of mortgage, but you’ll need a good credit score.
Because of coronavirus, most 5% deposit mortgages are temporarily unavailable. When the lockdown is lifted, it may be possible to get a 5% deposit mortgage again.
Check out our 95% mortgage guide to learn more.
The drawbacks of putting down a 5% deposit
Putting down only a 5% deposit on a home may seem the answer to your prayers, as it could get you on the property ladder much faster than you’d hoped.
But there are considerable disadvantages to putting down such a small deposit:
lenders will charge a higher rate
your monthly repayments will be higher than they would be with a larger deposit
you’ll end up paying more in total than you would with a larger deposit because of the amount of interest you’ll have to pay
most lenders are looking for a close to perfect credit score
Is buying a home with a 5% deposit right for you?
Think carefully before deciding to take out a mortgage with a 5% deposit.
One of the first things you need to make sure of is that you can afford the repayments. If you’re not certain what they’d be, get some free advice from a mortgage broker.
“A mortgage with a 5% deposit can be a big help, but whenever you’re borrowing money you need to be sure you can pay it back,” said Sam Amidi, a mortgage adviser at Trussle.
Lenders for bad credit
If you’re applying for a mortgage with bad credit then you might need to consider different lenders to those applying with less complex cases.
You can usually tell if you have bad credit because your credit score will be low. This can be due to things such as falling behind on scheduled payments or owing money to lenders or credit card companies.
Some lenders might be unwilling to take on your application if your credit history isn’t great.
This doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get a mortgage. But it may take longer to get a mortgage and you won’t have access to the best mortgage rates.
We’ve kept an eye on which lenders have lent money to applicants with bad credit.
Our bad credit customers tend to borrow from these 5 lenders. We’ve listed them to show which lenders have supplied the most mortgages to Trussle customers with adverse credit.
Our best mortgage lenders for adverse credit
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Which mortgage lender lends the most?
Each lender will assess your circumstances against their own criteria, meaning the answer will be different for everyone.
The important thing to remember is that you should be looking for the most suitable mortgage deal offered by a wide range of lenders on the market. A mortgage broker, like us at Trussle, can help you with this.
What documents do mortgage lenders typically need?
Lenders will typically ask for three months worth of bank statements and payslips, a photo ID, and an address ID. Depending on your credit score, they may also ask for a copy of your credit history.
Will a mortgage lender help me with a bad credit score?
A number of mortgage lenders specialise in lending to those who may not have the best credit history. Speaking with a mortgage broker will help you find the most suitable specialist lender for your circumstances.
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Your home could be repossessed if you don't keep up repayments on your mortgage.
You may have to pay an early repayment charge to your existing lender if you remortgage.
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