If you took out a loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) last year, there’s a good chance it was originated by Rocket Mortgage or Freedom Mortgage. The two mortgage lenders were first and second on the list of most active FHA lenders in 2021. The rankings are based on a Bankrate analysis of preliminary Home Mortgage Disclosure Act data, with an assist from ComplianceTech’s LendingPatterns.com.

The 10 largest FHA lenders accounted for about a third of all FHA home loans originated in 2021.

The 10 biggest FHA lenders

Lenders can be ranked two ways, by loan volume and by loan value. The 10 largest FHA lenders by number of loans:

  1. Rocket Mortgage. Rocket originated nearly 128,000 FHA loans worth $25.5 billion in 2021, according to HMDA data.
  2. Freedom Mortgage. Freedom originated almost 118,000 FHA loans worth $25.5 billion in 2021.
  3. Caliber Home Loans. Caliber originated some 41,000 FHA mortgages worth $10.2 billion.
  4. United Shore Financial. Better known as United Wholesale Mortgage, this lender originated nearly 39,000 FHA loans worth $11.6 billion in 2021.
  5. Lakeview Loan Servicing. This lender originated 35,000 FHA mortgages with a total value of $8 billion.
  6. Nationstar Mortgage. This lender, now known as Mr. Cooper, originated nearly 34,000 FHA loans totaling $7 billion.
  7. Fairway Independent Mortgage. Fairway originated 32,000 loans worth $8 billion.
  8. PennyMac. PennyMac originated nearly 32,000 FHA loans valued at $6.9 billion.
  9. LoanDepot. LoanDepot originated 26,000 FHA loans worth $7.1 billion in 2021.
  10. CrossCountry Mortgage. This lender originated nearly 26,000 FHA loans worth $6.7 billion.

When FHA lenders are ranked by loan value (in dollars) rather than by number of loans originated, Freedom Mortgage just barely edges out Rocket Mortgage.

A quick guide to FHA loans

An FHA loan is a government-backed mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration. While the government insures these loans, they are underwritten and administered by third-party mortgage lenders. As with any mortgage, it’s worth shopping around to find the best FHA lender.

FHA loans come in 15-year and 30-year terms with fixed interest rates. The agency’s flexible underwriting standards are designed to help give borrowers who might not qualify for private mortgages a chance to become homeowners.

FHA loans appeal especially to first-time homebuyers for two main reasons: Borrowers can put down as little as 3.5 percent, and they can qualify even with credit scores in the 600s. There are downsides to FHA loans, however: They carry hefty mortgage insurance premiums, and some sellers and listing agents push FHA borrowers’ offers to the bottom of the consideration pile.