One of the biggest questions for any refinancing applicant is who to refinance with. As with just about any financial product, it’s important to shop around and understand your own goals to find the right lender.

If you’re thinking of refinancing to tap into home equity or change your loan terms, it’s a good idea to check with your current mortgage lender to see what they can offer.

Can you refinance with the same lender?

Yes, you can usually refinance with the same lender that you originally got a loan through. But keep in mind our mortgage lender is the institution that originated your loan, and that may be different from the current servicer. Some mortgage administrators, the folks you send your monthly check to, don’t originate their own loans, so you’ll want to make sure you’re talking to the right kind of institution.

If your mortgage is currently held by a bank or company that originates loans, however, they may be able and perhaps even eager to extend a competitive rate or terms on a refinance, even if another lender originated the loan.

Is it better to refinance with your current lender?

If you’re just looking for the lowest rate, and that’s all you care about, shopping around as widely as you have patience for is the key thing to do. Find the best rate and terms and see if your current lender will match it, but be prepared to go somewhere else if cost is your number one priority.

“Most lenders want to keep their customers, most lenders want to preserve that relationship,” said Joel Kan, associate vice president of economic and industry forecasting at the Mortgage Bankers Association. “They want to keep the servicing of the loan, they want to keep the customer really.”

That means your current lender may be willing to match lower rates offered by a competitor. But in general, shopping around is the best way to find the lowest rate. Think of it this way: If you don’t shop around, you won’t know whether your lender is offering you a competitive deal.

Advantages of refinancing with the same lender

  • Ease of application — they may already have some of your information on file
  • Ease of payment — you won’t have to learn a new way to log in and pay your mortgage.
  • Account consolidation — if you already do all of your banking at the same place that holds your mortgage, you have fewer accounts to keep track of.

Disadvantages of refinancing with the same lender

  • You may not get the best interest rate possible.
  • You may not get the lowest fees possible.
  • You may not get the best loan terms possible.

Bottom line

If you find yourself needing to refinance, there can be some benefits to sticking with your current lender. Perhaps your lender will waive some of the costs of refinancing to keep you as a customer.

Even if staying put is your preference, it’s a good idea to shop around anyway, and see if you can prod your mortgage holder to give you a better rate by presenting some competitive offers.

Some lenders even have customer retention specialists on staff who may be able to help you get a better deal.