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Can a Bank Be a Mortgage Broker?

Yes, a bank can act as a mortgage broker. While banks typically serve as direct lenders, some offer brokerage services by working with outside wholesale lenders to find loans for borrowers. These banks analyze the borrower’s situation, shop rates from different lenders, present options to the borrower, and assist with the application and origination process on behalf of the actual lender.

Man looking at the contracts

What Is a Mortgage Broker?

mortgage broker is a professional who serves as an intermediary between borrowers and mortgage lenders. The main role of a mortgage broker is to find the best mortgage rates and loan options for their clients based on the client’s financial situation and goals. 

Mortgage brokers shop multiple lenders on behalf of borrowers to find competitive rates and loan products. They also help borrowers through the mortgage application process by collecting necessary paperwork, ordering credit reports, and more. Many mortgage brokers are especially knowledgeable about specific types of mortgage loans like FHA loans, VA loans, and jumbo loans.

Unlike a mortgage lender, a mortgage broker does not actually fund the mortgage loan. Instead, they facilitate the process between the borrower and the actual lender. Their familiarity with multiple lenders, loan products, and the qualification process makes them extremely helpful for borrowers seeking a mortgage.

What Is a Bank in Terms of Mortgages?

A bank is a type of financial institution that accepts deposits and makes loans to individuals and businesses. In terms of mortgages, banks can serve as direct mortgage lenders

When a bank acts as the lender for a mortgage loan, they provide the financing directly to the borrower. This means they assess the borrower’s eligibility and creditworthiness, underwrite and approve the loan, fund the mortgage, and collect payments. 

Banks have the capacity to originate mortgages because they hold large amounts of capital that can be used to fund loans. Both large nationwide banks and local community banks commonly act as mortgage lenders.

Some key characteristics of banks as mortgage lenders include:

  • They determine interest rates and set the terms and conditions for the mortgage loans they originate.
  • They hold and manage the mortgage on their own balance sheet rather than selling it to investors.
  • They receive payments and handle servicing for the lifetime of the loan.
  • They have established lending limits based on their capital reserves.

So in summary, a bank serves as the actual mortgage lender by directly providing the mortgage financing to the homebuyer.

Can a Bank Act as a Mortgage Broker?

Yes, it is possible for a bank to act as a mortgage broker by taking on the same services and responsibilities as a typical independent mortgage broker. However, there are some key differences between banks and traditional brokers.

When a bank serves as a broker, they work with outside wholesale lenders to find a loan for the borrower. They do not lend their own funds. The bank analyzes the borrower’s situation, shops rates from different lenders, presents options to the borrower, and assists with the application and origination process on behalf of the actual lender. 

A few other key points about banks acting as brokers:

  • Banks that offer brokerage services have established relationships with many lenders.
  • They must comply with the same licensing, education, and regulatory requirements as independent brokers in their state. 
  • Broker services offered by banks are still intended as a revenue source by earning fees through originating loans.
  • Banks that act as brokers have access to a larger pool of mortgage products.

So in short, while not all banks offer brokerage services, some do choose to act as brokers by facilitating mortgages with outside lenders. This gives them access to a wider range of loan options beyond their own in-house lending capabilities.

Differences Between Banks and Mortgage Brokers

While banks can technically act as brokers, there are still some key differences between getting a mortgage through a bank versus going through a mortgage broker that specialize specifically in home loans.

1. Services Offered by Banks vs. Mortgage Brokers

Banks are financial institutions that offer a full suite of financial services, from deposit accounts and credit cards to personal and business loans. Mortgage brokers specialize specifically in mortgages and home financing options.

2. Interest Rates: Banks vs. Mortgage Brokers

Banks set their own interest rates on the loans they originate directly. Brokers can shop multiple lenders to potentially find lower rates for borrowers.

3. Loan Options: Banks vs. Mortgage Brokers

Banks have a limited portfolio of loan products from which they lend directly. Brokers have access to hundreds of loan products from various lenders.

4. Customer Service: Banks vs. Mortgage Brokers

As large institutions, banks can sometimes lack personalized service. Brokers provide dedicated service and hand-holding throughout the mortgage process.

5. Fees and Costs: Banks vs. Mortgage Brokers

Banks typically charge origination fees for their mortgages. Brokers are usually paid through fees charged to the lender, at no direct cost to borrowers.

Pros and Cons of Using a Bank for Your Mortgage


  • Established relationships with the bank
  • Potential to get better service as an existing customer
  • May offer convenience through online applications and document uploads 
  • In-house underwriting can sometimes be faster


  • Limited loan programs only from that bank’s portfolio
  • May not offer the lowest interest rates
  • Large bank bureaucracy can mean less personalized service
  • In-house underwriting still applies bank’s own lending standards 

Pros and Cons of Using a Mortgage Broker for Your Home Loan


  • Access to loan programs from hundreds of lenders 
  • Specialized expertise in mortgages and the market
  • Can shop around for competitive interest rates
  • Credible advice based on your total financial picture
  • Guides you through the full complex process


  • Do not lend their own funds
  • Added step of communicating through an intermediary
  • Your information is shared with multiple lenders during shopping
  • No long term servicing relationship after closing
BankMortgage broker
ProsDirect connection
Fewer fees
Access to various programs
Help with paperwork
Can get things done faster 
ConsFewer program options
May not get approved
Conflict of interest
Can be incompetent

How to Choose Between a Bank and a Mortgage Broker for Your Home Financing Needs

When deciding between getting your mortgage through a bank or mortgage broker, consider the following:

  • Your existing banking relationships and loyalty programs
  • Interest rates and total origination costs quoted
  • Types of mortgages and specialized programs needed
  • The level of guidance and service preferred

Those who value dedicated mortgage expertise and loan variety are often best served by a broker. Borrowers who prioritize convenience and existing bank relationships may be better off working directly with a bank. 

Be sure to get multiple quotes from both banks and brokers. Ask about all fees and costs. Clarify responsibilities upfront and get promises in writing. Doing your due diligence is key to determining whether to use a bank lender or independent mortgage broker for your specific home financing needs.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Is a mortgage broker the same as a bank?

A mortgage broker is a professional who assists borrowers in obtaining financing for a home loan. They act as an intermediary between the borrower and the lender and are typically paid a commission for their services. While a mortgage broker is not the same as a bank, they can often help borrowers find the best loan options available from a variety of lenders.

Do banks pay mortgage brokers?

Yes, banks do pay mortgage brokers. Mortgage brokers are paid a commission by the lender (bank) for arranging a loan for a borrower. This commission is usually a percentage of the loan amount and is paid when the loan is settled. Mortgage brokers are also paid an upfront commission, which is a flat fee paid before the loan is settled.

What is the difference between a banker and a broker?

A banker is a financial professional who works in a bank and provides services such as taking deposits, lending money, and providing financial advice. A broker, on the other hand, is a financial professional who acts as an intermediary between buyers and sellers of securities, commodities, and other financial instruments. Brokers typically charge a commission for their services, while bankers may be paid a salary or commissions based on the services they provide.

Do brokers work with banks?

Yes, mortgage brokers do work with banks. Brokers are independent professionals who work with multiple lenders to find the best mortgage product for their clients. Banks often provide brokers with access to their own mortgage products, as well as those from other lenders, allowing brokers to offer a wide range of options to their clients.