Online lenders could help you cut your expenses. iStock By Pat Mertz Esswein, Associate Editor From Kiplinger's Personal Finance, June 2017 You may get the best rate on a home loan, with faster approval and closing, if you borrow from a direct lender. In 2016, nonbanks issued nearly half of all mortgages, led by Quicken and PennyMac Financial.See Also: How Smart a Home BUYER Are You? Guide to Scoring the Best Deals in 2017 Costco vs. Sam's Club Best Tools to Save on Online Shopping Surprising Perks From Your Credit Card Best Time to Buy Big-Ticket Items Get a Cash Bonus for Opening a New IRA Invest for Less With Commission-Free ETFs Update Your Bathroom for Less Top Tech Bargains of 2017 Save Big on Exotic Travel Save on Air Travel When we shopped a handful of banks and direct lenders for a 30-year fixed-rate loan, we found that the direct lenders tended to beat big banks by an eighth to a quarter of a percentage point. Compared with the big banks, nonbanks are more willing to compete on rate, offer greater flexibility in underwriting and are less likely to penalize borrowers who have, say, a less-than-stellar credit score or a small down payment, says Guy Cecala, the publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, which covers the mortgage industry.