The best UK mortgage lenders

The biggest, the best and the fastest mortgage lenders. We review the UK's top mortgage lenders.

Who is the best mortgage lender?

It’s tricky to determine the best mortgage lender as there are so many factors to consider, such as:

  • customer satisfaction and number of complaints

  • how fast they are approving applications

  • how much they’ll lend

  • the variety of mortgages they offer

There are many different lenders catering to different types of buyers and offering a variety of different products, so what might be the ‘best’ for one buyer might not be the best for you.

How many mortgage lenders are there?

There are around 100 mortgage lenders in the UK. These are mainly banks and building societies. 

Major lenders include 'The Big Six’. These are

  1. Lloyds (including Halifax)

  2. Nationwide

  3. Santander

  4. Natwest (including RBS)

  5. Barclays

  6. HSBC

Together these 6 lenders account for most of the mortgage lending in the UK.¹

Specialist lenders like Kent Reliance and Fleet are examples of specialist lenders. This means they focus on mortgages for certain types of customers, like buy-to-let landlords. 

If you have a history of bad credit, you may need to get a mortgage from a specialist lender.

There are also lenders such as Virgin Money, Metro Bank, Clydesdale and Accord. They offer similar mortgages to the Big Six but are a bit smaller as firms.

Who are the biggest mortgage lenders?

According to the latest data from UK Finance, these are the top 6 largest lenders in the UK²:

  1. The Lloyds Banking Group (includes Halifax) - £55.9 billion

  2. NatWest Group (includes RBS) - £36.1 billion

  3. Nationwide Building Society - £35.4 billion

  4. Santander UK - £33.2 billion

  5. Barclays - £33 billion

  6. HSBC - £27.3 billion

UK Finance ranks lenders based on their market share. This means that the lenders listed here provided the most mortgages in 2021. 

The largest lenders are those that have lent 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.

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 will suit you best.

Who is the fastest mortgage lender?

Based on our own data, in 2022, lenders take an average of around 34 days to approve new mortgage submissions.

Top 5 fastest lenders in 2022

  1. Paragon Mortgages - 10 days

  2. Halifax - 15 days

  3. Post Office - 16 days

  4. Scottish Widows Bank - 21 days

  5. Leeds BS - 22 days

This data is based on how long it takes mortgage lenders to approve mortgages after we submit them.

Bear in mind that this is an average. Some mortgages will be approved faster, and some might take much longer.

It might take specialist lenders longer to approve applications from self-employed or bad credit customers.

Do not rule out specialist lenders who are best suited to your needs if you:

  • have bad credit

  • are self-employed

  • need a Help to Buy or Shared Ownership mortgage

Speak to a mortgage adviser if you’re not sure which lender is right for your situation.

Which mortgage lenders have the best reviews?

To decide the UK's best lenders, we compared how satisfied their customers are.

We looked at public complaints data to see how they performed between 2021 and 2022.

During this time the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) had more than 48,000 complaints across the lenders we’ve focused on.²

Of these 48,000 complaints, around 61% were officially upheld.

An upheld complaint is when they investigate a complaint to confirm that something went wrong.

We’ve chosen to look at the upheld complaints rather than the number of complaints. This is a more accurate way to see the number of valid and confirmed customer complaints.

Best lenders with the lowest percentage of upheld complaints

  • Kensington

  • Bank of Ireland

  • Metro Bank

  • The Mortgage Works

  • Paragon Mortgages 

Lenders with the highest percentage of upheld complaints

  • Coventry Building Society

  • Natwest

  • Royal Bank of Scotland

  • Barclays

  • Aldermore

Who are the best specialist mortgage lenders?

The best specialist lender will be different depending on what kind of mortgage you are looking for.

For example, some lenders specialise in bad credit mortgages and others will focus on buy-to-lets or self-employed mortgages.

Some mortgage lenders that can help self-employed borrowers are:

  • Accord Mortgages

  • Barclays

  • HSBC

  • NatWest

  • Santander

  • Nationwide

  • Virgin Money

These lenders all have slightly different criteria when it comes to what they ask for when you apply for a mortgage.

Speak to a mortgage broker to find out your full range of options for a self-employed mortgage.

There are mortgage lenders who are happy to help those with credit issues, but they often offer less competitive deals with higher interest rates.

Lenders that offer mortgages for people with poor credit are:

  • Pepper Money

  • Bluestone Mortgages

  • Kensington Mortgages

  • Aldermore

  • Kent Reliance

  • Vida Homeloans

  • MBS Lending

A mortgage broker will be best equipped to help you look through your options to find the right mortgage lender.

Not every lender offers shared ownership mortgages. So if you’re not sure which ones do, it could help to speak to a mortgage broker.

Some lenders that offer shared ownership include

  • Lloyds

  • Leeds Building Society

  • Nationwide

  • Kent Reliance

Finding the best mortgage lender with Better

When finding you a mortgage, we'll always search the market for the most suitable deal for your situation.

So whether you are self-employed, have adverse credit or are looking for a buy-to-let mortgage, we can help steer you in the right direction.

You can also have a look at our range of lender guides that look at lenders individually so that you can get a better idea of what each lender is like.

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Important info & marketing claims

You may have to pay an early repayment charge to your existing lender if you remortgage. Your savings will depend on personal circumstances.

Your home may be repossessed if you do not keep up repayments on your mortgage.

*The savings figure of £656 is based on Better.co.uk remortgage customers in April 2024. Read more on our marketing claims page.

We can't always guarantee we will be able to help you with your mortgage application depending on your credit history and circumstances.

Average mortgage decision and approval times are based on Better.co.uk's historic data for lenders we submit applications to.

Tracker rates are identified after comparing over 12,000 mortgage products from over 100 mortgage lenders.

As of January 2023, Better.co.uk has access to over 100 lenders. This number is subject to change.

For buy-to-let landlords, there's no guarantee that it will be possible to arrange continuous letting of a property, nor that rental income will be sufficient to meet the cost of the mortgage.