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Getting a home loan doesn’t require a trip to the bank. In fact, 37.5% of mortgages originated in 2014 came from non-bank lenders, according to Inside Mortgage Finance. That share has grown significantly in the last few years, but it’s not a new concept. Non-bank lending declined dramatically during the mortgage crisis, but the current market share is similar to what it was in the early 2000s, said Guy Cecala, CEO and publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance

Non-bank lenders aren’t all that different from depository institutions that originate mortgages, except non-banks tend to not have physical locations for consumers to visit, and they’re not as regulated as banks. Still, they must comply with rules set by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and state regulators.

“There’s nothing negative associated with a non-bank vs. a bank making you a mortgage,” Cecala said. He’s been covering the industry since 1984. “They can both do as good a job or as bad a job, but it’s not necessarily associated with whether they’re a depository institution or not.”

The increase in non-bank lending mostly affects consumers in that it gives them more options when shopping for a mortgage.

“Before the financial crisis, there was a huge amount of consolidation, and the market was dominated by a small number of large banks,” Cecala said. “In that regard, it’s much better from a consumer standpoint than it was before. … That means you have to do more shopping. It’s up to you to decide which has the best terms or offerings for you.”

Among the common choices for non-bank mortgage lenders are credit unions. Here are a few other non-bank mortgage lenders in the U.S. market.

1. Quicken Loans

Based in Detroit, Quicken Loans is the largest online mortgage lender in the U.S., according to its website, but it was founded as Rock Financial Corp. in 1985 as a branch-based lender. From 2013 to 2014, it closed $140 billion of mortgage volume in 50 states.

2. PennyMac

PennyMac was founded in 2008 and is based in Moorpark, Calif. PennyMac’s website says it has more than 225,000 customers.

3. Nationstar

Dallas-based Nationstar mortgage started in 1994 and says it has more than 2 million customers.

4. PHH Mortgage

PHH Mortgage is a subsidiary of PHH Corp., which was founded in 1946. In 2014, PHH Mortgage closed about $36 billion in mortgage financing.

There are a lot of options. No matter where you end up getting a mortgage loan, it’s important to consider many different lenders and figure out which one has the best offer for you. Mortgage inquiries made on your credit report within 14 or 45 days of each other will count only as one hard inquiry, depending on the credit score model (many hard inquiries will hurt your credit score), allowing you to thoroughly explore your options. Even before you start shopping make an effort to improve your credit standing, because with large loans, a few points on a credit score could have a significant impact on how much you pay. You can see where your credit scores stand for free on Credit.com.

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