Choosing a lender is one of the major steps in the home buyer process. There are several places you can go to get financing for a home purchase the two main options is bank or mortgage broker.
The obvious choice might seem to be going directly to a bank since they are the ones lending the money. However, the whole mortgage industy if not that simple. A mortgage broker might actually get you a better rate at a bank than a loan officer could that works for the bank. Banks have wholesale rates and retail rates. Mortgage brokers have access to the wholesale rates.
In many cases mortgage broker is usually better as they typically have more options and programs. However, they are commission based and bank loan officers more salaried. Therefore, mortgage broker may be more inclined to recommend program that will make them more money.
Mortgage brokers are usually more responsive and can get things done quicker as a successful closing is needed to get paid. Big banks tend to move slower and don't seem to care so much about time lines which can be critical in successful transaction.
As in any industry you can get good and bad. Have had bad mortgage brokers and good bank loan officers.
It is good to shop around and shopping around does not hurt the credit. When shopping for a mortgage, the multiple credit pulls only count once as a hit to credit. That is so that consumers can shop around without worrying about the impact to their credit rating.