Always ask your lender to provide a loan estimate. The loan estimate will provide a detailed breakdown of expected costs. Lender costs, such as points, origination fees, and application fees, can mask the true rate you are receiving.
In addition to the rate, loan servicing should be factored into a borrower's decision. Loan servicing refers to collecting monthly payments, paying taxes and other aspects of the loan that take place after the mortgage has closed and until it is paid off. Working with a smaller institution allows for more personalized service, as well as the opportunity for in-person payments.