Lenders, the actual source of the funds you are borrowing, can be anyone from banks, savings and loans, mortgage bankers, or corporations, to Wall Street, private investors, or insurance companies. Lenders have different criteria for lending money. To find out the differences, you can go directly to some of these lenders--typically banks and savings and loans--or you can go through a loan broker. A broker typically gives you a wider variety of choices for no additional fee. This greater access to loan programs can often save you substantial amounts of money over the long term.