This is the general term that describes any party that provides a loan for a person who buys a home. In most cases, this will be the primary mortgage provider. Some people will have more than one lender, though. The lender plays an important role in the facilitation of the process. Because most buyers do not have the ability to purchase a home without the help of financing, the lender essentially controls the purse strings for the purchase. If the lender does not give the go-ahead on the buyer, the entire process will not get off of the ground. Lenders can come in many forms. Most of the time, they are large banks or credit unions. Some lucky home buyers can get partial financing through their employers. In this case, the company would qualify as a lender, even though they are not primarily in the business of providing mortgages.