Amerant: 2021 Home Equity Review

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Courtesy of Amerant

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Amerant, formerly Mercantil Commercebank, was founded in North Miami Beach, Florida, in 1979. It has 25 banking centers, including 18 in South Florida and seven in Greater Houston, plus a commercial loan office in New York. Headquartered in Coral Gables, Florida, Amerant is one of the state’s largest community banks, with nearly $8 billion in assets and more than 800 employees.

The bank offers several personal and business banking products, including home equity lines of credit and investment services. Homeowners in Florida or Texas with good credit looking for a HELOC may want to consider Amerant. It has two HELOC products: a standard equity line of credit for smaller loan amounts and a fixed-rate option for larger loans.

“Amerant differentiates itself from larger banks and traditional lenders by providing our customers competitive rates, with a level of high-touch service that can simply not be matched when dealing with giant institutions,” says Senior Vice President Ian Schweid, head of products and channels. “We work hard to ensure that every individual feels the highest possible level of care.”

Amerant offers competitive rates and a high level of customer service.

Amerant snapshot

Loan types offered HELOC
APR range Starting at 3.75% (with autopay)
Loan amount range Starting at $1,000 for standard equity line of credit and $25,000 for Fixed Rate Choice equity line of credit
Minimum credit score required Not specified
Repayment terms 10-year draw period and 10- or 20-year repayment period
Average time to approval Not specified

Benefits

Some of the main benefits of Amerant include:

  • Fixed-rate HELOC option: With the Fixed Rate Choice equity line of credit, you can lock in a low rate during the draw period for one, three, five, seven or 10 years, as long as the fixed term does not go beyond the draw period.
  • Few up-front costs: With Amerant, there are no application fees or origination fees.
  • Rate discount: If you set up autopay on your HELOC from an Amerant checking account, you will receive a 0.25 percent rate discount.
  • Rewards: You may qualify for up to $500 a year in cash rewards if you have an Amerant HELOC and at least three more Amerant products — such as a checking account, a CD and a savings account — with a total balance of at least $250,000.

Drawbacks

Amerant HELOCs do come with a few drawbacks. These include:

  • Fees on Florida loans: For loans originated in Florida, there is a $500 cancellation fee if the Fixed Rate Choice HELOC is closed within two years; this fee is waived on Amerant’s standard HELOC product. There is also a $75 annual fee after the first year.
  • Limits on covered closing costs: For any lines of up to $250,000, Amerant will cover your closing costs. For lines of $250,000 to $2.5 million, closing costs range from $1,000 to $26,000.
  • Limited availability: Amerant’s HELOCs are available only for properties in Florida and Texas.

Types of fees charged

There are no application or origination fees on Amerant’s HELOCs, and there are no closing costs on lines of up to $250,000. For closing costs over $250,000, Amerant will cover $500 for loans originating in Texas and $2,500 for loans originating in Florida.

But loans originating in Florida have some additional fees. There is a $500 penalty fee if the HELOC is closed within two years of opening (this fee is waived if you select the standard HELOC product), and loans are charged an annual fee of $75.

Loan products offered

Amerant offers several mortgage loans, including fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages and jumbo loans. It also offers two home equity products: a fixed-rate HELOC and a standard variable-rate HELOC. If you sign up for autopay with your Amerant checking account, all HELOCs receive a rate discount of 0.25 percent.

Fixed Rate Choice equity line of credit

While many lenders offer traditional variable-rate HELOCs, Amerant has a fixed-rate HELOC starting at $25,000 that allows you to convert all or part of your balance at any time during your draw period to a fixed-rate loan with a term of one, three, five, seven or 10 years. The fixed-rate loan requires a minimum draw amount of $4,000.

This HELOC has a 10-year draw period and a 10- or 20-year repayment period, and APRs start at 3.75 percent.

Standard equity line of credit

Like the fixed-rate HELOC, Amerant’s variable-rate HELOC follows a 10/10 or 10/20 draw and repayment schedule. The minimum loan amount is $1,000 in Florida and $4,000 in Texas. To apply for this loan, you must visit a branch or set up an appointment with a banking specialist.

How to qualify for a home equity loan with Amerant

In order to qualify for an Amerant HELOC, the property must be located in either Florida or Texas. The property must also have hazard, liability and windstorm insurance and may require flood insurance.

Your APR will depend on your credit history, property type, occupancy status, lien position and line amount. While Amerant doesn’t disclose credit score requirements, typically borrowers with scores in the mid- to high 600s and above are the most eligible.

View home equity rates

Tap into the value you have in your home to get the funds you need.

How to get started

To apply for Amerant’s standard HELOC, you must visit a branch or call to work with a banking specialist. To apply for its Fixed Rate Choice equity line of credit, you can complete an online application or visit a branch. After you complete all questions, you will be prompted to upload electronic copies of any required documentation.

  • Amerant’s customer call center: 305-629-1200 or toll-free at 888-629-0810
  • Online and mobile banking support call center: 305-629-1260 or toll-free at 866-806-8125

Call center hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST Saturday.

You can also visit one of its 25 branches in South Florida or Texas. To ask a general question, you can email the bank at questions@amerantbank.com, but be sure not to send any confidential or private information via email.

The Amerant website has useful information about its products and history, as well as a Financial Education Center with tips and tools to help you learn and to reach your personal financial goals. It’s a good place to start if you’re looking for more information on home equity in general.

How Bankrate rates Amerant

Overall Score 4.1
Availability 3.5
Affordability 4.6
Customer Experience 4.3

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by Bankrate.com staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.

Written by
Diane Costagliola
Contributing writer
Diane Costagliola is a contributing writer for Bankrate. Diane writes about homebuying, loans and personal finance.