Bank of America: 2020 Home Equity Review

Bank of America logo

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Bank of America is one of the largest banks in the world (and the second-largest bank in the U.S.). The bank currently serves over 66 million customers and small-business clients. With over 4,300 branches and 16,600 ATMs, Bank of America’s name and logo is well known and visible across the country.

The bank has won awards for its mobile banking, and it has partnered with Khan Academy to launch the Better Money Habits website, which features self-paced tutorials on various personal financial topics.

Bank of America snapshot

Loan types offered HELOC
APR range Starting at 3.77%
Loan amount range $25,000 to $1 million
Minimum credit score required Not specified
Repayment terms 10-year draw period, 20-year repayment period
Average time to approval Not specified

Benefits

Bank of America may be a good option if you prefer an in-person branch experience. Some of its benefits include:

  • Discounts for existing customers: In addition to a discount for setting up automatic payments from your Bank of America checking or savings account, Preferred Rewards clients can receive an additional discount ranging from 0.125 percent to 0.375 percent.
  • No fees: Bank of America doesn’t charge an application fee or an annual fee, and it will cover all closing costs on credit lines of up to $1 million.
  • Fixed-rate options: At opening, you can convert a line amount to a fixed-rate loan if you withdraw at least $15,000 and no more than 90 percent of the maximum line amount. You can also convert all or a portion of your balance to a fixed-rate option during the loan term; the minimum to be converted is $5,000. All of this can be done without an additional fee.

Drawbacks

A few of Bank of America’s drawbacks are:

  • Early termination fee: If you close your account within three years, you will pay a $450 fee and any closing fees Bank of America paid on your behalf.
  • Assumptions for low APR: While Bank of America has competitive rates, the low APR advertised is based on excellent credit and includes discounts for automatic payments and making an initial draw.
  • High minimum line amount: Bank of America’s minimum line amount is $25,000; this could be more than you want or need to borrow.

Types of fees charged

With a Bank of America HELOC, there are no application fees, no closing costs and no annual fee. There are also no fees if you choose to convert to a fixed-rate loan.

“With no fees to originate or maintain through Bank of America, you can opt to upgrade your kitchen, tap funds for college tuition or medical expenses, or just have funds accessible in the case of an emergency,” says Michelle McLellan, first mortgage and home equity products executive at Bank of America.

The only fee charged is an early termination fee of $450 if you close your account within three years. You’ll also be on the hook for any closing fees Bank of America paid on your behalf.

Bank of America offers discounts for setting up autopay, making initial withdrawals and being a Preferred Rewards client. If you set up automatic payments for your HELOC with a Bank of America checking or savings account, you will receive a 0.25 percent discount. If you make a withdrawal when you open your account, you will receive a 0.10 percent discount for each $10,000 withdrawn with a maximum discount of 1.50 percent.

If you’re a Preferred Rewards client, you will receive a discount ranging from 0.125 percent to 0.375 percent depending on your tier. Check out the Bank of America website or speak to a Preferred Rewards specialist to learn more about this program and whether or not you qualify.

Loan products offered

Home equity line of credit (HELOC)

Bank of America’s HELOC has a minimum credit line amount of $25,000. The maximum line amount is $1 million for your primary residence and $500,000 for your second home. HELOCs have a 10-year draw period and a 20-year repayment period.

You also have the option to convert part of your variable-rate HELOC to a fixed-rate loan at opening if you draw at least $15,000 (but no more than 90 percent of your line). You can also decide to convert a portion of your HELOC balance (minimum $5,000) to a fixed-rate loan during the loan term. There is no fee, and you can have up to three fixed-rate loans at one time. The loan term can range from one year up to the account maturity date.

While the APR on a fixed-rate loan may be higher, it does give you the option to pay both interest and principal in predictable and fixed payments. That certainty allows you to better budget your money, as you will never have to guess the monthly payment amount or face higher payments if rates rise.

Other products

In addition to its HELOCs, Bank of America offers mortgages and refinances. On the mortgage side, it offers fixed-rate mortgages, adjustable-rate mortgages, jumbo loans, an “Affordable Loan Solution” and FHA and VA loans.

Its refinance loans include a fixed-rate refinance loan, an adjustable-rate refinance loan, FHA and VA refinance loans and a cash-out refinance loan.

How to qualify for a home equity loan with Bank of America

Bank of America does not disclose a minimum credit score requirement, but based on historical data, borrowers will likely have to have a credit score in the mid-600 range.

All loans are subject to approval, and your APR will depend on your credit score, loan amount, work history, monthly income and monthly debts, property value and property location.

View home equity rates

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

How to get started

You can apply for a Bank of America HELOC using the bank’s online application. The whole process should take about 15 minutes. After answering initial questions, you will be shown how to upload any required documents and how to check on the status of your loan application.

If you need assistance with the application, or if you have questions or want to discuss fixed-rate loan options, you can schedule an appointment with a branch lending specialist or speak to one over the phone or through an online chat. You’ll also need to visit a financial center in order to close your HELOC.

For more information about Bank of America’s HELOC, visit the bank’s website or call 800-779-3894, Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET or Saturday from 8 a.m to 6:30 p.m. ET. You can also schedule an appointment online to meet with a lending specialist at your local branch. In addition to information about its products and the online loan application, the Bank of America website features a wealth of information on tapping into your home’s equity.

How Bankrate rates Bank of America

Overall Score 4.2
Availability 3.0
Affordability 4.9
Customer Experience 4.8

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.