Citizens Bank: 2021 Home Equity Review

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Founded in 1828, Citizens Bank is one of the country’s oldest banks and its 13th largest. Headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, it has about 1,000 branches and 2,700 ATMs in 11 states in New England, the Mid-Atlantic and the Midwest.

Citizens Bank offers both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).

Citizens Bank snapshot

Loan types offered Home equity loan, HELOC
APR range Home equity loan: Starting at 3.00% (with autopay)
HELOC: Starting at 3.00% (with autopay)
Loan amount range Home equity loan: $10,000 to $400,000+
HELOC: Starting at $5,000
Minimum credit score required Not specified
Repayment terms Home equity loan: 10 to 20 years
HELOC: 10-year draw period, 15-year repayment period
Average time to approval Not specified

Benefits

There are several benefits to working with Citizens Bank for a home equity loan or line of credit.

  • Minimal up-front fees: There are no closing costs or application fees for home equity loans or HELOCs.
  • Flexible repayment options: Borrowers can choose between interest-only payments and payments that include principal and interest during a HELOC’s 10-year draw period.

Drawbacks

There are also a few drawbacks to consider before choosing Citizens Bank.

  • Annual fee: After the first year, HELOCs have a $50 annual fee.
  • Limited availability: Citizens Bank limits lending to 15 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.
  • Application options: You can apply for a HELOC online, but you must contact a representative to apply for a home equity loan.

Types of fees charged

While Citizens Bank does not charge an application fee or closing costs on home equity loans or HELOCs, it does charge late fees, as well as a $50 annual fee on HELOCs after the first year. There are no annual fees on home equity loans.

Additionally, there is a prepayment penalty of $350 on a HELOC if the account is paid off and closed within the first 36 months. There is no fee if the account is paid off but remains open during the first 36 months.

Loan products offered

Citizens Bank offers three home equity products: a home equity loan, a standard HELOC, and a GoalBuilder HELOC. Rates for home equity loans and standard HELOCs are discounted 0.25 percent with automatic monthly payments from a Citizens Bank checking account.

Home equity loan

Citizens Bank’s home equity loans come with terms of 10, 15 or 20 years. Loan amounts range from $10,000 to more than $400,000. Rates vary by location; the current range of 4.38 percent to 6.93 percent applies to homes in the bank’s Newburgh/New York City region.

HELOC

Citizens Bank’s standard home equity line of credit has a 10-year draw period and a 15-year repayment term with a variable interest rate between 2.5 percent and 21 percent. While you can pay on both the principal and interest during the draw period, you only have to make payments on the interest. Loan amounts start at $17,500. The GoalBuilder HELOC has no annual fee or prepayment penalty.

GoalBuilder HELOC

The bank’s GoalBuilder HELOC, which has undisclosed income limits, offers loan amounts from $5,000 to $25,000 and has a rate of prime plus 3.25 percent or 3 percent. It’s only available in Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Vermont.

How to qualify for a home equity loan with Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank looks at three main factors when determining eligibility for a home equity loan or HELOC: your credit history (FICO score), your loan-to-value (LTV) ratio and your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio. The bank doesn’t disclose credit score requirements, but to get the best rates, you’ll need an LTV of 70 percent or less for a home equity loan and 80 percent or less for a HELOC.

How to get started

During the application process, you’ll need employment details and the date of birth and Social Security number for you and your co-applicant, if you have one, along with two of your most recent pay stubs. Additionally, you’ll need information on the property, including its current value, the year it was built, the purchase date and price, your current mortgage payment and details on any existing liens. You’ll also need your homeowner’s insurance and property tax information.

You can apply for a HELOC on Citizens Bank’s website, by visiting a branch or by calling 888-333-1206.

To apply for a home equity loan, you’ll need to speak directly with a loan officer. You can call 888-514-2300, visit your local branch or make a request on the website for a loan officer to call you. Loan officers are available by phone from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday.

How Bankrate rates Citizens Bank

Overall Score 4.2
Availability 4.1
Affordability 4.4
Customer Experience 4.0

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.