Fifth Third Bank: 2021 Home Equity Review

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Fifth Third Bank is a full-service bank that can trace its roots back to 1858 in Cincinnati, Ohio, where it is still headquartered. The lender provides home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) and home equity loans in 11 states to existing Fifth Third customers.

Instead of automating the application process like newer online lenders, the bank assigns a loan specialist to each application to look at all of the options available and find the best solution for the customer. Because of this, it’s not the best option if you want a fast, fully online experience; but if you’re already a customer with the bank, it may be the most convenient option for using your home equity.

Fifth Third Bank snapshot

Loan types offered Home equity loan, HELOC
APR range Home equity loan: Starting at 4.39% (with autopay)
HELOC: 3.75% to 7.15% (with autopay)
Loan amount range Home equity loan: $10,000 to $250,000
HELOC: $10,000 to $500,000
Minimum credit score required Not specified
Repayment terms Home equity loan: 10 to 30 years
HELOC: 10-year draw period and 20-year repayment period
Average time to approval Not specified

Benefits

A Fifth Third HELOC or home equity loan may be a good option for an existing customer of the bank. Here are some of the company’s biggest benefits:

  • Fixed-rate option: If you prefer a HELOC over a home equity loan but don’t want the uncertainty of a variable interest rate, you can lock in a fixed rate at any time — just pay a $95 fee to convert some or all of your balance and unlock it at any time for free.
  • Flexible borrowing: Borrowers can get anywhere between $10,000 and $500,000 with Fifth Third, giving you a lot of flexibility.
  • Comprehensive customer service: If you need help at any time during the process, you can get help online, over the phone or at your local branch. Whether you prefer in-person service or help from a distance, you get your pick.

Drawbacks

Before signing up for a loan with Fifth Third, make sure to consider some of its drawbacks:

  • Not fully online: Unlike many lenders, Fifth Third does not have an online application; you’ll have to call the bank or visit a branch in order to apply. You may also have to visit a branch before closing, which makes the process of getting a home equity loan or HELOC much less convenient than with other lenders.
  • Limited availability: HELOCs and home equity loans are only available to borrowers in Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. Borrowers must also hold an eligible checking or savings account with the bank.
  • Annual fee: Fifth Third has a $65 annual fee on HELOCs after the first year. You can get the fee waived, however, if you’re an eligible Preferred checking customer.

Types of fees charged

Fifth Third doesn’t charge any closing costs. There is, however, an annual fee of $65 for HELOCs after the first year, although eligible Preferred checking customers with the bank can get that waived. Also, if you want to switch your HELOC interest rate from variable to fixed, you can do so by paying a $95 fee.

Additionally, if you’re using a condo to secure your loan, you may have to pay a Condominium Questionnaire fee of up to $600.

Loan products offered

Fifth Third Bank offers various mortgage loans, as well as HELOCs and home equity loans.

HELOC

HELOCs are available to borrowers who have an existing checking or savings account with the bank. Lines can range from $10,000 to $500,000. You’ll make interest-only payments for the first 10-year draw period, then payments on interest and principal for the following 20-year repayment period.

When you use the debit card tied to your HELOC, you’ll earn one rewards point for every $3 you spend. You’ll also get a rewards bonus of 5,300 points after your first qualifying purchase. Points are worth 1 cent apiece and can be redeemed for cash back.

HELOCs also have the option of a fixed rate lock, meaning you can lock all or part of your HELOC balance if you want to take advantage of a low rate. The cost for each lock is $95, but you can have up to three locks active at the same time.

Home equity loan

Like the HELOC, Fifth Third’s home equity loan is available to customers with an existing Fifth Third checking or savings account. You may borrow from $10,000 to $250,000 with a repayment term of 10 to 30 years. To get the best rate, you must have a loan-to-value ratio no higher than 70 percent and be using a primary, owner-occupied residency in the second lien position.

How to qualify for a home equity loan with Fifth Third Bank

Fifth Third doesn’t disclose any of its eligibility requirements, though typically for home equity products you’ll want to have a credit score in the mid-600s or above. Lenders will also typically only accept borrowers with a debt-to-income ratio below 43 percent.

You can only apply if you live in one of the 11 states where Fifth Third operates: Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. Additionally, prospective borrowers must hold an eligible checking or savings account with the bank.

How to get started

You can start the application process for a Fifth Third HELOC or home equity loan online, although you must complete the application over the phone or in person. You may also apply entirely over the phone at 1-866-671-5353 or at a local branch. You’ll share the purpose for the loan, how much you want to borrow and a little information about the property. You’ll also need to provide your name and contact information.

Fifth Third representatives are available by phone Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST, Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. EST.

Before you settle on the lender, however, be sure to shop around and compare rates and terms from several home equity lenders.

How Bankrate rates Fifth Third Bank

Overall Score 4.2
Availability 3.6
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.