Fifth Third Bank: 2019 Home Equity Review

First third bank logo

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) in 10 states.

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.

Lender snapshot

If you live in one of the states where Fifth Third operates, here are some highlights about the lender’s home equity products to know:

  • HELOCs range from $10,000 to $500,000
  • Most qualified borrowers have a credit score of 720 or higher
  • Allows a combined loan-to-value (CLTV) ratio of up to 90 percent
  • Offers variable- and fixed-rate payment structures
  • Costs include a $95 fee to lock in a fixed rate and a $65 annual fee after the first year

Pros and cons

A Fifth Third HELOC may be a good option for an existing customer of the bank, but there are both advantages and disadvantages to consider before you apply.


  • Competitive rates: As of late May 2019, the average HELOC rate is 6.13 percent. With Fifth Third, you may qualify for an introductory APR of 3.49 percent for the first six to 12 months, after which the APR can range from 5.40 percent to 12.45 percent.
  • 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, and you can 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 with your needs. You can also borrow up to a CLTV of 90 percent. (At many other home equity lenders, the maximum is 80 percent.)
  • 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.


  • Long loan funding time: If you need cash fast, you may need to opt for an online home equity lender that can get it to you quickly. With Fifth Third, it can take 35 days or longer to receive final approval.
  • Not fully online: You’ll need to visit one of the bank’s branches to complete the closing process. While this typically only takes 30 minutes, it may not be convenient if there aren’t many branches nearby.
  • You may not qualify with bad or fair credit: The lender doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score, but considering 80 percent of its borrowers have a score of 720 or higher and 60 percent have a score of 750 or higher, the odds may not be in your favor.
  • Has an annual fee: Fifth Third has a $65 annual fee after the first year. You can get the fee waived, however, if you’re an eligible Preferred checking customer.

Mortgage products

Fifth Third Bank offers various mortgage loans, as well as HELOCs. If you’re looking to borrow from your home’s equity, here are some important terms to know.

HELOCs can range from $10,000 to $500,000. You’ll make interest-only payments for the first 10-year draw period, then a 20-year repayment period with principal and interest after that.

After you apply, it typically takes 35 days to receive final approval. Once that occurs, you’ll need to visit one of the bank’s branches to close, after which you’ll receive the funds.

While the entire process is longer than what some other lenders offer, it may be worthwhile having a loan specialist working on your application instead of a computer algorithm — especially if you’re not in a hurry to get your funds.

When you use the debit card tied to your HELOC, you’ll earn 1 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.

Lender fees

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

The lender offers an introductory APR of 3.49 percent for six months if your line amount is less than $25,000 and 12 months if your line amount is $25,000 or more. After that, the variable APR ranges from 5.40 percent to 12.45 percent.

Borrower requirements

Fifth Third doesn’t disclose a minimum credit score requirement, but 80 percent of its home equity borrowers have a score of 720 or higher. The lender has a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 55 percent.

Qualified borrowers can get a CLTV of up to 90 percent, and while there’s typically no cash reserve requirement at closing, you may need to have at least six months’ worth of the home’s principal, interest, taxes and insurance payments in savings.

You can only apply if you live in one of the 10 states where Fifth Third operates, which includes Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee and West Virginia.

How to apply

You can start the application process for a Fifth Third HELOC online, over the phone or at a local branch. If you want to start it online, click on the “Get Started” button on the HELOC page on the bank’s website.

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.

Once you submit it, Fifth Third will have a loan specialist reach out to you personally to continue the process.

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

View home equity rates

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

Get started

If you’re interested in getting a HELOC from Fifth Third Bank and have questions, you can reach a loan specialist at 866-671-5353. They’re available Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern time. You can also send a message online or head to the nearest bank branch to speak with someone in person.

How Bankrate Rates Fifth Third Bank

Overall Score 3.4
Availability 2.8
Affordability 3.6
Customer Experience 3.8

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by 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.