Police and Fire Federal Credit Union (PFFCU) is based in Philadelphia and has been serving its members since 1938. Active or retired Philadelphia police officers and firefighters (and their family members), as well as members from a number of organizations in the greater Philadelphia and South Jersey areas, are eligible to join. All it takes is a quick application with your Social Security number, valid ID, proof of address and a current PFFCU checking account.
PFFCU’s mission is centered around service, value and convenience. It offers a number of accounts and services, including home equity loans and HELOCs, and has 17 locations in and around Philadelphia.
Police and Fire Federal Credit Union snapshot
|Loan types offered||Home equity loan, HELOC|
|APR range||Home equity loan: Starting at 3.49% (with autopay)
HELOC: Starting at 2.99% (with autopay)
|Loan amount range||Up to $600,000|
|Minimum credit score required||Not specified|
|Repayment terms||Home equity loan: 5 to 20 years
HELOC: 5-year draw period and 15-year repayment period
|Average time to approval||As soon as one business day|
Police and Fire Federal Credit Union’s home equity products come with a number of benefits:
- Excellent customer service: According to a 2019 member survey, 94 percent of survey participants gave overall member service “exceptional” and “superior” scores, and 92 percent gave the same ratings to overall product value.
- No up-front fees: PFFCU’s home equity loans and HELOCs have no application fees and no closing costs, although borrowers can opt to pay $150 for an appraisal upgrade.
- Competitive rates: The minimum APR on a PFFCU home equity loan is 49 percent, much lower than the national average of 5.26 percent, according to Bankrate data from April 7, 2021. PFCCU’s HELOC has a minimum APR of 2.99 percent, while the national average is 4.02 percent.
- Quick approval and funding: Applicants should hear about the loan decision the following business day. PFFCU strives to close on your home equity loan or HELOC within 35 days of application.
It’s also important to be aware of some of Police and Fire Federal Credit Union’s drawbacks:
- Limited membership: In order to be a PFFCU member, you must be an active or retired Philadelphia police officer, firefighter (or family member) or a member of one of the credit union’s affiliated organizations.
- Short HELOC draw period: PFFCU’s HELOC has a five-year draw period and a 15-year repayment period. Many banks and credit unions offer a 10-year draw period, which is helpful if you’ll need money for a longer stretch of time.
- Poor app rating: PFFCU offers an app for iOS and Android devices. However, while the Android app seems to have made improvements over the years, borrowers with Apple devices may struggle with mobile banking — the Apple app has a rating of only 2.5 out of five.
Types of fees charged
There are no application fees or closing costs on PFFCU’s home equity loan or HELOCs. However, for either a home equity loan or a HELOC, you can choose to pay for an appraisal upgrade for $150.
PFFCU charges a $15 returned loan payment fee and a $10 fee for making payments by credit card. The late fee for home equity loans is 5 percent of the monthly principal and interest, and the late fee for HELOCs is the lesser of $20 or 4% of the unpaid amount.
Loan products offered
PFFCU offers several real estate options, including mortgage products, a grant program for first-time homebuyers and mortgage refinancing. It offers two home equity products: a home equity loan and a HELOC. Both products have no application fees and no closing costs.
Home equity loan
PFFCU’s home equity loan has two options for borrowers looking for a loan for their primary residence or their owner-occupied vacation property. The first is a loan to finance up to 80 percent of the loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of your primary home. Loan terms range from five to 20 years and have a fixed rate. The maximum you can borrow is $600,000.
The other option allows you to finance up to 100 percent of the LTV ratio of your primary home. Loan terms are only five to 15 years (still with a fixed rate), and the maximum amount you can borrow is $100,000.
Single-family owner-occupied vacation properties have a maximum loan-to-value (LTV) ratio of 80 percent.
If you sign up for autopay, all home equity loans receive a discount of 0.25 percent. PFFCU tries to close on home equity loans within 35 days of application.
PFFCU’s home equity line of credit has a five-year draw period and 15-year repayment period. You can borrow up to $600,000 to finance up to 80 percent of the LTV ratio of your primary home. And as with the company’s home equity loans, there are no application fees or closing costs.
PFFCU’s lowest APR for HELOCs is 2.99 percent. However, the HELOC has a variable rate, meaning it will rise and fall based on the Federal Reserve’s bank prime loan rate minus 0.75 percent.
How to qualify for a home equity loan with Police and Fire Federal Credit Union
In order to qualify for any of PFFCU’s home equity products, you must be a member. Membership is limited to current and retired Philadelphia police officers and firefighters (and their family members), as well as employees from several organizations in and around Philadelphia and South Jersey.
Your APR will depend on your credit score and LTV ratio, as well as the loan term and amount.
For home equity loan LTV ratios over 80 percent, PFFCU requires automatic payments and will not discount APRs.
How to get started
To apply for one of PFFCU’s home equity products, simply fill out the online application on the credit union’s website; it only takes about 10 minutes to complete. You’ll need to select whether you are applying for a HELOC, Home Equity Loan 80 percent LTV or Home Equity Loan 100 percent LTV. Make sure you have calculated the amount you are requesting to borrow, as well as your estimated property value and current mortgage balance.
If members prefer to speak to a person, they can call PFFCU or visit a branch. If an application is completed during regular business hours, potential borrowers should hear about the loan decision the following business day. According to its website, PFFCU has a goal to close on your home equity loan within 35 days of application.
For more information, visit the PFFCU website or call either 215-931-0300 or 800-228-8801 during business hours (Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET or Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET). It also has an email form on its website.
How Bankrate rates Police and Fire Federal Credit Union
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.