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Police and Fire Federal Credit Union: 2022 Home Equity Review

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Since 1938, Police and Fire Federal Credit Union (PFFCU) has been providing financial services for active and retired Philadelphia police officers and firefighters, as well as their families. PFFCU also works with members of select organizations in the greater Philadelphia and South Jersey areas.

Police and Fire Federal Credit Union has 17 locations in and around Philadelphia, and many of its services can be accessed fully online. PFFCU prides itself on its four main principles: service, value, convenience and trust. This lender strives to deliver excellent customer service at low costs for members. 

PFFCU offers both home equity loans and lines of credit. If you are eligible for membership and are interested in a home equity product, PFFCU could be a good fit for you.

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

Benefits

Police and Fire Federal Credit Union’s home equity products come with a number of benefits: 

  • Excellent customer service: According to a 2021 member survey, 92 percent of survey participants gave overall member service “exceptional” and “superior” scores, and 90 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 3.49 percent, much lower than the national average of 5.36 percent, according to Bankrate data from December 2021. PFCCU’s HELOC has a minimum APR of 2.99 percent, while the national average is 4.1 percent. 
  • Quick approval and funding: Potential borrowers typically get a HELOC decision one business day after applying. PFFCU strives to close on your home equity loan or HELOC within 35 days of application. 

Drawbacks

It’s also important to be aware of some of Police and Fire Federal Credit Union’s drawbacks: 

  • Limited membership: PFFCU membership requires you to 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. 

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 percent 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 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. 

HELOC

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

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. 

How Bankrate rates Police and Fire Federal Credit Union

Overall Score 4.4 Scoring factors
Availability 3.9 Quick approval and funding, range of products offered but highly limited membership.
Affordability 4.6 Excellent minimum APR, discount for autopay and minimal fees.
Customer Experience 4.8 Online application and account access, mobile app available and strong customer ratings.

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.

Written by
Raija Haughn
Raija Haughn is an associate writer for Bankrate.com specializing in personal and home equity loans. She is passionate about helping people make financial decisions that will benefit them long term.