BECU home equity review

Get fixed- and variable-rate options in a HELOC, if you qualify for membership.

BECU only offers one home equity product, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) with flexible terms and no lender fees. While this HELOC comes with many advantages, as a credit union product, you must be a member to take advantage — and membership is mostly limited to the Pacific Northwest.

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Not listed, but most banks require at least a 620 FICO score

Minimum credit score

Only available in: AZ, CA, ID, IL, KS, MO, OR, PA, SC, WA

State availability

Details

Loan products offeredHELOC
Minimum credit scoreNot listed, but most banks require at least a 620 FICO score
APR rangeVariable: 3.99% to 6.84%
Fixed: 4.49% to 7.34%
Repayment termsDraw: 10 years
Repayment: 15 years
Loan limits$25,000 to $500,000
State availabilityOnly available in: AZ, CA, ID, IL, KS, MO, OR, PA, SC, WA

Our take on BECU

BECU’s HELOC is best for borrowers with at least 15% to 20% of equity in their homes and want a revolving line of credit to tap into over 10 years instead of a lump sum loan. Unlike some HELOC lenders, BECU offers both the traditional variable-rate option and the ability to draw larger sums into a fixed-rate advance.

To take advantage of the fixed rate, you need to draw a minimum of $5,000 up to the maximum of your credit line. The amount of the line that you “fix” is converted into a fixed-term loan with a repayment period of 15 years.

The interest rate on BECU’s fixed advances starts at 4.49% as of May 2022. While this is higher than BECU’s and other lenders’ introductory variable rates, it guarantees a fixed monthly payment that isn’t affected by interest rate fluctuations.

The biggest obstacle to taking advantage of this product is the credit union’s limited membership requirements. Also, customer reviews of BECU lean towards the negative, with many online reviewers complaining about poor banking service.

However, the loan officer I spoke to seemed willing to work with less-than-stellar credit. If BECU doesn’t have what you need, compare more HELOC lenders to find the right fit.

Pros

  • No upfront bank fees. BECU doesn’t charge the normal lender fees, such as application, origination, appraisal or title fees.
  • Low minimum draw amount. Withdraw as little as $100.
  • Fixed-rate option. If you want to draw a large sum of $5,000 or more, take it as a fixed-rate advance with a locked interest rate to save you money if interest rates increase before the repayment period.

Cons

  • Limited availability. BECU is only available to residents of Washington state and select counties in Idaho and Oregon. The credit union also provides services to Boeing employees in South Carolina.
  • Strict membership requirements. You must meet the credit union’s membership eligibility rules and open a Member Advantage, Member Share or Early Saver savings account just to apply for a HELOC.

What types of home equity products does BECU offer?

BECU only offers a variable-rate home equity line of credit (HELOC) but with a fixed-rate option built in. Once you’re approved for your HELOC, you can choose to take out lump sums of $5,000 or more as fixed-rate advances.

You’re allowed up to three active advance subaccounts at once, and you can select your own term to pay them off, up to 15 years. And you don’t have to pay a fee to take the advance or to pay it off early.

BECU’s fees are similar to other lenders

BECU doesn’t charge any of the normal lender fees associated with home equity products and even covers the cost of attorney fees in South Carolina, where an attorney is required. You also pay no maintenance fees, and there aren’t any costs associated with taking a fixed-rate advance.

Under normal circumstances, the only fee you’ll face from BECU is after the HELOC is paid off — a reconveyance fee to remove BECU from the lien on your title which typically costs from $125 to $235. You might also have to pay third-party fees, such as state and local mortgage taxes and recording fees, which BECU estimates could range from $150 to $775.

These fees are subject to change, so check your loan agreement to make sure you have the most up-to-date numbers to avoid any surprises.

BECU reviews lean negative

BBB rating A+
Trustpilot rating Poor
Customer reviews verified as of 16 May 2022

BECU is accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has an A+ rating for how it has handled multiple customer complaints over the last three years. However, customers on the BBB site and Trustpilot give the company a less favorable rating, complaining about poor service and the inability to set up basic services like autopay online.

More happy customers praise BECU’s customer service and smooth loan processes but complain of having trouble resolving fraudulent charges and the difficulty working with the bank when the customer lives far away from a physical branch. Overall, the reviews are mixed and lean towards the negative. But these reviews are for the bank as a whole, not just the lending department.

BECU requirements are tighter than other lenders

BECU doesn’t list its requirements to qualify for a HELOC, but you must be a member of the credit union to access your credit line. You must meet one of the following membership requirements:

  • Live in Washington state or one of the select counties in Idaho or Oregon.
  • Be a civilian or federal employee, volunteer or retiree of Boeing Company, BECU or any other credit union.
  • Be a member, employee or volunteer of the University of Washington or Washington State University alumni associations, the NW Credit Union Foundation or KEXP.

    How to get a HELOC with BECU

    You don’t need to be a member to apply for a HELOC on the phone or in person, but you need to be eligible because you must open an account to access your funds if you’re approved. To apply online, you must have an existing account or open a new one.

    1. Go to the BECU HELOC page, select Apply Now and choose whether you are an existing customer or need to create a new account.
    2. Create an account by choosing your eligibility and entering your personal information, selecting Next at the end of each page.
    3. Choose the account type you want to open and fund your account. BECU doesn’t require a minimum balance to open the account, so this step is optional. But some savings accounts require a monthly transaction to stay open.
    4. Confirm your details and sign in to your online banking account.
    5. Apply for a HELOC through your online banking portal.

    Documents you’ll need

    You must have access to the following information before you apply:

    • Income and employment information
    • An estimate of your home’s value
    • Information about your coapplicant if applicable, such as Social Security number, date of birth, contact information and a valid state-issued photo ID.

    Other loans from BECU

    In addition to home equity products, BECU offers the following home loans:

    • Conventional
    • FHA
    • VA
    • Jumbo
    • First-time home buyer loans
    • Home improvement loans
    • Mortgage refinance

    Compare interest rates for home equity loans, HELOCs and cash-out refinancing

    Use our tool to get personalized estimated rates from top lenders based on your location and financial details. Select whether you’re looking for a Home Equity Loan, HELOC or Cash-Out Refinance.

    If you selected a home equity loan or HELOC, enter your ZIP code, credit score and information about your current home to see your personalized rates.

    In the Cash-Out Refinance tab, select Refinance and enter your ZIP code, credit score and other property details to see what you might qualify for.

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