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Citizens Bank HELOC review

Tap into your equity without paying closing costs or fees.

Citizens Bank offers HELOCs to borrowers in its service area. You won’t pay any closing costs, but as a regional bank, you must reside within the service area to take advantage of its loans and lines of credit.

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Details

Loan products offeredHELOC
APR range2.5% to 21%
Repayment termsHELOC: 10-year draw period, 15-year repayment period
Loan limitsHELOC min: $17,500
GoalBuilder HELOC min: $5,000 and max $25,000
State availabilityCT, DC, DE, FL, IL, IN, KY, MA, MD, ME, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VA, VT

Our take on Citizens Bank HELOC

The Citizen Bank HELOC is an adjustable rate revolving line of credit that can be used for any purpose. It’s best for homeowners who have at least 15% to 20% equity in their primary or secondary homes and want to tap into the value of their equity to fund a range of needs, including home improvements, college tuition or debt consolidation.

While your specific interest rate is based on your credit score, the loan-to-value ratio (LTV) and the amount you’re borrowing, Citizen’s HELOC appears to be competitively priced compared to other lenders. In addition to offering state-specific promotions which could save you between 0.5% and 0.75% off your base rate, there’s also 0.25% rate discount if you make automated payments every month.

But unlike other lenders like PNC Bank, Citizen’s doesn’t allow you to fix — lock in — the interest rate on your HELOC. This means the interest rate will be the prime rate plus any discounts, which can change at any time. However, a Citizen’s loan officer informed us in May 2022 that the company is looking to offer customers the ability to fix the rate on its HELOCs in the future.

Citizens Bank is the 13th-largest bank in the US, offering a range of financial services to millions of customers in the US. However, as regional bank, its products are limited to specific states. And compared to other lenders, customer reviews of Citizens Bank tend to run pretty negative.

Pros and cons of Citizens Bank

Pros

  • No closing costs. Citizens doesn’t charge application fees, closing costs, appraisal fees or setup fees. You only pay a $50 annual fee on your HELOC.
  • Low-limit HELOC option. If you need less than $25,000, Citizens offers the GoalBuilder HELOC, which can help save with lower interest than you’d pay on a normal credit card or personal loan.
  • Choice of payments. With Citizens, you can choose to make interest-only or principal and interest (P&I) payments during the 10-year draw period.

Cons

  • No nontraditional homes. While primary or second residences qualify for a Citizen’s HELOC, you can’t get a HELOC on investment properties, mobile homes, manufactured houses or co-ops.
  • Limited availability. Citizens is a regional bank, which means it only offers home equity products in select states.
  • Negative reviews. Customer reviews of Citizens Bank are overwhelmingly negative on sites like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau.

What types of home equity products does Citizens Bank offer?

Citizens offers two ways to tap into your home’s equity.

  • HELOC. A variable-rate line of credit with a draw period of 10 years and a repayment period of 20 years.
  • GoalBuilder HELOC. A variable-rate line of credit between $5,000 and $25,000 that allows you to draw for 10 years and repay the credit over 15 years with no annual fee and no prepayment penalty.

Citizens Bank’s requirements are about the same as other lenders

This lender doesn’t list specific requirements on its website, but your underwriter will use your credit history, loan-to-value (LTV) ratio and debt-to-income (DTI) ratio to determine whether you qualify for the loan or line of credit and what your rate will be. This is pretty standard compared to other lenders offering HELOCs.

But to get the best rates, Citizens requires the following:

  • A line of credit of $200,000 or more
  • An existing Citizens Bank checking account with automatic monthly payment deduction set up when the loan is originated
  • An LTV of 80% or less
  • A DTI of 65% or less, including your projected HELOC payment
  • A strong credit history

    Citizens’ fees are competitive compared to other lenders

    Like many other home equity lenders, Citizens doesn’t charge any application or origination fees or closing costs on its HELOCs. But unlike other lenders who charge closing costs if you close the line early, we were told that Citizens doesn’t charge any prepayment penalties or early closure fees. However, terms can change — so read over your loan agreement to ensure there aren’t any prepayment penalties.

    Because you can open a Citizens HELOC with no fees or closing costs and pay it off when you want, a Citizens HELOC can be cheaper in the short term compared to other loan options.

    However, you’ll still have to pay a $50 annual fee with a Citizens HELOC, which is waived for the first year. Some lenders charge annual fees and some don’t, but $50 is on par with what other lenders are charging for their annual fees.

    Citizens Bank reviews are overwhelmingly negative

    BBB rating A+
    Trustpilot rating Bad
    Customer reviews verified as of 10 May 2022

    Customer reviews of Citizen Bank on Trustpilot and Yelp are overwhelmingly negative, although the number of reviews are limited to about 200 total as of May 2022. Most complaints report limited online functionality, high fees, problems with the mobile app and inept customer service.

    Citizens Bank has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2019 and earns a A+ business rating for how its handled over 1,000 complaints in the past three years. But it earns a poor customer rating on the BBB site from nearly 200 customers.

    How to get a HELOC with Citizens Bank

    Follow the steps below to start your home equity application online.

    1. On the Citizens Bank website, navigate to the Home Loans tab and select Home Equity Line of Credit.
    2. Select Start Now and follow the prompts to enter your personal and income information. You will need to provide your Social Security number.
    3. Enter information about the property, insurance and taxes.
    4. Answer the disclosure questions.
    5. Review offer details and submit your application. A loan officer will contact you within one business day.

    Documents you’ll need

    Before you apply, you should have the following information available:

    • Employment and income documentation
    • Property details, including mortgage amount, property value and purchase price
    • Homeowners insurance details
    • Property tax information

      Other mortgage products Citizens Bank offers

      In addition to home equity, Citizens Bank offers the following mortgage products:

      • Conventional loans
      • FHA loans
      • VA loans
      • Jumbo loans
      • Construction-to-permanent loan
      • Refinance loans
      • Small business loans
      • Commercial loans

      How Citizens Bank’s HELOC compares to other lenders

      Citizens offers a range of mortgage loans plus a line of credit option, which is typical of a bank its size. But the bank also offers the GoalBuilder HELOC, which is designed for homeowners who need to draw a smaller amount of money. Using their home’s equity, they can get a better rate than taking out a personal loan.

      Compare HELOC interest rates

      Use our handy tool to compare estimated rates you might qualify for among top partners in your quest for the strongest HELOC. Select between the Purchase or Refinance options, then enter your ZIP, financial details, property type and other specifics to get personalized rates.

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