Bank of America mortgage review
This lender offers low down payment loans, but customer reviews are negative.
finder.com’s rating: 3.9 / 5.0
As one of the largest banks in the US, Bank of America offers competitive mortgage rates and multiple loans — including a loan where you can put down as little as 3%. But its size can cause customer service hiccups.
|Loan products offered||Conventional, Jumbo, FHA, VA, Home Equity/HELOC, Refinance|
|Minimum credit score||Conventional: 620|
|Minimum down payment (Conventional)||3%|
|State availability||Available in all states|
Our take on Bank of America mortgage
Bank of America (BofA) mortgage offers competitive mortgage rates, a range of mortgage loans and branches across the country. With over $2 trillion in assets, a BofA mortgage might be best for people who like the comfort of banking with a well-known institution with deep pockets.
It also offers the convenience of keeping your mortgage, bank accounts and investment accounts together at one institution. While convenient, BofA’s large size could come at the cost of more personalized service you might find with smaller lenders.
And more importantly, if ethical banking practices are important to you, you’ll want to look elsewhere. BoA has an extremely high volume of complaints compared to other lenders, hundreds of negative customer service reviews and some concerning history with the Department of Justice.
Bank of America requirements
To qualify for a mortgage with Bank of America, you’ll need a minimum credit score of 620 for Conventional mortgage loans or 600 for FHA loans and a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 43%.
The down payment depends on the loan type, but you can put down as little as 3% through the Affordable Loan Solution program.
You’ll need to provide:
- Pay stubs from the past 30 days
- W-2s for the past two years
- Bank statements for all financial accounts, including investments, for the past two months
- Tax returns
- A copy of the signed purchase and sales agreement
- A profit/loss statement for the most recent quarter or year to date if you’re self-employed
Costs and fees
Bank of America says nothing about its fees online, but you can expect to pay these closing costs:
- Appraisal fee
- Credit report fee
- Title insurance fee
- Recording fee
- Inspection fee
- Origination fee
These fees can be hefty. If you’re a Preferred Rewards customer, you may qualify for a $200 to $600 discount on your origination fee. The discount you get is based on the account balances of your Bank of America deposit and investment accounts at the time of application and your Preferred Rewards tier (Gold, Platinum or Platinum Honors).
How to apply for a mortgage with Bank of America
You can apply for a mortgage in person, over the phone or online through the Bank of America Digital Mortgage Experience. The application takes around 30 minutes to complete.
To apply online:
- From the Bank of America mortgages website, select Get Started.
- You’ll be asked if you want to Buy a Home or Refinance Your Existing Home. For this example, choose I want to buy a home.
- Indicate whether you’re under contract for a property or hoping to prequalify.
- Sign in if you’re a customer. Otherwise, choose Continue to create an account.
- Step through personal questions about you and your current living situation.
- Enter the information about either the house you’re contracted to purchase or the area where you are looking for a house.
- Choose whether to allow BoA to enter your income information or to enter it manually.
- Enter information about your assets and answer regulatory questions.
- Agree to run your credit report and view the results.
- View your loan options and submit your application.
What types of mortgages can I get through Bank of America?
Refinance options available through Bank of America
- Cash-out refinance. Replace your current mortgage with a loan for more than you owe, allowing you to take the difference in cash.
- Rate and term refinance. Lock in a fixed rate if your original loan was an ARM or change the term of your loan to either pay off your loan more quickly or lower your payments with a longer term.
Other specialty loans
- Home equity loan. A home equity loan allows you to borrow a lump sum against the value of your home.
- HELOC. A home equity line of credit (HELOC) allows you to draw from your home’s value as needed, similar to a credit card.
- Affordable Loan Solution mortgage. Bank of America’s Affordable Loan Solution is available for as little is 3% down with no mortgage insurance to homebuyers who meet the income requirements.
Bank of America reviews and complaints
Bank of America has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 1949, boasting an A+ rating for its operations after closing over 6,000 customer complaints over the last three years.
However, it falls short in the customer service department, earning slightly over a 1-star rating from 614 customer reviews. It’s a similar story on Trustpilot, where the bank has a 1.4 rating based on 1,257 reviews as of June 2022. While customers praised the savvy online experience and diversity of mortgage products, many were frustrated with the service they received.
It’s worth noting that these consumer reviews are for Bank of America as a whole — and not specifically for its mortgages.
Pros and cons of Bank of America
- Accessibility. Bank of America originates loans and has branches in all 50 states. If there’s no loan officer available at your branch, the bank has in-house video conferencing.
- Low interest rates. Comparatively, Bank of America charges lower rates on the most popular mortgage products. Get a custom rate online too.
- Alternative credit data. For some loans, the lender will accept rent and utility statements.
- Discounts for existing clients. Preferred Rewards clients may qualify for a $200 to $600 discount on their origination fees.
- High volume of consumer complaints. Most of the complaints online point to customer service issues.
- Less personalized approach. Bank of America has thousands of branches across the country, which makes it convenient but means you may not get the same level of customized care.
- Limited coverage in the Midwest. Its physical presence is concentrated along the East and West Coasts.
- History of irresponsible mortgage lending. The bank has been fined for past financial fraud.
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What is Bank of America?
Bank of America is one of the country’s four biggest banks, offering mortgage products along with banking and investing accounts.
But it’s been involved in several scandals. In 2014, the bank was fined over $16 billion by the Justice Department for financial fraud, in large part because of how it handled mortgages. At the time, it was the largest settlement with a company in American history.
In a separate case, Bank of America was fined $1.27 billion for mortgage fraud, but the charge was thrown out after the bank appealed the ruling.
And in 2017, a judge fined Bank of America $45 million for it’s “heartless” treatment after it improperly foreclosed on a couple’s home and evicted them with only three days’ notice.
Historical mortgage data for Bank of America
All numbers based on 2019 nationwide data from the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act.
|Loan type||Applications denied||Loans originated||$ Amount (originated loans)|
Alternatives to Bank of America mortgage
Bank of America’s mortgage offers a wide range of loan products, including specialty loans and doctor loans, plus fee discounts and down payment and closing cost grants. It also has home equity loans and HELOCs. The only government-backed loans it doesn’t originate are USDA loans.
But thousands of negative customer reviews and complaints haunt BofA. If you prefer a lender with a history of happier customers, we suggest Guaranteed Rate, Draper & Kramer Mortgage or North American Savings Bank. These lenders offer a range of loan products and have overwhelmingly positive customer reviews.
Alternatively, if you want a fully digital mortgage process without any loan origination fees, consider Better or Beeline. Both offer online applications to fill out 24/7 for a fast preapproval decision on your loan — so you can start house shopping right away.
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Frequently asked questions
What other loan products does Bank of America offer?
In addition to mortgages, the bank offers credit cards, auto loans and small business loans.
Do I need to get a home appraisal?
Yes. The appraisal is a key part of your mortgage application. Bank of America will organize the appraisal via a third-party vendor.
How do I make additional payments to the principal of my loan?
When you make your monthly mortgage payment, you can pay a little extra and apply that amount to your principal. Before doing this, double-check that your loan carries no prepayment penalty.
What happens if I can’t make a mortgage payment?
Call Bank of America at 800-451-6262 as soon as possible to learn about your options. Agents are available from Monday to Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET.
What housing assistance does Bank of America offer?
Bank of America has a few programs to help potential homebuyers. These include down payment and closing cost assistance programs, employer-assisted housing programs and mortgage credit certificates. To find out more, make an appointment with a loan specialist.
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