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Citizens Bank mortgage review

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Provides detailed information and tools, but only for conventional loans.

Citizens Bank offers many of the traditional mortgage loan products you’d expect from a retail bank, and nice incentives, such as a home loan rewards program and an interest rate discount for banking customers. But its focus appears to be conventional loans, providing very little information and no tools or perks for other loan types, such as government-backed mortgages.

Details

Loan types Adjustable, Fixed, FHA, Jumbo, Refinance, USDA, VA
Other fees Origination fee that includes a processing fee and underwriting fee.
Available States Only available in: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VT
NMLS 433960

Pros

  • Rate discount for bank customers
  • Specialized mortgage options available
  • Calculate your loan rates and fees

Cons

  • Sparse details for certain loan types
  • Lacking customer service
  • Unpopular mobile app
Citizens Bank has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) since 2019. It earns a B rating based in part on its response to nearly 800 complaints as of August 2020, but one star on 135 mostly negative reviews. Complaints are not specific to mortgages, centering on poor customer service, excessive fees and long wait times to resolve account issues. It earns 2.6 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot over only four customer reviews.

What types of mortgage loans does Citizens Bank offer?

Citizens lists only its conventional loans online, so you must contact a rep if you’re interested in a jumbo loan or government-backed loan.

Conventional loans

Citizens offers a 15- or 30-year fixed-rate loan and a fully amortizing adjustable rate mortgage.

FHA loans

If you’re a first-time homeowner or have a low credit score, you may qualify for this government-backed loan.

VA loans

Retired and active-duty military personnel and their spouses are eligible for this loan that offers a lower interest rate, lower down payment and fewer closing costs than traditional loans.

USDA loans

If you’re purchasing in a rural area, you may qualify for a $0-down loan backed by the USDA.

Jumbo loans

If the cost of your home is higher than 2020’s conforming home limit of $484,350 to $510,400, a fixed- or adjustable-rate jumbo loan can help.

Other loans offered by Citizens Bank

Citizens offers loans that can help you build, refinance or borrow against the equity in your home:

  • HELOC. A variable interest rate with flexible payment options, including an interest-only option, with no closing or application fees.
  • Home equity loan. A fixed-rate loan with no closing costs or application fees, and you can choose the term of the loan.
  • Construction-to-permanent loan. Pay only interest during the construction period, and when construction is complete, your loan becomes a traditional mortgage.
  • Refinance loans. Get a 15- or 30-year fixed-rate refinance loan or a 7-year fully amortizing adjustable-rate mortgage.
  • Small business loans. Borrow through various business loans, including lines of credit, equipment loans and SBA loans.
  • Commercial loans. Choose from a full suite of commercial borrowing with short-term revolving loans and long-term options.

Citizens Bank fees

Citizens Bank charges an origination fee that includes a processing fee and underwriting fee. The bank’s site includes a calculator that can help you estimate your costs based on your mortgage details, including the origination fee, plus fees for appraisals, credit reports and titles as well as estimated taxes for a full picture of what your payment might be.

Your Home Rewards program

Citizens offers a rewards program for those buying or selling a home. Sign up to be matched with a real estate agent and mortgage loan officer and, once the sale is complete, you may be able to get back $350 to $6,500, depending on the price of your loan.

You do not need to be an existing Citizens Bank customer to use this program, but the cashback reward is not available in Alaska, Iowa, Louisiana and Missouri due to state laws. The reward may come in the form of a gift card or reduction of real estate agent fees in other states, depending on what local laws allow.

Borrowers with FHA or VA loans aren’t eligible for the program. And you must use the real estate agent assigned to you through Home Rewards to earn the cash back.

Requirements

Citizens Bank does not advertise its loan requirements online, claiming instead that eligibility standards, such as credit scores, change often. To make sure you’re eligible, you must speak to a bank loan expert.

Documentation

Expect to provide personal and financial documents to apply and throughout the homebuying process, including:

  • Government-issued ID, like a passport or driver’s license
  • Birth certificate and Social Security number
  • Pay stubs or other proof of income
  • Recent bank statements
  • Tax returns
  • Account statements for investments and retirement income
  • Your rental lease, sales contract or purchase agreement on a current home
  • Documentation of long-term debts, such as credit cards, car or personal loans and student debt

How to get a home loan with Citizens Bank

Start by completing the prequalification questionnaire online, which assigns you a licensed loan officer as part of the process. After completing the prequalification steps, you can upload your documentation for review by Citizen’s loan team.

  1. Go to the Citizens Bank mortgages page and select Apply Now.
  2. Create an account with an email and password.
  3. Note the name and contact information of the Citizens Bank loan officer in your area and select Continue.
  4. Select whether you’re purchasing a new property or refinancing your home.
  5. Enter your personal information and select Continue.
  6. Enter information about the type of property you’re purchasing, your real estate agent and other personal information. Select Continue.
  7. Enter information about your assets and income, the property you’re purchasing, your financial circumstances and demographics.
  8. Confirm your details and submit your application.

Pros and cons of Citizens Bank

Pros

  • Rate discount for bank customers. If you have a Citizens checking account, you may be eligible for a 0.125% interest rate discount.
  • Specialized mortgage options available. Citizens offers programs like the Doctor Loan Mortgage Program with specialized terms for medical professionals, plus the Construction-to-Permanent loan that allows you to make interest-only payments while your house is being built.
  • Calculate your loan rates and fees. Use the calculator to plug in more specific information and get quotes that show what your interest rate could be for various loans, along with potential fees and an estimate of your mortgage payment.

Cons

  • Sparse details for certain loan types. The bank doesn’t disclose loan, documentation or other requirements for such options as high-dollar or government-backed loans. For that, you need to speak with a rep.
  • Lacking customer service. Reps are licensed, but when we reached out, we were told they couldn’t answer even basic questions about the bank’s loans. Instead, we’d have to wait to be contacted by a loan officer.
  • Unpopular mobile app. You can manage your mortgage through the free Citizens One Home Loans app. But customers rate it less than 2 stars out of 5 on both the Apple Store and Google Play, complaining of poor design and multiple errors.
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What is Citizens Bank?

Citizens Bank is the 13th-largest retail bank in North America with over $1 billion in assets on its own. With almost 150 years in business, parent company Citizens Financial Group has over $176 billion in assets.

The bank supports 1,000 bank branches in 11 states:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont

How is Citizens One related to Citizens Bank?

Citizens One is the online-only banking division under the Citizens Financial Group, offering banking services to customers outside the areas covered by Citizens Bank, which is the retail division. The divisions seem to share a customer service phone center, which answers as Citizens One, but have separate websites. If the Citizens Bank website detects you live outside its service area, it redirects you to the Citizens One site and doesn’t allow you to use the Citizens Bank online quote tool or walk through the application process.

January 2020 CFPB lawsuit

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau filed a lawsuit against Citizens Bank in January 2020 that claims the bank violated the Truth in Lending Act for failing to properly deal with billing errors and unauthorized use of customer credit cards. The CFPB is asking for an injunction and financial penalties as a result. The bank is challenging the claims.

Expert review

Heather Petty

Review by


Heather Petty is a writer at Finder specializing in banking, investments and insurance. She's a self-proclaimed word nerd who worked as a technical writer and editor for the casino systems industry and is an internationally published young adult mystery author. Heather earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Nevada, Reno.

Expert review

Citizen Bank’s longevity, discounts and rewards program make it a strong contender, especially if you’re looking for a conventional loan in one of the states it services. But a lack of online details for loan products beyond conventional mortgages, as well as poor customer reviews, may provide room to pause. Before signing up with Citizens, compare multiple mortgage lenders to find one that’s right for your budget and goals.

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