Citizens Bank: 2022 Home Equity Review

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Citizens Bank serves both individuals and small and large businesses. Known for its diverse workplace, the Providence, Rhode Island-based financial institution says it is committed to contributing to a healthy and thriving community.

Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank offers mobile banking services, online banking and 24/7 customer service by phone. It also has branches in 14 states and the District of Columbia for those who prefer in-person service.

Under his home equity division, Citizens Bank offers two types of home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs: A standard HELOC and the Citizens GoalBuilder HELOC.

Citizens Bank: In brief

Types of loans offered

HELOC

GlobalBuilder HELOC Citizens

APR range

From 6.25%

From 6.25%

Loan amounts

From $17,500

$5,000 to $25,000

Credit score requirements

N / A

N / A

Repayment Terms

10-year drawdown period, 15-year repayment period

10-year drawdown period, 15-year repayment period

Costs

$50 annual fee after the first year

None

Average approval time

Varies, but usually less than 30 days

Varies, but usually less than 30 days

What we like

Two HELOC options: Citizens has both a standard HELOC and the GoalBuilder HELOC for smaller loan amounts if you’re still working on building up equity in your home.

Minimal fees: Citizens waive most or all closing costs for HELOC requests. It also waives the $50 annual fee for the first year, and there is no annual fee for the GoalBuilder HELOC.

Low starting rate: If you play your cards right, the annual percentage rate, or APR, on your HELOC could start as low as 6.25%. The starting interest rates for Citizens HELOCs are quite low thanks to an automatic payment reduction and an excellent credit rating.

What we don’t like

Non-flexible repayment terms: There is only one refund option, so you don’t have the flexibility to choose what works best for you.

Only available in certain states: Citizens Bank only serves eligible properties in 29 states and the District of Columbia. You cannot apply for a HELOC if your property is outside of these states.

Not available for some property types: Mobile homes, manufactured homes, co-ops and investment properties are not eligible for a Citizens HELOC.

Home equity loan options

Citizens Bank’s two HELOC options both have a draw period of 10 years and a redemption period of 15 years. During the draw period, you can borrow as much (or as little) as you need up to your limit. Once you enter the repayment period, your balance will be converted into a monthly principal and interest payment to be repaid over 15 years.

The GoalBuilder HELOC differs from the standard HELOC in that it is designed for people who are still working to build up equity in their home. This HELOC is for smaller amounts (between $5,000 and $25,000), while the standard HELOC offered by citizens allows consumers to borrow larger amounts.

Interest rates for both types of HELOC start at 6.25% APR. To benefit from the lowest rate, one must have rate reductions for using automatic payment and have a Citizens consumer current account.

Costs

You can expect minimal fees with Citizens Bank home equity products. Its standard HELOC has no setup or evaluation fees. The $50 annual fee is also waived the first year. After that, you will be charged the annual fee each year on the anniversary date of your account opening.

There is no annual fee for the Citizens GoalBuilder HELOC.

How to qualify

Citizens Bank looks at three factors to determine if you qualify for a HELOC: credit history, loan-to-value ratio, or LTV, and debt-to-income ratio, or DTI.

While your credit score doesn’t need to be exceptional to qualify for a loan, the better your score, the better your rate. Citizens want to see that you are ready to repay what you owe and make payments on time. Like most lenders, Citizens Bank allows you to have up to 80% LTV. However, this requirement may vary by state.

Your property must also meet a few requirements to qualify. The property must be occupied by you or be a second holiday home. It can’t be an investment property, but it can be a one to four family property as long as you live there. Your property must also be in one of the 29 states and the District of Columbia served by Citizens Bank. Finally, the property cannot currently be for sale and it must be off the market for at least 90 days before you apply for a home equity product from the bank.

Begin

Use the online application or call 888-333-1206 to have a customer service representative walk you through the application process. To apply online, click on the “Apply Now” button. You will then be directed to the online application portal where you will be guided step by step. If you prefer to apply in person, make an appointment at a local branch.

Whether you apply online or in person, make sure you have the necessary information before you begin the application process. You will need personal information including your name, contact details and key information about your property such as address and DTI. You will also need your employment and income information.

Once you submit your application, a home loan originator will contact you within one business day to verify your application details and help you understand the next steps. Once Citizens has reviewed your application, you may need to have your home appraised.

Approval for a HELOC is based on factors such as your credit score, the amount you are requesting, and your ability to repay it. If approved, you can expect to receive your money within 30 days.

Customer service

You can speak with a Citizens Bank Home Equity Advisor over the phone or by visiting a local branch. The bank’s home equity and loan application teams are available by phone at 800-340-5626. Its Consumer Finance Servicing department can be reached at 800-708-6680, Monday through Friday from 4 a.m. to 7 p.m. PT or Saturday and Sunday from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. PT.

To speak to someone at a local branch of Citizens Bank, find the nearest office on their website. It is recommended that you make an appointment to speak with a counselor in person.

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