PNC Bank: Review on Home Equity Loans and HELOCs

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Good for HELOCs with longer repayment periods
PNC Bank
PNC Bank
Editor’s Score: (3.8/5)
Good for HELOCs with longer repayment periods
PNC Bank
Editor’s Score: (3.8/5)
  • Products offered:
    HELOC, rate-lock HELOC
  • Home equity loan terms:
    N/A
  • HELOC terms:
    10-year draw period, 30-year repayment period
  • Maximum LTV:
    89.90%

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Variable and fixed-rate HELOC options
  • 30-year repayment period on HELOC
  • Option to choose a custom loan term
  • User-friendly website
Cons
  • Don’t offer home equity loans
  • $50 annual fee on HELOCs
The Bottom Line

PNC Bank is the sixth-largest bank in the U.S. by consolidated assets, according to the Federal Reserve. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, PNC serves 44 states. Though the bank does not offer home equity loans, it offers both variable-rate HELOCs and fixed-rate HELOCs. You can even switch between variable and fixed-rate interest over the course of your draw period. Another benefit of a PNC HELOC is that the repayment period is 30 years, unlike most other lenders who have 20 year terms. A longer payment period generally means lower monthly payments (but more interest paid in the long run), which can be beneficial to those who want to borrow large amounts. Line amounts from $10,000 to $1,000,000 are available on a PNC HELOC.

PNC offers a 0.25% interest rate discount to borrowers who set up and maintain automatic payments from a qualifying PNC checking account. There is a $50 annual fee for HELOC borrowers, except in Texas. 

The PNC website is user-friendly, giving customers the ability to estimate their home equity with an easy-to-use calculator. It also provides several useful graphics and videos to help borrowers better understand how their HELOCs work. PNC allows potential borrowers to see their rate and term options early on in the application process, indicating good price transparency. PNC also gives customers the option to choose a custom loan term. 

We like PNC Bank because its application is straightforward and the bank is very transparent about its rates, fees, and terms without requiring a credit check. Though PNC doesn’t don’t offer home equity loans at all, its wide nationwide availability for HELOCs is noteworthy.

EDITORIAL INDEPENDENCE

As with all of our home equity loan and home equity line of credit (HELOC) lender reviews, our analysis is not influenced by any partnerships or advertising relationships. For more information about our scoring methodology, click here.

PNC Bank Full Review 

The sixth-largest bank in the U.S., PNC Bank offers a home equity line of credit (HELOC) to homeowners across 44 states. You can choose between a variable and fixed interest rate or even switch between the two during your draw period. PNC Bank makes it easy to check your HELOC rates online early in the application process. While the bank doesn’t offer a home equity loan, its flexible HELOC options may be worth exploring if you’re looking to borrow against the equity of your home. 

PNC Bank: Home Equity Loan Products

PNC Bank offers both fixed-rate and variable-rate HELOCs between $10,000 and $1,000,000. You’ll only pay interest on the amount you borrow. 

You have the option of switching from a variable rate to a fixed rate on all or part of your balance during the draw period. This flexibility could be helpful if you want to lock in a low rate before market conditions change. 

PNC Bank charges a $100 fee each time a fixed-rate part of your HELOC is established or unlocked. HELOC borrowers also have to pay an annual fee of $50, with the exception of Texas residents.  

A PNC Bank HELOC allows you to borrow up to 89.9% of the fair market value of your home, depending on where you live. Note that some states cap the loan-to-value ratio at 80% or 85%. 

If you’re a PNC Bank customer and set up and maintain automatic payments from your PNC checking account, you can enjoy a 0.25% interest rate discount. PNC also sometimes offers cash incentives. At the time of writing, for instance, PNC Bank has a $150 cash offer for homeowners who open a line of credit of at least $75,000 during a specified time frame. 

PNC Bank: Rate and Fee Transparency on Home Loans

You can find a good deal of information about PNC’s HELOC product on the bank’s website. The user-friendly site shares information on the HELOC application process and offers a calculator so homeowners can estimate their HELOC costs. 

The HELOC application only takes about 15 minutes, and you can see your rates and terms early in the process. Plus, customers have the option of choosing a custom loan term between five and 30 years (some other lenders only offer up to 20 years). 

Finally, PNC Bank is transparent about its fees, including fixed-rate lock fee of $100 and annual fee of $50. However, the bank doesn’t share its range of HELOC interest rates or APRs, but you can start the application process without a credit check to see your potential rate. 

As you shop around for a HELOC, remember that a line of credit with the lowest interest rate isn’t necessarily the most affordable one. High fees can offset interest savings, so make sure to take the total costs of borrowing into account when you select a lender. 

PNC Bank Compared to Other Home Equity Lenders

PNC BankU.S. BankTD Bank
HELOC Fixed rate HELOC, Variable rate HELOC Variable rate HELOC, Rate-lock HELOCInterest-only HELOC, Rate-lock HELOC
Home Equity Loan NoYesYes
States Available44 states (not available in Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Nevada, Mississippi, South Dakota)47 states​​15 states 
Loan Amount Range$10,000 – $1,000,000$15,000 – $750,000 (up to $1,000,000 for properties in California)Loans start at $10,000HELOCs start at $25,000
HELOC Loan TermsRepayment period of 5 – 30 years (5 – 20 years in Tennessee)10-year draw period; repayment period unspecified10-year draw period20-year repayment period 
Max LTV89.9% (80% or 85% in some states)80%89.99%
Data in table accurate as of August 19, 2022

How to Get the Best Home Equity or HELOC Rate  

With the variety of home equity lenders jockeying for your business, it can be tough to select the right HELOC or home equity loan for you. Here are some tips to help you find the best rate. 

Compare Products Offered 

Before you borrow money against your home equity, make sure you understand the differences between a HELOC and a home equity loan. A HELOC is a line of credit that you can draw on as needed and repay as you go. A home equity loan, on the other hand, works like an installment loan. You get a lump sum upfront and pay it back with fixed monthly payments over time. 

A home equity loan might be preferable if you know the exact amount of funding you need upfront, while a HELOC could be better if you need greater flexibility. If either option could work, you might opt for the one with the better rate. Just keep in mind that many HELOCs start with variable rates, which could rise over time. Some lenders do offer the option of swapping out the variable rate for a fixed rate, but you’ll need to find out how this works and if it comes with a fee. 

Some lenders offer both HELOCs and home equity loans, while others offer one or the other. Determining which type of product you want can help you narrow down your options. 

Shop for Multiple Lenders 

Before borrowing a loan, it’s always a good idea to shop around. By comparing loan offers from multiple lenders, you can find one with the most appealing rates and terms. You’re under no obligation to borrow from a lender just because you checked your rates, nor do you need to let a lender know that you’re shopping around. 

While you compare your options, keep in mind that any hard inquiries could ding your credit score by a few points. Try to keep your applications to a 45-day window to protect your credit

Estimate Your Costs 

As you compare loan offers, use a HELOC or home equity loan calculator to compare your costs of borrowing. With a calculator, you can get a sense of your monthly payments and long-term interest charges. Don’t forget to take fees into account, too. 

Although one loan might have a lower rate than another, it could cost more overall if the lender charges hefty fees. Consider the interest rate, fees, and repayment terms so you can compare loan offers on an apples-to-apples basis. 

Only Borrow What You Need 

Many home equity lenders let you borrow up to 80% to 90% of the available equity in your home. But even if a certain loan amount is available to you, that doesn’t mean you should max it out. Overborrowing can be risky, since you risk damaging your credit or even losing your home if you can’t pay back your loan or line of credit. 

Make sure you have a repayment strategy in place before you borrow, and avoid taking on more debt than you can reasonably afford to pay back each month. 

Improve Your Credit Score

Borrowers with the best credit scores tend to get the lowest rates on loans, including HELOCs and home equity loans. To make yourself a competitive borrower, spend some time working on your credit score before you apply. Making on-time payments on your loans and credit cards, lowering your credit utilization ratio, and paying down debt can all help your credit

You might also work on lowering your debt-to-income (DTI) ratio by reducing your debt or increasing your income. Although your DTI ratio doesn’t directly impact your credit score, it’s another factor that lenders consider when evaluating your application for a loan. Going into the process with strong credit and a low DTI ratio can help you score the best rates