U.S. Bank: Review on Home Equity Loans and HELOCs

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Good for wide nationwide availability
U.S. Bank
U.S. Bank
Good for wide nationwide availability
U.S. Bank
  • Products offered:
    Home equity loan, HELOC, rate-lock HELOC
  • Home equity loan terms:
    Up to 30 years
  • HELOC terms:
    10-year draw period, unspecified repayment period
  • Maximum LTV allowed:
    80%

NextAdvisor’s Take

Pros
  • Rate discount for setting up autopay from a U.S. Bank checking or savings account (home equity loans only)
  • Extensive availability nationwide (47 states for both home equity loans and HELOCs)
  • Can apply online, over the phone, or in person at a branch
  • Good price transparency
  • Many customer support options
Cons
  • There may be an annual fee for HELOCs if you don’t have a U.S. Bank Platinum Checking Package
  • Not available in TX, DE, SC
  • Potential early closure fee if you close your HELOC within 30 months of opening
The Bottom Line

Based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S. Bank is the fifth largest banking institution in the U.S. It offers both home equity loans and HELOCs in 47 states, with the option of interest-only HELOCs  available to qualified borrowers. You also have the option to lock all or part of your outstanding HELOC balance into a fix-rate option during your draw period. Available loan amounts for HELOCs and home equity loans range from $15,000 to $750,000, and up to $1 million for properties in California.

There are no closing costs on home equity loans or HELOCs from U.S. Bank, but you’ll be charged an early closure fee of 1% of the line amount ($500 max) if you close your HELOC within 30 months of opening. In addition, HELOC borrowers may be charged an annual fee of up to $90, which can be waived with a U.S. Bank Platinum Checking Package. U.S. Bank offers a rate discount of 0.5% for home equity loan borrowers who set up automatic payments from a U.S. Bank personal checking or savings account.

You can apply for a home equity loan or HELOC through an online application, by phone, or by visiting a U.S. Bank branch in person. If you want a loan estimate for a home equity loan — which includes the estimated interest rate, monthly payment, and total closing costs — without completing a full application, you can get one by speaking with a banker over the phone. 

We like U.S. Bank because of its extensive nationwide availability, many customer support options, and excellent price transparency — meaning you can get a personalized rate quote and fee information just by filling out some basic information, no credit check required. 

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.

U.S. Bank Full Review

The fifth-largest banking institution in the country, U.S. Bank offers both home equity loans and lines of credit (HELOCs) to homeowners looking to borrow against the equity in their home. This Minnesota-based bank has near nationwide availability, funding home equity products in every state except for Texas, Delaware, and South Carolina. Thanks to its extensive availability, various customer support options, and excellent price transparency, U.S. Bank tops our list of the best home equity loan and HELOC lenders. 

U.S. Bank: Home Equity Loan Products

U.S. Bank offers both home equity loans and HELOCs to qualifying homeowners. Home equity loans offer a lump sum upfront, whereas HELOCs are lines of credit that you can draw on as needed. Through U.S. Bank, you can borrow between $15,000 and $750,000, or up to $1 million in California. The maximum loan-to-value ratio, or the amount of loan you can borrow compared to your home’s value, is 80%. 

U.S. Bank offers fixed rates on home equity loans with repayment terms up to 30 years. Its HELOCs have variable rates, but you can opt to lock in a fixed rate before the end of your draw period, which spans 10 years. You can also request an interest-only HELOC, which means you’ll only have to pay back the interest during your draw period. At the end of the interest-only period, you’ll have to start paying both the principal and interest. 

U.S. Bank does not charge closing costs on home equity loans or HELOCs, though you could be charged an early closure fee of 1% (up to $500) if you pay off your HELOC early. The bank defines early as within 30 months of opening the HELOC. HELOC borrowers may also have to pay an annual fee of up to $90 unless they hold a U.S. Bank Platinum Checking Package. The bank offers a 0.50 percentage point rate cut if you set up autopay on your home equity loan or HELOC from a U.S. Bank personal checking or savings account.

U.S. Bank: Home Loans Rate and Fee Transparency

U.S. Bank clearly shares information about rates, fees, and terms. At the time of writing, U.S. Bank offers rates starting at 6.85% APR or 6.90% APR on home equity loans and rates of between 6.45% APR and 10.85% APR on HELOCs. Rates are subject to change at any time. The rate you get will depend on when you apply, your credit, the loan term you select, your loan-to-value ratio, and other factors. 

U.S. Bank allows you to check rates online with no impact on your credit score in a process known as prequalification. After providing some basic information, you can get a personalized rate quote. Alternatively, you can speak with a banker over the phone for a loan estimate, which will include your estimated interest rate, monthly payment, and total closing costs, if any. 

When lenders offer prequalification, homeowners can more easily compare their options and make better borrowing decisions. Plus, you can compare your monthly payments and long-term costs, which gives you a fuller picture of the costs of a loan than the interest rate alone. After all, high fees can offset a low rate, making a seemingly affordable loan more expensive than it appears at first glance.  

U.S. Bank offers a variety of customer support channels, including phone, web chat, and both in-person and virtual appointments. You can apply for a home equity loan or HELOC online, over the phone, or in-person. U.S. Bank has more than 2,000 branches across the country. 

U.S. Bank Compared to Other Home Equity Lenders

U.S. Bank PNC BankTD Bank
HELOC Variable rate HELOC, rate lock HELOC, interest-only HELOC Fixed rate HELOC, variable rate HELOC HELOC, interest-only HELOC, rate-lock HELOC
Home Equity Loan Yes, 30 years NoYes
States Available47 (not available in Texas, Delaware, or South Carolina)44 states (not available in Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Nevada, Mississippi, South Dakota)15 states 
Loan Amount Range$15,000 – $750,000 (or up to $1 million in California)$10,000 – $1 millionLoans start at $10,000, HELOCs start at $25,000
HELOC Loan Terms10-year draw period; repayment term unspecified Repayment period of 5 – 30 years (5 – 20 years in Tennessee)10-year draw period, 20-year repayment period 
Max LTV80%89.9% (80% or 85% in some states)89.99%
Data in table accurate as of October 4, 2022

How to Get the Best Home Equity or HELOC Rate  

There are many financial institutions offering home equity loans and HELOCs, including banks, credit unions, and online lenders. By exploring your options, you can find a loan product with the lowest costs of borrowing. Here are some tips for finding the best rate and picking the right lender for you. 

Compare Products Offered 

Make sure you understand the difference between a HELOC and a home equity loan. A HELOC is a line of credit that you can draw on as you need and pay off as you go. Some homeowners set up a HELOC even before they need it, so they have quick cash to fall back on in the event of an emergency (although you may need to pay an annual fee to keep it active). 

A home equity loan, on the other hand, works like any other installment loan. You get a lump sum amount upfront and pay it back on a monthly basis at a fixed interest rate. A home equity loan might be preferable if you know the costs of your project upfront and want to work a fixed monthly bill into your budget. Not all lenders offer both HELOCs and home equity loans, so knowing which one you want can help you narrow down your list of options. 

Prequalify With Multiple Lenders 

When you’re shopping for a home loan, checking your rates with at least three lenders can save you thousands of dollars on your mortgage, according to research by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The same advice applies to borrowing a home equity loan or HELOC — shop around with multiple lenders to find the best rate. 

Many lenders let you prequalify and check your estimated rates with no obligation or impact on your credit score. By taking advantage of this prequalification, you can compare multiple offers in the hopes of finding the best one. Putting in the legwork to shop around could help you find the best deal (and lowest rate) on a home equity loan or HELOC. 

Only Borrow What You Need 

While lenders may let you borrow up to 80% or 90% of the value of your home, you don’t need to max out your available equity. Any time you’re taking on debt, it’s a good idea to borrow only what you need and no more. If you over-borrow, you could end up with burdensome debt that’s difficult to pay back. Over-borrowing against your home is especially risky, because failing to pay back your loan could result in losing your home to foreclosure. If home values drop and you want to sell, you could find yourself underwater, or owing more on your home than it’s worth.  

Estimate Your Costs 

To avoid overborrowing, estimate the monthly and long-term costs of a home equity loan or HELOC before borrowing. Use a home equity calculator to see your monthly payments and interest charges. Ask the lender to provide you with a full estimate of all your costs, including any fees that you need to know about. Make sure you know exactly what you’ll be getting into before you sign on the dotted line. 

Improve Your Credit Score

The interest rate you get depends on a variety of factors, with one of the most important being your credit score. Borrowers with the best credit tend to get the lowest rates, resulting in a more affordable loan. On the FICO scoring model, a good credit score starts at 670, a very good score starts at 740, and an exceptional score starts at 800. 

Improving credit can take months to years. You can do so by making on-time payments on debt, paying down your loans, and disputing any errors you find on your credit report. One of the fastest ways to improve your credit score is to reduce your credit utilization ratio, or the amount of credit you’re using compared to what’s available to you. This usually means paying down your credit card balances before your credit card company reports them to the credit bureaus (they usually do this on a monthly basis). 

Improving your credit could help you score a better rate on a HELOC or home equity loan, and pay less in interest.