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BMO Harris Bank: 2024 Home Equity Review

If you're looking for a home equity loan or HELOC and have a solid credit score, this bank offers competitive rates.

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BMO Harris Bank

BMO Harris Bank

Products offered
Home equity loan, HELOC, interest-only HELOC, rate-lock HELOC
Home equity loan: From 8.84%; HELOC: From 8.34% (see website for introductory rates)
Min. credit score
700 for home equity loans, 650 for HELOCs
Contact information
Call 888-340-2265

Founded in Canada, BMO Harris Bank now serves customers throughout North America. Though it doesn’t rank as one of the 10 biggest banks in the US, BMO Harris has over 500 branches in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. 

BMO Harris offers home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), as well as personal loans, savings and checking accounts. Its products and services are available online, through the company’s mobile app and in person at its branches.

BMO Harris made our list of the best lenders for home equity loans and HELOCs because of its minimal fees, range of product offerings and introductory rate discounts.

BMO Harris Bank: At a glance

Types of loans offeredHome equity loan, HELOC, interest-only HELOC, rate-lock HELOC
APR rangeHome equity loan: From 8.84%
HELOC: From 8.34% (check website for introductory rates)
Loan amountsFrom $25,000
Credit score minimumHome equity loan: 700
HELOC: 650
Repayment termsHome equity loan: Five to 20 years
HELOC: 10-year draw period, 20-year repayment period
Average time for approvalN/A
Rates as of April 2, 2024

BMO Harris Bank’s home equity products are best suited to borrowers with high credit scores who are looking to avoid fees. Applicants with average credit scores may find less to like and may not qualify. Here’s an overview of the major pros and cons:


  • Fees are covered: As long as you keep your loan or line of credit open for at least 36 months, BMO Harris will cover most of the closing costs and fees associated with opening a loan.

  • Ways to save: You can knock 0.50% off your interest rate when you set up autopay from a BMO Harris checking account. The bank also has introductory rate offers on its HELOCs.

  • Broad nationwide availability: BMO Harris offers home equity loans and HELOCs in every state except New York and Texas.


  • High credit score minimums: BMO Harris Bank’s home equity products cater to customers with good credit scores (650 and up for home equity loans, 700 and up for HELOCs). If you have a lower score, you may not qualify.

  • Property must be owner-occupied: BMO Harris requires you to live at the property full time. You can’t apply for a HELOC or home equity loan on an investment property or second home.

  • Many states without branches: BMO Harris has more than 500 branches but they’re spread throughout just eight states: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin. However, you can still apply for a loan from the company if you live in another state.

Home equity loan product options

Home equity loan: Homeowners can borrow a large amount of money -- starting at $25,000 -- at a fixed interest rate with a BMO Harris home equity loan. Borrowers must have a minimum credit score of 700 and a maximum loan-to-value ratio, or LTV, or 80%.

HELOC: HELOCs from BMO Harris have a 10-year draw period and 20-year repayment period. BMO Harris allows HELOC borrowers to have a maximum LTV of 80% and a minimum credit score of 650. 

Interest-only HELOC: Borrowers also have the option to make interest-only payments during their HELOC’s draw period. This offer is only available on variable-rate HELOCs. 

Rate-lock HELOC: BMO Harris’s rate-lock HELOC allows you to lock in a fixed rate on a portion of or all of your loan balance. It can’t be used for amounts below $2,000. A $75 fee applies each time you convert a portion of your loan balance to a fixed rate. The bank requires you to make principal and interest payments during this time.


MO Harris Bank will cover most closing costs, including the appraisal, credit report, flood determination, title insurance and taxes. It will only do so for home equity loans and HELOCs on owner-occupied properties, however, accommodating up to four families.

There are a few fees you’ll need to pay. A HELOC will include a $75 annual fee for the first nine years your account is open. For both HELOCs and home equity loans, you may be required to pay a closing cost recoupment fee if you close your account in less than 36 months. You may also be on the hook for real estate taxes or prior lien release fees, if applicable.

How to qualify

For both HELOCs and home equity loans, BMO Harris will require information about your income, debt, home equity and credit history. 

You’ll need at least a 700 credit score to qualify for one of its home equity loans. The threshold for a HELOC is lower, but not by much -- at least 650. For both home equity loans and HELOCs, BMO Harris requires you to have at least 20% equity (or an LTV of 80%) in your house in order to qualify. 

Another major requirement is that you live at the property. Second homes and investment properties don’t qualify for HELOCs or home equity loans from BMO Harris Bank.

How to apply for a home equity loan or HELOC with BMO Harris

You can apply online, by phone or in person. You’ll be asked for some basic information, including your name, Social Security number, income, property address and your home’s value. Once you’ve provided all the necessary documentation, a BMO Harris Bank representative will process your application and let you know whether you’ve been approved or denied. If you’re approved, you will receive a letter detailing the terms and rates, and a representative will contact you to schedule your closing.

Customer service

There are a few different ways to get in touch with customer service at BMO Harris Bank. It recommends using its online Contact Us form for the fastest service. But you can also reach out by phone or visit a branch in person.

Customer service agents are available by phone, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. CT Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. If you’re in the US, call 888-340-2265.

Emma Woodward is a personal finance writer with a passion for simplifying tricky financial concepts. She has covered loans, budgeting and credit cards for Bankrate, The Financial Diet, Finch, Gusto and Human Interest. When she's not helping you balance your budget, you can find her writing about real estate, food and restaurant tech.
Katherine Watt is a CNET Money writer focusing on mortgages, home equity and banking. She previously wrote about personal finance for NextAdvisor. Based in New York, Katherine graduated summa cum laude from Colgate University with a bachelor's degree in English literature.
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