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Citizens Bank: 2024 Home Equity Review

This New England-based bank offers two types of HELOCs.

Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank

Highlights
Products offered
HELOC, Citizens GoalBuilder HELOC
APR
Starting at 6.25%
Min. credit score
N/A
Contact information
Loan applications teams are available via phone at 800-340-5626

Citizens Bank serves both individual consumers and small to large businesses. Recognized for its diverse workplace, the Providence, Rhode Island-based financial institution says it’s committed to contributing to a healthy and thriving community. 

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

Under its 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: At a glance

Types of loans offeredHELOCCitizens GlobalBuilder HELOC
APR rangeStarting at 6.25%Starting at 6.25%
Loan amountsStarting at $17,500$5,000 to $25,000
Credit score requirementsN/AN/A
Repayment terms10-year draw period, 15-year repayment period10-year draw period, 15-year repayment period
Fees$50 annual fee after the first yearNone
Average time for approvalVaries, but generally less than 30 daysVaries, but generally less than 30 days
As of Nov. 11, 2022.

Pros and cons

Pros

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

  • Minimal fees: Citizens waives most or all of the closing costs for HELOC applications. It also waives the $50 annual fee for the first year, and there’s no annual fee for the GoalBuilder HELOC.

  • Low starting rates: If you play your cards right, the annual percentage rate, or APR, on your HELOC could start as low as 6.25%. Starting interest rates for Citizens HELOCs are fairly low for applicants who qualify for an autopay discount and have an excellent credit score.

Cons

  • Nonflexible repayment terms: There’s only one option for repayment, so you don’t have the flexibility to choose what works best for you.

  • Only available in select states: Citizens Bank only services eligible properties in 29 states and the District of Columbia. You can’t apply for a HELOC if your property is outside those states.

  • Not available for certain types of properties: Mobile homes, manufactured homes, co-ops and investment properties are ineligible for a Citizens HELOC.

Home equity loan options

Citizens Bank’s two HELOC options both have a 10-year draw period and a 15-year repayment period. 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 to a principal-and-interest monthly payment to pay back over 15 years. 

The GoalBuilder HELOC differs from the standard HELOC in that it’s built for individuals who are still working to build 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. 

The interest rates for both types of HELOCs start at 6.25% APR. To qualify for the lowest rate requires rate discounts for using autopay and having a Citizens consumer checking account. 

Fees

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

There’s 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, or LTV, ratio and debt-to-income, or DTI, ratio. 

While your credit score doesn’t have to be exceptional to qualify for a loan, the better your score, the better your rate will be. Citizens wants to see that you are willing 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 can vary by state. 

Your property also must meet a few requirements to qualify. The property must be occupied by you or be a second vacation 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 also must be in one of the 29 states and the District of Columbia that Citizens Bank 0services. Finally, the property can’t currently be for sale, and it must be off the market for at least 90 days prior to you applying for a home equity product with the bank. 

Getting started

Use the online application or call 888-333-1206 for a customer service representative to walk you through the application process. To apply online, click the Apply No” button. You’ll then be directed to the online application portal where you will be guided step by step. If you prefer applying in person, schedule an appointment at a local branch. 

Whether you apply online or in person, be sure you have the necessary information before you start the application process. You’ll need personal information including your name, contact and key details about your property such as address and DTI. You’ll 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 get a home appraisal.

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

Customer service

You can speak with a Citizens Bank home equity adviser via phone or by visiting a local branch. The bank’s home equity and loan applications teams are available via 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 talk to someone at a local Citizens Bank branch, locate the nearest office on its website. It’s recommended that you schedule an appointment to speak with an adviser in person.

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.