U.S. Bank is headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and was founded in 1863. Its parent company, U.S. Bancorp, is one of the 10 biggest banks in the country. The bank originates mortgages and refinances, as well as home equity loans and home equity lines of credit, or HELOCs.
If you need a large home loan of up to $750,000, U.S. Bank is worth considering. The bank doesn’t disclose its minimum credit score requirements for home loans, which means it could be worth applying even if you don’t have excellent credit, as long as you have sufficient home equity and income. But keep in mind, most lenders typically prefer to see a score of 700 or higher.
U.S. Bank: At a glance
|Types of loans offered
|Home equity loan, HELOC
|HELOCs range from 6.45% to 10.85%. For home equity loans, 10-year term at 8%, 15-year term at 7.95%
|$15,000 and $750,000 (up to $1 million in California)
|Credit score minimum
|10-year draw period for HELOCs, up to 30 years
|Average time for approval
U.S. Bank is best suited for homeowners who need a high loan amount and have adequate equity built up in their home. To qualify for its lowest rates and terms, U.S. Bank wants a borrower to have a credit score of at least 730 and a loan-to-value ratio, or LTV ratio, no higher than 70% (80% is the typical limit for lenders). Employees of U.S. Bank are also eligible for preferred loan rates.
What we like
Fixed-rate option: When it comes to HELOCs, a fixed-rate option is beneficial right now as the Federal Reserve continues to raise interest rates. So even as rates increase, the interest rate on a U.S. Bank HELOC will remain the same, saving you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan. You can convert the entire loan, or just a portion of it, to a fixed-rate, which gives you flexibility.
No closing costs: Borrowers aren’t responsible for paying any of the closing costs or third-party fees during the loan process, which can save you thousands of dollars.
High loan amounts: If you’re completing a large project, such as a home renovation, you may need hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on where you live. You can apply for up to $750,000 (or $1 million in California), which is a bigger maximum amount than some other lenders.
What we don’t like
Early closure fee: You’re required to pay a 1% early termination fee of no more than $500 if you pay your loan in full and close your account within the first 30 months.
If you want to lock in the lowest rate, you’ll need to become a customer and set up automatic payments from either a U.S. Bank checking or savings account. Opening an account with the bank isn’t necessary for loan approval.
Interest-only payments are limited: You can only make interest-only payments on your HELOC if you meet certain credit qualifications, which U.S. Bank doesn’t disclose. That could be limiting for some borrowers because one of the benefits of a HELOC is that you have low monthly payments during your draw period. If you don’t qualify for interest-only payments, your minimum monthly payment must be no less than 1% of your outstanding loan balance.
Home equity loan options
U.S. Bank offers home equity loans and HELOCs in addition to mortgages and refinances. The type of loan you choose should reflect what you need the money for, and how long you’ll need access to the funds.
A home equity loan is ideal if you know the exact amount of money you need and you prefer receiving your money upfront in one lump sum. If you need access to funds over an extended period of time -- be it for a large, long-term home renovation, or major life expense such as paying for college -- a HELOC is an ideal option because it’s a revolving line of credit that functions much the same way as a credit card. You can withdraw funds when you need it during the HELOC’s draw period (which is typically 10 years).
After the first year of your HELOC, you may be required to pay an annual fee of $90, which you can avoid by setting up a U.S. Bank Platinum Checking Package. If you pay back your loan in full and close your account within 30 months of opening it, you will be subject to a 1% early termination fee not to exceed $500.
How to qualify
As long as you’re located in one of the 26 states with U.S. Bank branches, have good credit and don’t exceed an LTV ratio of 80%, you should qualify for a U.S Bank home loan. The bank likes to see a credit score of 730 or higher if you want to lock in its lowest rates. In some cases, the bank says it will offer lower introductory rates to highly qualified candidates in certain situations.
Although U.S. Bank doesn’t list specific requirements, applying for a home equity loan or a HELOC is similar to applying for your first mortgage in the amount of time and financial paperwork you need when applying. For example, you must show proof of employment and income through your Form W-2, as well as provide pay stubs and tax returns along with other mortgage documents.
It’s also important to stay on top of your credit report, as that’s one of the first areas a lender will review. Resolving any potential errors on your credit report can raise your score -- and should help lower your interest rate in the process. You can receive a free weekly credit report through the end of this year as part of a program started by the Federal Trade Commision.
You can apply for a U.S. Bank home equity loan online, over the phone, through its mobile app or in person at a physical branch. For some home loans, be prepared to visit a physical location when it’s time to close on your loan.
Live phone support for applying for a home loan is 844-499-5663.