Bethpage Federal Credit Union: 2022 Home Equity Review

Competitive rates, low costs and a fixed-rate option make this credit union worth a look.

Bethpage Federal Credit Union, headquartered in New York, has been in business for more than 80 years. You can become a member with a $5 deposit in a savings account, and the credit union has more than 400,000 members across the US. In addition to offering competitive rates on home equity lines of credit, Bethpage FCU offers a free checking account with a decent interest rate -- a rarity in the industry.

Bethpage Federal Credit Union: At a glance

Types of home equity loans  Variable rate home equity line of credit with an option to convert a percentage of the total balance into a fixed-rate loan
APR Rates as low as 6.24% variable APR (12-month 5.74% introductory offer)
Loan amounts $25,000 to $500,000 that feature an introductory rate and a no-fee guarantee
Credit score requirements N/A
Repayment terms 10-year draw period with 20-year repayment terms (5-, 10- and 20-year terms for any amount converted to fixed-rate option)
Average time to close 6 to 10 weeks

You will need to become a member to access Bethpage FCU's home equity products. Though eligibility is broad, the vast majority of members are local: More than 345,000 of its 434,650 members live on Long Island. Note that this is not a good option if you live in Texas -- Bethpage FCU does not currently offer HELOCs to homeowners in the Lone Star State.

When thinking about tapping your home equity, it's important to weigh the major upsides and downsides with each lender. Here's an overview of the major pros and cons of borrowing from Bethpage FCU.

What we like

  • No extra costs: No closing costs or fees as long as you keep your account open for at least 36 months.
  • Fixed-rate flexibility: The ability to convert all or some of your variable-rate loan into a fixed-rate loan can protect borrowers in the current rising rate environment.
  • Low rates: Bethpage FCU's HELOC rates are considerably lower than national average HELOC rates

What we don't like

  • The waiting game: On average, it takes six to 10 weeks to close on a HELOC, so if you need the cash faster, it may not be a good fit.
  • Must meet the minimum: To qualify for the introductory rate, you'll need a minimum draw of $25,000.
  • No home equity loans: It's a HELOC or nothing; the credit union does not offer a standalone home equity loan product.

Home equity loan options

Bethpage FCU offers a home equity line of credit with a 10-year draw period, followed by a 20-year repayment period. While the credit union does not offer a standalone home equity loan, you can convert a portion of your outstanding HELOC debt into a fixed-rate loan. For example, if you have a $120,000 line of credit, you might lock in a rate on $50,000 of it to protect yourself from the potential of a higher interest rate – a helpful tool in the current market where rates are on the rise. You can convert a maximum of three blocks of $10,000 or more to the credit union's fixed-rate program.

Fees 

Bethpage FCU waives closing costs and origination fees on home equity lines of credit. If you close your account in less than 36 months, however, you will have to pay closing costs. If you borrow more than $500,000, you will be responsible for mortgage and title insurance on the amount that exceeds $500,000.

How to qualify 

First, you need to become a member of the credit union, which is simple: Deposit $5 in a savings account. Eligibility for Bethpage FCU's discounted 12-month promo rate offer depends on your combined loan-to-value ratio; your existing mortgage and your HELOC together cannot exceed 75% of the home's value. For example, if your property value is $400,000, your new total debt cannot be higher than $300,000. Additionally, you will need to take a draw of at least $25,000 and arrange automatic payments of the HELOC from your Bethpage FCU checking or savings account. 

While the credit union doesn't publicly disclose credit score requirements, you're typically more likely to qualify for a loan if you have excellent credit (740 and above), a low debt-to-income ratio and proof of stable income. Another key requirement: You must live in the house. Bethpage FCU does now allow HELOCs on second homes.

Getting started

Bethpage FCU's online application requires you to detail your outstanding mortgage debt, your plans for the cash you're borrowing and your finances. The process is quick and easy. If you would rather speak with someone before completing the application, you can fill out a simple form with your contact information, and a Bethpage FCU lending specialist will contact you.

Customer service

To get in touch with the credit union's customer service department, call 855-330-6630 Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET and Saturday between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. ET. Additionally, if you live on Long Island or in New York City, the credit union has 33 branch locations in the area.