The Police and Fire Federal Credit Union, or PFFCU, is headquartered in Philadelphia and serves active and retired police, fire fighters and their families. The credit union has nearly 20 branches, and PFFCU also offers membership if you work for certain employers or organizations.
PFFCU offers both aand a home equity line of credit, or , which gives you the option to choose between a fixed-rate loan and a variable loan depending on what makes the most sense for your budget.
Police and Fire Federal Credit Union: At a glance
|Types of loans offered||Home equity loans, HELOCs|
|APR||Starting at 5.24% for home equity loans, starting at 6.75% for HELOCs|
|Loan amount||Up to $600,000|
|Credit score minimum||N/A|
|Repayment terms||Five-year draw period and 15-year repayment term for HELOCs, five- to 20 years for home equity loans.|
|Average time for approval||As little as one day|
PFFCU is best suited for homeowners who live in the Philadelphia region and need loans of up to $600,000. With PFFCU, you can borrow as much as 80% of your primary home's value (up to the maximum of $600,000) for up to 20 years, or 100% of your home's primary value of up to $100,000 with a 15-year repayment term. You can also borrow up to 80% of a single-family vacation home as long as it's occupied by the owner.
What we like
- Minimal fees: There are no application fees or closing costs with PFFCU home loans, as well as no out-of-pocket expenses.
- Auto-pay discount: You'll receive a 0.25% discount on your rate if you sign up for auto-pay. However, loans that borrow 100% of a property's value aren't eligible for the discount and are required to set up auto-pay in order to qualify.
- Loans for second homes and investment properties: Not all lenders offer home equity loans or , but it's an option with PFFCU.
What we don't like
- Low maximum loan amount: Some people may need more than $600,000 depending on what type of life expense they're using the loan for.
- Limited availability: Home loans from PFFCU are only available to police officers, fire fighters and their families, and people who work at certain employers or organizations.
- Short draw period for HELOCs: Many lenders offer draw periods of as long as 20 years for a HELOC, which gives you the flexibility of lower for two decades, compared with just five years of lower payments.
Home equity loan options
PFFCU offersand as well as mortgages and refinancing.
In addition to no application fees and no closing costs, the credit union also says there are no out-of-pocket costs. However, a $150 fee is charged if you choose an appraisal upgrade.
How to qualify
Your approval for a PFFCUloan or HELOC will depend on a number of factors including your , loan amount, loan term and loan-to-value, or LTV, ratio. Although PFFCU doesn't disclose its , the higher your credit score, the more attractive a loan candidate you are, which should help you qualify for lower interest rates and more favorable terms.
Banks and lenders also typically prefer to see a debt-to-income, or DTI, ratio below 36% but no higher than 43%. Make sure to shop around and compare the rates and fees from other lenders to ensure you're receiving the best offer possible.
When you take out a home equity loan, you're taking out a second mortgage on your home, so you'll need to gather the necessary personal and financial paperwork, which means providing proof of income and employment with such items as tax returns, pay stubs and Form W-2s. You'll also need to demonstrate that you've been making prompt and regular payments on your current mortgage over the years.
PFFCU says its application process is easy and should only take about 10 minutes. Plus, you can be approved in as little as one day as long as you apply during regular business hours, and you can apply online, over the phone or in person at a local branch.
For general inquiries you can call 215-931-0300 or 800-228-8801 Monday through Friday between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. ET (5:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. PT), and Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. You can also visit PFFCU's loan center in person in Bensalem, Pennsylvania, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET, or by appointment. Saturdays are by appointment only.