A Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) is akin to a credit card secured by property. Because a HELOC is secured by the property it is considered a form of mortgage. HELOCs are used most often by homeowners who use HELOCs for major costly items such as education, home improvements, or medical bills. No money changes hands until the borrower draws on the HELOC. A lender will use a similar analysis to a first mortgage when deciding whether to open a HELOC with a homeowner. A lender will review the potential borrower's credit score, debt-to-income ratio, employment history, and the loan-to-value ratio of the property. A lender will not do business with a homeowner if he or she is a negative outlier in one of these key criteria.
A HELOC is a contract between the lender and the borrower. There is no standard HELOC contract with consistent terms and conditions. A HELOC from (for example) Bank of America may have different Ts and Cs from a HELOC offered by Wells Fargo. Therefore, it is impossible for anyone who has not read your contract to determine whether your bank is violating your contract. Consult with an attorney in your state who will be able to read your contract in person, review the payment terms in detail, and advise you accordingly.
To learn more about HELOC loans, see the Bills.com article All About Home Equity Line of Credit Loans.
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