BB&T Home Equity Loan January 2023
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A long-established, highly reputable institution
A simple process for applying online
The ability to access credit more quickly after applying than with many rival banks
Interest rates that are merely respectably – rather than world-beating – low
Some merger-related, customer-service issues may still exist
Lack of a home equity loan option
Does BB&T Offer Home Equity Loans or HELOCs?
As Truist, BB&T offers HELOCs. Home equity loans, though, were not available when we last checked.
Who is BB&T
BB&T (once called Branch Banking and Trust Company) no longer exists as an independent business. At the end of 2019, it merged with SunTrust Banks, Inc. to form a new entity called Truist Financial Corporation, a.k.a. Truist Bank.
More recently, Truist’s website says it serves 15 million customers through 2,100 branches in 17 states. This presence makes Truist a heavyweight player in the banking industry. Its headquarters are in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Truist offers a comprehensive range of banking products and services. These include home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), but not (at the time of writing) home equity loans.
BB&T Home Equity Loan
As noted, BB&T (now part of Truist) was not offering home equity loans when this review was written. Potential borrowers should therefore visit the bank’s website to check whether home equity loans through Truist have since been made available. Of course, anyone who has decided that a home equity loan is what they need can also apply to other banks and lenders for one.
Bills.com always tries to provide the most information possible when it reviews lenders. But BB&T/Truist does not publish as many details about its HELOCs as do some other banks. Here’s the information we found on its website:
- Maximum combined loan-to-value (CLTV) – Unclear. However, a HELOC calculator has a preset of 85%. If that’s the actual CLTV, it would mean that all the borrowing secured on a home could not exceed 85% of that home’s value. Such borrowing would include the main mortgage, the new HELOC, and any second mortgages that may exist.
- Interest rate range – 7.05% to 11.50% APR (when this article was written). But that range might rise as the Federal Reserve continues to hike interest rates.
- Minimum credit score – Unclear. Truist suggests borrowers try to maintain their “credit score above 720” for the lowest rates. Of course, it’s unlikely the bank excludes those with somewhat lower scores. But such borrowers should expect to pay a higher interest rate.
- Maximum and minimum loan amounts – Unclear.
- Length of loan terms – Draw periods vary to suit the borrower. Repayment periods range across 5, 10, 15, 20, or 30 years.
- Closing costs: “The advertised rate will vary if the client chooses for the bank to pay their closing costs, which is an option in some states if the requested loan amount is less than or equal to $500,000. Other fees may be charged at origination, closing or subsequent to closing, ranging from $0 to $10,000, and may vary by state,” according to the bank’s HELOC webpage. So Truist sometimes helps with closing costs. But if it does so and a line of credit is repaid within three years, the bank will claim that money back from the customer.
Though Truist HELOCs are basically variable-rate products, the bank does allow borrowers to fix some or all of their balance. When one “draws” from (takes money out of) one’s line of credit, one can choose to fix the rate on that sum. One has to pay a $15 fee each time one draws money, and one pays a different rate – almost certainly a higher one – on that sum. Note that one can do this only five times. So customers might wish to hold this option back for their largest draws.
How to Apply for BB&T Home Equity Loans
A well-prepared borrower can complete the online application process in about 15 minutes. If the borrower has already gathered all the documents required and then scanned them, the application can take even less time.
Of course, some people prefer face-to-face meetings to conduct their business. They can apply in person at one of the bank’s 2,100+ branches. (Call 844-4TRUIST (844-487-8478) Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., or Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., ET, to make an appointment or to explore your options for mailed applications.)
The BB&T/Truist website has a list of what information and supporting documents one needs to make an application. These include:
- Personal details for the applicant and any co-applicants, including contact information and Social Security number(s)
- A U.S. cell phone number if one is applying online
- Address and employment history, going back two years
- Financial history, including income, debts, or other personal obligations
- Details about the collateral property (purchase and property details, as well as mortgage or lien information)
The bank checks credit scores itself. To facilitate this, it requests all applicants who have frozen their credit for security reasons to unfreeze it temporarily.
Once an application has been completed and all supporting documents are received, the bank says it typically takes 30-35 days for successful applicants to receive their money. That’s fast by industry standards.
Alternatives to HELOCs
On its website, Truist suggests three alternatives for those seeking to tap their home equity. One is to use a credit card. But credit cards typically come with notoriously high interest rates and would not be suitable for borrowing large sums.
The second is a personal loan. Personal loans can compete with HELOCs in terms of cost, but only if the borrower has an uber-high credit score.
The third alternative is a cash-out refinance. This will likely have the lowest interest rate of all. However, it means refinancing one’s entire existing mortgage. And that will be costly if the rate one is paying now is lower than the new rate incurred. A cash-out refinance typically comes with high closing costs, too. And that negative factor means that cash-out refinance is usually only worthwhile for borrowing large sums.
BB&T Expert and Consumer Ratings
Bills.com checked out consumers’ and experts’ star ratings for BB&T/Truist across seven reputable websites. It then calculated the average, which was 2.64 stars out of a possible five for the bank.
We found scattered reports of disappointing customer-service levels, as a result of the inevitable disruption caused by the banks’ merger. Some might think such issues have likely faded as time has passed.
As is usually the case with banks, experts tended to score BB&T/Truist more highly than consumers did. That may be because disgruntled customers tend to be more vocal on sites such as Trustpilot than happy ones. In the circumstances, 2.64 stars is not a bad average.
The Better Business Bureau awards Truist its top (A+) rating. And the bank is a BBB accredited business. According to the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, Truist scored a little below the industry average (851), earning an 825 out of 1,000. Again, that was respectable rather than dazzling.
Alternatives to BB&T
Depending on a borrower’s needs and priorities, BB&T/Truist might be a good choice for a HELOC. But one might also get a much better deal from another lender.
When borrowing large sums of money, one should always comparison-shop across several lenders. The lender with the optimum interest rate and closing-costs package will often be the best choice. Of course, one shouldn’t forget a lender’s reputation for integrity and customer service when choosing, either.