PROS / Chase has excellent personal customer service with knowledgeable loan officers who are glad to answer questions and discuss your options.
CONS / This lender does not offer home equity loans.
VERDICT / While Chase does not provide home equity loans, it offers home equity lines of credit with terms that rank on par with other lenders. It has excellent customer service and relatively easy application procedures.
Chase is one of the largest home equity lenders in our lineup, with over 5,000 branches in 25 states. Despite this, it offered excellent customer service with one of the easiest phone systems we used. This lender does not offer home equity loans, but it does have home equity lines of credit (HELOC) with competitive interest rates that follow the prime rate. It also offers the option to temporarily lock the interest rate.
Chase offers HELOCs with a good loan-to-value ratio, which you can find online. This is the amount you still owe on your mortgage divided by the current value of the property. You can find a LTV calculator and a home value estimator on the website to help you determine how much you qualify for. In addition, the online application asks for this information to make sure you qualify before you go through the process of inputting information.
The loan process online is neatly laid out, with a To-Do list you can download beforehand to make sure you have the information you need and easy instructions as you go along. There's no live chat, but there are help buttons if you are confused on an issue. In addition, you can call for information. Overall, the application process averages 45 days, according to the loan officers we spoke with. You can get the money immediately after the right of rescission period, which lasts 3 days after closing, if you want the money transferred to an account. Otherwise, you can get a credit card or checks. Checks can take three to four weeks to arrive, however. This is much longer than other banks.
You can discuss the draw period with your loan officer, which is the number of years you can draw money against the authorized loan amount. This is useful for longer-term projects, where you need only a certain amount at a particular time. You only pay interest for what you withdraw. The interest follows the prime rate and is capped at a higher ceiling than most home equity lenders set but which is much higher than the interest rates have gone in decades. However, you can request to fix the interest rate for a specific amount of time. There may be fees associated with this.
Although there aren't as many educational resources or alternate means to contact Chase, we found the live customer service to be excellent. Each time we called, it took only a minute or two to get to a loan officer, without any bouncing between departments or going through multiple menus on the automated system. The loan officers we spoke to offered their registration numbers, answered questions quickly and were willing to work with us.
If you are looking specifically for a home equity loan, then you should check out the other home equity lenders on our lineup. However, for home equity lines of credit, Chase offers excellent service and a good range of HELOCs to help you get the big renovation or long-term project financed.