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U.S. Bank Review

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PROS / This lender has special features and programs for military members.

CONS / Its posted fixed interest rates are higher than most.

 VERDICT / U.S. Bank offers both home equity loans and lines of credit for larger amounts than many lenders. It allows second homes as collateral, considers full credit history and not just score, and has special incentives for members of the military.

U.S. Bank offers both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit, also called HELOCS. It will take a second home as collateral, offers special incentives for military families and has the one of the highest loan amounts allowed. While the posted rates were higher than those of other lenders, U.S. Bank may offer discounts to bring that rate down. It also looks at your full credit history.

U.S. Bank

In order to qualify for a home equity loan or HELOC, you need your primary residence, second home or investment property. It considers the loan to value ratio of the home as well as your debt to income, but it does not set a minimum credit score. According to the loan officer we spoke with, there are various factors that can contribute to an approval or denial, so they consider your full credit history rather than the score. This is an advantage if you have had issues in the past but are improving your credit.

The terms are average for most home equity and HELOC loans as compared to other banks, but the amount you may qualify for could be higher. Check with a loan officer for details.

One useful feature U.S. Bank provides is a questionnaire to help you determine the best equity lending option for your needs. Otherwise, the website does not offer much aside from some general facts and a couple of calculators to help you determine interest and payments. U.S. Bank has a website dedicated to military personnel that contains a large financial education section. If you have questions specific to the loans, you can use the live chat.

U.S. Bank requires people in certain states to apply in person at one of its branches. Therefore, the online application is not available in all states. If you are in a state that allows online applications, you can also track the progress online. This is also true for applications over the phone.

Like with several of the larger banks we tested, the phone system was not geared toward home equity. In U.S. Bank's case, it took five menus to get to an application representative. However, he was friendly and knowledgeable and answered our questions without a hard sell. He needed to look up some things but found the info quickly. We found that with several banks, representatives, even loan officers, had to look up information because they serviced multiple states with different regulations.

This home equity lender offers special programs for military members. Check the website for details.

Summary

U.S. Bank's posted rates are higher than most of the home equity lenders we reviewed, but we found that specific cases qualify for lower rates than the website shows. It doesn't charge fees that most home equity lenders do, and it considers your entire credit history as opposed to just your score. It's a great choice, especially if you need an especially large loan or are a member of the U.S. Armed Services.

U.S. Bank