PROS / In the best cases, Bank of America can get your loan approved quickly.
CONS / Its fees are higher compared to most of the lenders we reviewed.
VERDICT / Bank of America offers a wide range of loan options, knowledgeable and helpful loan officers, and useful online resources, making it a good choice to consider when pricing home mortgages.
Bank of America (BofA) offers a range of fixed and adjustable-rate mortgages, including some offered through government programs. In addition, it has a combination loan that incorporates a first mortgage with a home equity second layer for a higher-than-average percentage of the property's value. This way, you can get extra cash for improvements but only deal with one loan and one set of fees. Although the BofA website says it offers interest-only jumbo loans, the loan officer we spoke to said this is not the case.
Bank of America's posted rates, which we found on this mortgage lender's website, ran slightly above average. Not all lenders post rates, and each posts rates for what it considers its best example; with that in mind, we consider BofA competitive in the refinance and mortgage industry.
We were able to put our test case into the online calculator, posted on Bank of America's website, which gave us specific interest rates and estimated closing fees. This is a handy tool for planning and making comparisons, but keep in mind that rates can change daily or as a result of information on your credit report.
Nonetheless, we found that with our specific case, the interest rates were lower than the industry average. Closing costs involve expenses that are beyond the bank's control, such as appraisal and title fees. Bank fees, according to the agent we spoke to, also vary by state. BofA's fees were on the high end compared with the other mortgage and refinance lenders on our lineup.
The agent we spoke with said that if a borrower's paperwork is in order, the bank can quickly process the paperwork and approve the loan. Based on information we were given, Bank of America could potentially process and approve a loan more quickly than other mortgage lenders in the industry. Thus, if you are looking for a fast closing, Bank of America is a good choice.
BofA's website offers live chat, but the operators can only collect your information and refer you to a loan officer. They do not answer questions. We found customer service representatives on the phone to be more knowledgeable and willing to answer questions. The loan officers themselves were very cooperative. The phone system itself was easy to navigate, an advantage when dealing with a large institution like Bank of America.
The website is packed with good information about the loans, although the information about the interest-only loans may not be accurate. You'll find calculators, checklists and numerous articles about the mortgage process, many of which are simply informational rather than promotional.
Bank of America has higher interest rates posted on its website than other mortgage companies we evaluated. However, it offers excellent customer service and a variety of loan options. It's worth contacting for pricing about your specific loan situation.