What we like:
Home equity lines of credit up to $2 million (even on investment properties) with no closing costs.
|Rates (APR)||Introductory rates starting at 5.99%, then 6.64% to 12.33%|
|Loan amounts||$15,000 to $2 million|
|Repayment terms||10-year draw period followed by a 10-, 15- or 20-year repayment term|
|Minimum credit score||Not disclosed|
Bank of the West is part of BNP Paribas, the ninth-largest bank in the world. While only available in 19 states (listed below), it leverages the global resources BNP offers, including professional expertise in more than 68 countries.
Bank of the West offers banking, credit card, investment, and loan products, including home equity lines of credit (HELOCs).
Here’s a look at what a HELOC from Bank of the West allows and how to qualify.
In this review:
- How does Bank of the West help me access my home equity?
- Pros and cons of a Bank of the West HELOC
- What do Bank of the West’s customers say?
- Do I qualify for a HELOC from Bank of the West?
- How do I apply with Bank of the West?
- How does Bank of the West determine how much I can borrow?
- What does the appraisal process look like?
- Does Bank of the West charge any fees?
- Does Bank of the West have a customer service team?
How does Bank of the West help me access my home equity?
If you’re looking to borrow against your home’s available equity, a Bank of the West HELOC can give you access to as much as $2 million. You can use this money to consolidate other debt, make large purchases, fund a home renovation project, and more.
Your open-ended line of credit comes with a draw period of 10 years, during which time you can borrow against your available credit limit. The interest rate during the draw period is variable and depends on factors such as market interest rates and your creditworthiness. You only need to make interest payments on the balance during the draw period.
Once the draw period ends, you can no longer pull from the HELOC, and you’ll enter a repayment term of 10, 15, or 20 years. At that time, your interest rate will lock on your outstanding balance and remain the same for the repayment period. You’ll make principal and interest payments on the balance until it’s paid.
Bank of the West does not offer lump-sum home equity loans.
|Bank of the West HELOC terms|
|Rates (APR)||Introductory rates starting at 5.99%, then 6.14% to 12.325%|
|Rate discounts||0.125% APR autopay discount|
0.50% APR balance-based discount
0.125% APR energy improvement discount
0.25% relationship discount
|Loan amounts||$15,000 to $2 million|
|Draw period||10 years|
|Repayment period||10, 15, or 20 years|
|Minimum credit score||Not disclosed. (Lowest rates are reserved for borrowers with a minimum FICO score of 740.)|
|Minimum income||Not disclosed|
|Fees||$75 annual fee|
$100 fixed-rate loan option fee
Pros and cons of a Bank of the West HELOC
- Borrow up to $2 million against your home’s equity.
- Many discounts available.
- No closing costs.
- No early repayment penalty.
- Only available in 19 states. (Listed below.)
- No home equity loans offered.
- Annual fees apply.
If you’re unsure whether Bank of the West is the right fit for your needs, check out our list of home equity companies.
What do Bank of the West’s customers say about the company?
|Source||Rating||Number of reviews|
|Better Business Bureau||1.05 out of 5 stars||115|
|Trustpilot||1.3 out of 5 stars||86|
Ratings collected on December 1, 2022.
It’s important to understand a lender’s products and services. It’s also wise to gather feedback and reviews to see other customers’ experiences with the bank. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and Trustpilot are examples of places to start your search.
The BBB is a trusted nonprofit organization aimed at advancing consumer trust within the marketplace. It’s a platform for consumer reviews and complaints that allows companies to get accredited.
Bank of the West is not BBB-accredited but holds an A+ rating. Among consumers, Bank of the West has a rating of 1.05 out of 5 stars based on 115 reviews. Many low ratings center around issues with customer service.
Trustpilot is a platform where consumers can leave firsthand reviews of their experience with companies. Bank of the West has a Trustpilot rating of 1.3 out of 5 stars. As with BBB, many of the lower ratings are based on poor customer service experiences and delays with processing loans.
Do I qualify for a HELOC from Bank of the West?
To be eligible for a HELOC from Bank of the West, first ensure that your property is in one of the 19 states where the bank is licensed to do business:
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Dakota
Borrowers may be eligible to borrow against the equity in their primary home or even an investment property, in some cases. They will also need to meet certain eligibility requirements, such as a minimum FICO credit score and income. Bank of the West does not disclose these minimums.
Bank of the West allows borrowers to take out a line of credit for a combined loan-to-value (CLTV) of up to 89.9%. So if your property’s current value is $400,000, and you don’t have a mortgage or other lien on the property, you could take out a HELOC of up to $359,600 based on the following calculation:
$400,000 value x 89.9% CLTV = maximum $359,600 HELOC
A balance on a mortgage loan would reduce your HELOC limit. Using the same example above, let’s say your remaining mortgage balance was $128,000. Your maximum line of credit would be $231,600:
$359,600 maximum HELOC – $128,000 outstanding mortgage = $231,600 available
Your location, creditworthiness, debt-to-income ratio (DTI), and other factors might further reduce the maximum you can borrow.
How do I apply with Bank of the West?
Before applying for a home equity line of credit from Bank of the West, you’ll need to create an online account and then confirm your email or phone number.
You’ll provide Bank of the West with a range of personal information, including your:
- Email address
- Phone number
- Property address
- Current mortgage balance (if any)
You may need to provide copies of your state-issued ID, recent pay stubs, your most recent mortgage statement, and homeowners insurance declaration page as part of the underwriting process.
How does Bank of the West determine how much I can borrow?
Bank of the West will determine whether you’re eligible for a HELOC during the underwriting process.
The bank will first consider factors such as your CLTV and how much you want to borrow. This involves looking at your property’s current value—which it may verify with a home appraisal—and additional liens against it. If you meet eligibility thresholds, you may be able to borrow as much as 89.9% of your home’s value minus your current mortgage balance.
The bank will consider your eligibility based on items including your FICO credit score, income, and DTI—how much of your current income is spoken for by other debts, including credit cards, auto loans, and personal loans.
What does the appraisal process look like?
A home appraisal report is often required as part of the HELOC approval process. This report can give you and your lender an up-to-date estimate of your home’s market value.
The lender orders the appraisal, and an unbiased third-party inspector conducts it, considering your home’s location, size, age, and more. They will also look at comparable, recently sold homes in the area (“comps”) to determine what your property is worth.
The lender will use the resulting value to calculate the maximum HELOC you can borrow.
Some home equity lenders require borrowers to pay a portion or all of the cost of their home appraisal report, but Bank of the West covers this expense for HELOC borrowers.
Does Bank of the West charge any fees?
Bank of the West charges fewer fees than many other HELOC lenders. However, if you are considering a line of credit from this bank, some fees might apply.
Bank of the West charges HELOC borrowers an annual fee of $75, though this can vary depending on your state. It also assesses a $100 fixed-rate loan fee each time you elect to lock your rate for a balance or reverse a rate lock.
|Bank of the West HELOC fees|
|Fixed-rate loan option fee||$100|
Does Bank of the West have a customer service team?
Whether you need help applying for a new line of credit or managing your HELOC account, you can reach the Bank of the West customer service team three ways:
- In person. You can schedule an appointment or walk in for assistance if you live near one of Bank of the West’s 500-plus branches. A representative can help you manage your account or initiate a new application.
- By phone. Bank of the West is available by phone seven days a week and on many holidays. You can call 800-488-2265 Monday through Friday from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific time, as well as Saturdays, Sundays, and most holidays from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Pacific.
- Online. If you’re a customer, you can manage your account online or through the Bank of the West mobile app, including making payments or changes to your account.