BECU HELOC Lender Review

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ByChristopher Boston
Edited byCasie McCoskey
ByChristopher Boston
Edited byCasie McCoskey

Updated: November 19, 2023

Advertising & Editorial Disclosure

BECU, with its zero upfront fees, flexible draw periods and a fixed-rate advance option, can be an excellent HELOC lender. Its member-centric approach can be rewarding, yet the geographic and membership restrictions might be a hitch for some consumers. It's a great fit for homeowners with equity, those eyeing home improvements or borrowers appreciating a more predictable repayment structure. With BECU, it's all about blending financial ease with steady support.


  • BECU

    • 8.74% to 11.59% (after 6-month introductory rates)APR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • Up to $500,000Loan Amount Range
    • 10-year draw period; 15-year repayment periodRepayment Terms
    • UndisclosedTime to Receive Funds

    In the world of Home Equity Lines of Credit (HELOC), BECU can be a worthy companion for your financial journey. With this credit union, you’ll enjoy the absence of application, origination or appraisal fees, leading to lower upfront costs. With a generous 10-year draw period, you have a decade to withdraw funds as needed. This provides flexibility, especially when life throws curveballs or home improvements beckon.

    BECU also offers a fixed-rate advance option, which allows you to lock in a portion of your balance at a fixed rate. Then you have a 15-year repayment period, an easy online application and supportive member assistance for potential rough patches. This combination of features cushions your financial obligations and nurtures a supportive environment for borrowers, demonstrating how BECU is a thoughtful player in the HELOC arena.

    Pros

    • No application, origination or appraisal fees, reducing upfront costs
    • Access to fixed-rate advances for rate stability
    • Straightforward online application process
    • Member Assistance Team for financial hardship support

    Cons

    • Limited geographic availability
    • Membership required for online HELOC application
    • Lack of clear minimum credit score information
    • Limited business hours for in-person and business member support
    BECU

What You Should Know About BECU

We recommend securing a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) with BECU after careful consideration of this credit union's unique qualities. By exploring how to leverage your HELOC funds, understanding the associated fees, and comprehending the draw and repayment terms, you can get a clearer financial picture of what BECU offers. Additionally, acquainting yourself with its member assistance and customer service will shed light on the support awaiting you. As you sift through these features, you're better poised to discern whether BECU is the best match for your HELOC pursuits.

What You Can Use Your Funds For

Some lenders restrict how you can spend your HELOC funds, so it's helpful to familiarize yourself with BECU's stances. Let's explore the various ways you can use your BECU HELOC funds:

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BECU, which provides a flexible HELOC, can give you financial leverage. The varied uses of its funds underscore its potential as a versatile financial tool, adapting to your life's needs and financial goals.

BECU HELOC Fees

Getting a handle on the fees associated with a BECU HELOC is beneficial as it helps you know what to expect and plan accordingly. Different lenders have varying fee structures, so it helps to familiarize yourself with BECU's policies. Here's a breakdown of the fees BECU doesn't charge:

  • Application Fee
  • Origination Fees
  • Appraisal Costs
  • Title Insurance Fees
  • Document Mailing Fees
  • Escrow Fees
  • Prepayment Penalty

Meanwhile, in South Carolina, BECU covers all attorney's fees and costs related to opening your HELOC, adhering to the state's legal requirements.

Maintaining your BECU HELOC comes without periodic fees, nor will you pay any fees for obtaining a variable or fixed rate advance. However, on terminating the HELOC, a reconveyance fee ranging from $125.00 to $235.00 will be required, although this amount is subject to change.

Draw and Repayment Periods

HELOCs at BECU are designed with an open-ended nature, offering a fluid borrowing structure. Unlike a traditional loan, where the lender hands over a lump sum, you can borrow as you go, starting with a modest minimum draw amount of $100.

BECU generously offers a 10-year draw period. During this time, you have the freedom to withdraw funds as needed. For instance, with approval for a $50,000 HELOC, you can dip into and replenish this amount at your pace anytime over the decade. The only interest you'll pay is on the amount you've drawn.

As the draw period ends, your HELOC enters a 15-year repayment phase. If you had borrowed $28,000 of your $50,000 HELOC and have already paid $4,000 back, you'd now be looking at repaying the remaining $24,000. The monthly installments over this period are your pathway to clearing the debt, each chipping away at the principal and interest, ensuring you square off the debt in a maximum of 180 months.

Loan Amounts and Interest Rates

BECU’s APR range typically falls between 7.99% to 11.59%. However, your credit score and property type may influence the rate you get. The figure also varies depending on whether you opt for variable rates or a fixed-rate advance. The table below provides more details:

Rate
Primary Residences APR
Second and Vacation Home APR
Rental and Investment Property APR

Variable Rate

8.74% – 11.59%

10.09% – 10.84%

10.59% – 11.34%

Fixed-Rate Advance

7.99% – 10.84%

9.84% – 10.59%

10.34% – 11.09%

BECU offers HELOC amounts of up to $500,000. It provides a broad canvas to paint your financial plans, whether you need to complete hefty home renovations or consolidate towering debts.

BECU’s HELOC With a Fixed-Rate Advance

BECU presents an attractive feature known as fixed-rate advances within its HELOC offerings. Fixed-rate advances are like subaccounts of your main HELOC, where you can lock in a portion of your balance at a fixed rate. It transitions that portion into a term loan with term options stretching up to 15 years. Predictability is its main benefit — you enjoy a consistent monthly payment with a rate that doesn't vary over time.

By doing this, you're putting a portion of your balance in a safe zone, which can be comforting in a climate where interest rates might be on the rise. You can initiate a fixed-rate advance anytime during the draw period of your HELOC as long as it's already up and running.

You can select any sum of $5,000 or higher, right up to the total of your loan amount. BECU also allows you to have up to three different fixed-rate loans at one time. That way, you can strategize your repayments, making the most of the fixed rates.

The rate for a fixed-rate advance as of June 1, 2023, stands between 7.99% and 11.09% APR. Whether it's about cushioning your finances against fluctuating rates or aligning your repayments with your budget, a fixed-rate advance could be a smart move on your financial chessboard.

Member Assistance Program

The BECU Member Assistance Team supports members facing financial roadblocks due to unforeseen circumstances. It's not extended to all financial products but is available for HELOC holders. To lighten your load during rough patches, the team opens the possibility of short-term payment relief and loan modifications. Remember, during a deferment period, the interest meter keeps running. When payments pick back up, clearing the accrued interest is the first order of business before tackling the principal.

Choosing deferment or reduced payments has a ripple effect — it leads to a pause on all open lines of credit. Down the road, rekindling your credit line will require a new application.

Relief begins with your request to BECU. From day 2 to 4, your request remains under review — a Member Assistance Specialist possibly touching base for any extra details. Between days 5 and 7, you'll receive a letter outlining your relief options from BECU. Throughout this process, BECU aims to stand by you, working to ease your financial situation.

Customer Service

When considering a HELOC with BECU or any lender, responsive and accessible customer service is a relevant factor. It's your direct link for queries, support or troubleshooting, ensuring a smoother sail through your credit journey. BECU makes it straightforward to reach out across various channels.

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BECU's varied channels and dedicated support hours underscore its commitment to member satisfaction and support, vital aspects to mull over when deciding on your HELOC lender.

Eligibility Criteria

Understanding the eligibility criteria before applying for a BECU HELOC is like having a precise map for your financial journey. It helps you gauge where you stand and what steps might improve your eligibility. BECU looks at various factors to ensure you can comfortably manage a HELOC. It considers your credit score to see your borrowing history, assesses the type of property and the equity you have in it, and your membership status. Knowing these specifics gives you insight and increases your chances for a smooth application process.

Minimum Credit Score

BECU doesn't publicize the minimum credit score needed for a HELOC on its website. This isn't a rare practice — some lenders prefer a one-on-one chat to dive into the specifics. However, a good rule of thumb is to have a credit score in the neighborhood of 620 or higher. Your credit score gives the lender a snapshot of your financial history by detailing your track record with borrowing. Knowing the standard gives you a clue about where you stand before you step into the spotlight for a HELOC application with BECU.

Property Type and Home Equity

BECU opens its doors to a variety of property types when it comes to securing a HELOC. Whether it's your primary residence, a second home, a cozy vacation retreat, or even investment and rental properties, you're in the game. However, there's a small catch — these properties must be in certain states. Namely, these are:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Kansas
  • Missouri
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • Washington

Generally, you'll also need hazard insurance for your home. Flood insurance is another requirement if your property is near a body of water.

While BECU doesn't spill the beans on a minimum equity requirement, in the broader lending landscape, having at least 15% to 20% equity in your home is a standard condition for getting the HELOC conversation started.

Membership

Becoming a member at BECU is your gateway to exploring its HELOC options. Here's a rundown on how you can qualify:

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Membership doesn’t cost a dime and begins when you open a BECU account, paving the way for your HELOC journey.

Who Should Consider a BECU HELOC

Choosing the right lender for your HELOC is like picking the right tools for a project — it sets the stage for smooth sailing. A careful look at what BECU offers helps you match your financial needs with its offerings. Assessing a prospective lender can guide you to an option that vibes with your financial rhythm, making the journey toward achieving your goals more straightforward. Use BECU’s features and eligibility requirements to make a decision that could help determine if it’s a good fit for your finances, now and down the line.

Who Benefits From a BECU HELOC

For homeowners brimming with equity and plans for home improvements or repairs, BECU stands out as a solid ally. Its absence of upfront costs like application, origination or appraisal fees makes starting those home enhancement projects less burdensome on the wallet. Its low introductory rate also eases the financial strain during the initial phase of the HELOC.

BECU’s 10-year draw period is another standout feature, offering a longer horizon for financial planning. It provides borrowers a flexible cushion, allowing them to manage funds as their needs and circumstances evolve. Homeowners who prefer the predictability of fixed rates can take advantage of BECU’s Fixed-Rate Advances. It allows them to lock in a portion of their HELOC at a fixed rate, ensuring consistent monthly payments and protecting them from market volatility.

Who Shouldn’t Secure a BECU HELOC

Geographic limitations are crucial in your eligibility for a BECU HELOC — this credit union serves only ten states, making it difficult for those outside these areas. Despite their interest, many individuals may find BECU's HELOC offerings inaccessible. Another consideration is BECU's credit union model, which requires membership. This prerequisite can seem restrictive for homeowners uninterested in or unfamiliar with it, nudging them to explore other lenders that don't necessitate such a commitment.

Operational hours are yet another factor to ponder. BECU's business hours may not accommodate everyone, particularly for those whose schedules don't align with standard working hours. The need for in-person service outside these hours might lead to inconveniences, steering such individuals towards lenders with more flexible service hours.

Lastly, while offering numerous benefits, the credit union model may not appeal to everyone, especially those who prefer the traditional banking setup. The comfort and familiarity of conventional banks can influence one's decision, making BECU a less attractive option.

Getting Started with BECU

Your BECU HELOC journey starts with a user-friendly application process. Let's explore the steps to take to receive your HELOC from BECU:

1

Membership Application

If you're new to BECU, kickstart the process by applying for membership. You'll need to decide whether to apply in person or online.

2

Preparation

Whether applying online or in person, have your Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, a valid U.S. government-issued ID and a proof of address ready to go. Keep your income and employment information, an estimate of your home’s value and co-applicant details (if applicable) at your fingertips to breeze through the application.

3

Apply for a HELOC

Head to the BECU HELOC page or visit a local branch (don’t forget to set an appointment if you go this route). Provide all the necessary information and confirm all your details before submitting it.

The BECU HELOC application process is like a well-marked trail, guiding you through each step to ensure you're well-prepared for the adventure ahead. With the proper documents and a clear understanding of the steps, you're all set to explore the financial potential of your home.

Dealing With a Denied Application

Having your HELOC application with BECU turned down can be a hard pill to swallow. However, this hiccup can serve as a stepping stone towards reshaping your approach and venturing again with better prep. Let's explore some proactive steps you can take to respond to a denial:

Understanding Denial Reasons

Deciphering the reasons behind the denial is your roadmap to rectification. Understanding them will earmark the areas you need to work on.

Improving Eligibility

Once you know why BECU denied your application, it's time to buff up your eligibility. It could encompass boosting your credit score, reducing debt, or even looking into co-signer options.

Reapplying

Reapplying is the next logical step. With improved credentials, you stand a better chance at sailing through the application process.

Alternative Financing Options

If a HELOC from BECU still seems out of reach, exploring alternative financing options may be a good move. Other lending institutions, personal loans or even other credit unions might have different eligibility criteria that align with your situation.

Seeking Financial Counseling

A financial counselor can provide a fresh, informed perspective on your financial situation. They can guide you on improving your credit health and suggest alternative financing routes tailored to your circumstances.

Roadblocks are but mere detours, not dead ends. Being denied a HELOC from BECU might sting, but it's also a learning curve, steering you towards either enhancing your eligibility or discovering other financial avenues. So, dust off the denial, arm yourself with insights and stride confidently towards your financial objectives with BECU or another accommodating lender.

Frequently Asked Questions About BECU as a HELOC Lender

Securing a HELOC with BECU can lead to several questions. We gathered some commonly-asked queries to provide you with a clearer understanding of what BECU offers.

What is the minimum credit score required for a BECU HELOC?
How quickly can I receive funds with BECU?
What states is BECU HELOC available in?
Are there any fees associated with a BECU HELOC?
What can I use a BECU HELOC for?
How can I contact BECU's customer service?

About Christopher Boston


Christopher Boston headshot

Christopher (Croix) Boston was the Head of Loans content at MoneyGeek, with over five years of experience researching higher education, mortgage and personal loans.

Boston has a bachelor's degree from the Seattle Pacific University. They pride themselves in using their skills and experience to create quality content that helps people save and spend efficiently.