Citizens Bank HELOC Lender Review

Updated: November 29, 2023

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Citizens Bank stands out for its speedy, straightforward HELOC application process, especially appealing to those who value time and ease. With its digital Citizens FastLine system, you can see your personalized offer quickly. While Citizens Bank shines in customer support and flexible loan amounts, it might fall short for those outside its operational states or people looking for fixed-rate options. However, it's a strong choice for homeowners who favor a blend of traditional banking support and modern, efficient online services.

  • Citizens Bank

    • 8.50% to 21%APR Range
    • UndisclosedMinimum Credit Score
    • At least $17,500 or $5,000 to $25,000 for a GoalBuilder HELOCLoan Amount Range
    • 10-year draw period; 15-year repayment periodRepayment Terms
    • As little as 2 weeksTime to Receive Funds

    Citizens Bank stands out for making the HELOC process simple and straightforward. Through the Citizens FastLine, you can see your offer in less than two minutes — without a ding on your credit score. Accept it, and you're on a smooth sail to closing in seven days, with your funds accessible in as little as two weeks.

    This lender charges no application fee or closing costs, plus low rates. You have a solid ten years to borrow what you need and no minimum draw to worry about, making it a handy financial tool for both today and the future.

    Citizens Bank offers two HELOC choices — a standard HELOC and the GoalBuilder HELOC. The standard is your go-to for larger needs, while the GoalBuilder, with a borrowing cap at $25,000, is perfect for smaller projects or emergencies.


    • Quick and simplified application process through Citizens FastLine
    • Dedicated support via call center and assigned loan processor
    • No home appraisal is required in most cases
    • No application fees, annual fee or closing costs for the GoalBuilder HELOC
    • GoalBuilder HELOC offers lower borrowing amounts for smaller projects


    • No fixed-rate option available
    • Doesn’t disclose minimum credit score or income requirements upfront
    • Limited availability, as this lender doesn't serve all states
    • Standard HELOC has an annual fee after the first year
    • Limited to certain property types and lien positions
    Citizens Bank

Features of Citizens Bank’s HELOC

With a Citizens Bank HELOC, you unlock a realm of possibilities, whether it's merging debts, upgrading your home or managing big bills. The bank sets clear expectations on fees, so you know what’s coming. You’ll find specified draw and repayment periods, making budget planning simpler. Their customer service team is also there to guide you whenever you have questions. Diving into these features can help you gauge if Citizens aligns with your financial needs, ensuring your HELOC journey is smooth and supported.

How Citizens Bank Allows Borrowers to Use Funds

Different lenders have their own set of rules on how you can use the funds. Knowing the specifics of Citizens Bank's HELOC is important when determining whether it’s the right lender for your needs. This lender allows borrowers to utilize their HELOCs in the following ways:

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    Home Improvements

    Citizens Bank’s HELOC provides the financial backing to enhance your home while potentially increasing its value.

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    Debt Consolidation

    Juggling multiple debts? Consolidate them into one manageable payment with a HELOC, which could lower your monthly financial strain.

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    Fund Significant Life Events

    Whether it's a wedding or a milestone anniversary, a HELOC can provide the funds to celebrate major life events without financial hitches.

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    Life's unpredictable. Having a HELOC means having a financial cushion for unforeseen events, like medical emergencies.

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    Education Costs

    Invest in your future or your child’s education. A HELOC from Citizens Bank can cover tuition fees and related educational expenses.

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    Major Purchases

    Be it a car or high-end appliances, manage major purchases effortlessly with the financial flexibility a HELOC offers.

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    Create a Steady Cash Flow

    For freelancers or those with irregular income, a HELOC can provide a steady cash flow during lean periods, bridging financial gaps.

Fees and Discounts With a Citizens Bank HELOC

The absence of common fees like application, origination and prepayment penalty fees means fewer financial hurdles along your journey. Unlike many lenders, Citizens Bank also allows you to pay off your line of credit early without any penalties — a liberating feature for those keen on reducing their debt sooner. The lack of a late fee indicates that this lender understands that sometimes life throws curveballs and that payments might be delayed. This empathetic approach aligns with the bank's ethos of customer-centric practices.

Even beyond the first year, the annual fee is modest at $50, and if you opt for the GoalBuilder HELOC, it’s waived entirely. The offer to shave off 0.25% from your rate through automatic payments from a Citizens checking account (or auto-withdrawal from any checking account, depending on your location) provides an additional opportunity for savings.

Draw and Repayment Periods

Your HELOC journey begins with a 10-year draw period; during this time, you can borrow money as needed. During this phase, you have the flexibility to either make interest-only payments or pay both interest and principal. Opting for the former makes your monthly bill lighter. However, it doesn’t help in building home equity since you're not reducing the amount you owe.

As this draw period wraps up, a 15-year repayment term unfolds. Your outstanding balance morphs into a principal and interest monthly payment. Even if the interest rate remains steady, expect your monthly payment to climb, as you’re now chipping away at both the interest and the amount borrowed.

A point to consider is the variable APR feature of Citizens Bank’s HELOC. If you choose interest-only payments during the draw period and the rates increase, you might find yourself paying more in interest over time.

Loan Amounts and Interest Rates

Citizens Bank applies a variable interest rate for its home equity line of credit (HELOC), which means your interest rate can change over time with market conditions. While this could offer lower interest rates initially, remember that it also brings a degree of uncertainty, as your rate and monthly payment can fluctuate.

Citizens Bank opens doors to HELOCs starting as low as $17,500. The upper limit isn’t clearly stated on the lender's website, but it hinges on a few factors. Your home equity, credit score and debt-to-income ratio play pivotal roles in the amount you can secure.

GoalBuilder HELOC

A standard Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) and the Citizens GoalBuilder® HELOC provide access to funds using your home's equity, yet they cater to different financial scenarios. The GoalBuilder HELOC shines for more affordable borrowing, especially when stacked against most credit cards and personal loans. A GoalBuilder HELOC lets you borrow up to $25,000. This way, you can manage today's expenditures while keeping your longer-term savings intact.

Here's a glimpse into the GoalBuilder HELOC specifics:

  • Borrowing range: $5,000 to $25,000, available for any reason at any time.
  • Time frame: 10 years to use the funds, with an additional 15 years to pay them back.
  • Accessibility: Easy access to funds via mobile banking, online banking or supplied checks.
  • Fees: None (application fee, origination fee, annual fee or prepayment penalties)
  • Interest: No prepayment penalty and no interest charged on any amount you don't use.

Citizens Bank offers a blend of flexibility and affordability with GoalBuilder. With a 10-year span to use the funds and a 15-year repayment term, managing your financial obligations becomes less daunting.

Customer Service

When addressing any concerns or inquiries about your HELOC, Citizens Bank offers several avenues to get the support you need, including over the phone and in person.

Citizens Bank offers the following hotlines for phone support:

  • Home Equity and Loan Applications Teams: (800) 340-5626.
  • Consumer Finance Servicing Department: (800) 708-6680, available Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. EST, and Saturday and Sunday, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

If you prefer in-person support, locate the nearest Citizens Bank branch on their website and schedule an appointment to have a face-to-face discussion with an adviser.

Eligibility Criteria

Understanding Citizen Bank's eligibility requirements can help improve your chances of being approved for a HELOC. This lender considers three primary areas during the approval process: your credit score, which reflects your financial behavior; the type of property and the equity you have in it, which act as your loan's backing; and your income and employment status, which shows repayment reliability. Ensuring you have these in order can set you up for a smoother application process.

Minimum Credit Score

Citizens Bank doesn't disclose its minimum credit score requirement on its website, which isn't uncommon among lenders. However, the higher your score, the more favorable your loan terms will likely be. But, even if your credit history shows a few missteps, it's not a complete roadblock. What's more important is that your credit history reflects a consistent effort and capability to repay on time.

If your credit score is low, Citizens Bank offers the option to apply with a co-applicant. Utilizing a co-applicant can improve your eligibility, potentially leading to lower interest rates and higher loan amounts. However, keep in mind that utilizing a co-applicant comes with shared responsibility. Both of you will be tethered to the loan, and both your credit scores will be affected if you can’t meet repayment obligations.

Property Type and Home Equity

In order to access a HELOC from Citizens Bank, your property needs to be in one of the 29 states this bank serves or in the District of Columbia. Eligible properties include owner-occupied one to four-family homes, condominiums, second homes and vacation homes.

Unfortunately, investment properties, co-ops, mobile homes or manufactured homes don't qualify. A 90-day market break is needed before applying if your home was recently for sale. The bank doesn’t specify a minimum required equity, but a typical lender looks for at least 15% to 20% equity in your home. Property insurance is also crucial; you might need specialized coverage, like flood insurance, depending on your location.

Income and Employment

Steady income and stable employment assure Citizens Bank of your ability to manage and repay your loan over time. The latter means more than a long tenure at your current job, although that can be favorable. It also encompasses a consistent work history over the past few years, even if you've changed employers. This consistency reflects financial stability and reliability, which could improve your chances of approval for a HELOC.

While Citizens Bank doesn't specify a minimum income requirement, they do consider your debt-to-income ratio (DTI). DTI shows how well you juggle your monthly debts against your income. Through examining your DTI, the bank gauges your ability to take on and repay the new debt from a HELOC.

Who Citizens Bank Serves Best

Choosing the right lender for your HELOC is a significant step. Assessing if Citizens Bank aligns with your needs can lead to a smoother loan experience and help you understand what to expect. Delve into Citizens Bank’s offerings and compare it with your needs and financial stance to make an informed decision that benefits you in the long run.

Who Can Benefit from a HELOC from Citizens Bank

Citizens Bank may be a fitting choice for those who value speed and efficiency in their financial dealings. Their FastLine service streamlines the HELOC application process, making it possible to receive a personalized offer in less than two minutes and close a deal in as little as seven days. This rapid turnaround is ideal for individuals who prefer to avoid the hassle of lengthy paperwork.

In addition to efficiency, Citizens Bank caters to those who seek supportive financial guidance. With a dedicated call center and personal loan processor, the bank ensures homeowners have a knowledgeable team to assist them throughout their HELOC journey. This level of personalized support can be particularly beneficial for those who appreciate having expert advice readily available.

Citizens Bank is also accommodating for those looking for smaller loan amounts. Through its GoalBuilder HELOC, the bank offers loans ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, making it an excellent option for individuals or families looking to manage smaller financial projects without overextending their resources. This tailored approach allows for more manageable debt levels and could be particularly attractive for those undertaking modest home improvements or facing unforeseen expenses.

Who Shouldn’t Secure a HELOC from Citizens Bank

Certain borrower profiles might find that Citizens Bank doesn't align with their needs. For instance, those who prefer the predictability of fixed-rate financial products might be deterred by Citizens Bank's exclusive offering of variable rates for their HELOCs. The fluctuating nature of these rates can introduce uncertainty into monthly budgeting, especially in a volatile market.

Additionally, geographic limitations could be a deciding factor. Citizens Bank extends its HELOC services to residents of 29 states and Washington, D.C. Individuals outside these regions would need to look elsewhere to meet their home equity financing needs.

Transparency is another consideration. Citizens Bank does not provide upfront information regarding HELOC applicants' credit score and income requirements. For those who prioritize clear eligibility criteria before beginning the application process, this lack of information might prompt them to seek lenders who offer a clearer outline of their borrowing prerequisites.

How to Apply

Getting a HELOC from Citizens Bank is a streamlined process. Knowing the steps you'll walk through not only eases the journey but also sets clear expectations, which is comforting when diving into financial commitments.

Start with Citizens FastLine

This tech-savvy tool swiftly collects essential data like your income and property details, presenting a personalized offer in two to three minutes. It's a leap toward reducing the usual paperwork and speeding up the application process.

Choose How to Apply

Flexibility shines here. Apply from the comfort of your home, on your mobile device or by visiting a local branch. Each pathway is designed for your convenience.

Accept the Offer

Once you and the bank negotiate an offer that meets your needs, accepting it sets the wheels in motion. Citizens Bank aims to close the deal in as few as seven days.

Engage with Support

If you have questions, contact the bank's dedicated call center. Additionally, a loan processor will be your companion through this phase, ensuring a swift closing and guiding you to the funds awaiting you in as little as two weeks.

How to Deal With a Denied Application

A denial on your HELOC application with Citizens Bank can be a tough pill to swallow. But you can turn this moment into an educational experience and use it towards better financial decisions. Here are some steps to consider to keep your financial journey on track.

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    Understand Denial Reasons

    Determine the reason behind your denial — it's your roadmap to improvement. This understanding can spotlight the areas you need to work on.

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    Improve Eligibility

    Roll up your sleeves and work on the areas that led to your denial, whether by improving your credit score, reducing your debt or increasing your income. These actions don’t just polish your profile for Citizens Bank but for any lender.

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    Once you’ve buffed up your financial profile, reapplying is an option. However, ensure that the improvements align with the Citizens Bank’s requirements. Double-check that all the information you provide is accurate to avoid any further delays.

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    Explore Alternative Financing Options

    If reapplying isn’t an option, explore other financing avenues, like personal loans, other home equity products or peer-to-peer lending. Different lenders have varying criteria — you might qualify with another, even if Citizens Bank denied you.

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    Seek Financial Counseling

    A financial counselor can provide a fresh, professional perspective on your financial situation. They can help tailor a plan to improve your eligibility and guide you on alternative financing.

Each step post-denial is a stride towards financial wisdom and better opportunities. So, take a breath, learn from the experience and keep moving forward.

FAQ About Using Citizens Bank as a HELOC Lender

Assessing if Citizens Bank is the best HELOC lender involves asking many questions. We answered the most common ones to provide information to help you choose the best lender.

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

About Christopher Boston

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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.