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The Best Home Equity Loan Lenders of 2019
Editorial Note: The content of this article is based on the author’s opinions and recommendations alone. It may not have been previewed, commissioned or otherwise endorsed by any of our network partners.
One of the benefits of homeownership is the ability to build equity. Home equity is the difference between your loan balance and the value of your home — and you can access this equity from time to time with a variety of loan products.
One way is with a home equity loan, also referred to as a second mortgage because they are borrowed on top of the first mortgage you already have. You can use a home equity loan to consolidate debt or make home improvements.
LendingTree reviewed data from hundreds of lenders that offer 30-year fixed-rate home equity loans to come up with the top five lenders of 2019. Our ratings are based primarily on the interest rate terms offered to borrowers on LendingTree over the last 12 months. Then, we take into account the quality of information each lender provides on their websites. You can read up on our full methodology below.
Here are the top five lenders for 30-year fixed-rate home equity loan lenders in 2019.
| Third Federal Savings and Loan
Third Federal Savings and Loan is a federally chartered bank providing conventional home mortgages in 25 states and Washington D.C. The bank was founded in 1938, and has branch offices in Ohio and Florida.
Third Federal offered a median 30-year fixed home equity loan rate of 5.125% on the LendingTree platform.
The bank’s website has a page dedicated to mortgage programs, highlighting a few loan types but providing little information about specific program offerings like conventional, FHA or VA loans. There is also an informative section about jumbo loans, plus several informational articles about purchase and refinance mortgages, helpful do’s and don’ts and mortgage calculators.
There is an “Apply today” button on the homepage, however, you have to click around a drop-down menu to get to the purchase or refinance options, which will then lead you to another page where you can fill out an online application.
| TIAA Bank
TIAA Bank was founded more than 20 years ago as EverBank, and offers mortgage products along with a full line of standard banking products. It was acquired in 2017 by TIAA (Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America).
TIAA Bank offered a median rate of 5.125% for 30-year fixed home equity loans on the LendingTree platform.
The homepage features a navigation bar that a customer can browse for mortgage-related information. Basic information about buying a home, refinancing and getting a home equity loan can be found by clicking on the “Lending” drop-down menu and selecting “Mortgage solutions.”
The “Lending” drop-down also takes the customer to an “In the Know” column with a “Home Matters Insights” series, comprised of in-depth articles about topics such as buying versus renting, things to avoid before applying for a mortgage and other informative topics related to homebuying and refinancing.
There were no financial calculators, but the “Apply now” button was prominently displayed on each information page, making it easy for a customer to begin the application process at any point while browsing the site.
| Axos Bank
Axos Bank originally opened in 2000 under the name Bank of Internet USA as a digital bank offering basic checking accounts. Axos now offers a full range of standard banking products as well as mortgages, and is headquartered in San Diego.
Axos Bank offered a median 30-year home equity loan rate of 5.146% on the LendingTree platform.
The landing page features Buying a home and Refinance tabs with basic information to help customers understand both topics. These pages also feature additional articles and tools for more in-depth knowledge of the benefits and costs of different loan types, as well as explanations for the mortgage products Axos Bank offers.
The “Apply now” button is easy to find on these pages, and consumers have the option to get an instant rate quote, apply online, or learn more about a particular subject.
| Caliber Home Loans
Caliber Home Loans started in 2008 and is licensed in 50 states to offer home equity products, FHA, VA, and USDA loans, as well as jumbo loans up to $2.5 million.
Caliber Home Loans offered a median 30-year home equity loan rate of 5.25% on the LendingTree platform.
The Caliber Home Loans homepage provides extensive information about loan types and programs, as well as informational articles about topics related to homebuying and refinancing. The Tools and Resources section provides mortgage calculators, FAQs and even a weekly market commentary report that gives readers an idea of which way interest rates are headed.
There is an “Apply now” button with a link to an online application.
| U.S. Bank
U.S. Bank originally started as First National Bank of Cincinnati in 1863. Besides mortgages, Minnesota-based U.S. Bank offers traditional consumer and business banking products.
U.S. Bank offered a median 30-year home equity loan rate of 5.25% on the LendingTree platform.
The homepage has two tab links related to mortgages on the homepage: a Buy a Home tab and Use Your Equity. Basic loan program information is not easy to find because it doesn’t appear unless the “Compare options” button is clicked.
There are also informational articles discussing important details that homebuyers and homeowners can use to learn about purchase and refinance loan options.
There is no “Apply now” button on the main website landing page, but there is an “Apply for a mortgage” link that can be found after clicking on the “Buy a home” button.
How we choose our “best” lenders
Our “best” winners aren’t chosen based on rate alone, but also with a unique rating developed by our editorial staff called “Online Information Quality,” or OIQ. We’ve taken extra time to review the information you can access online, including how easy it is to access loan product information, use mortgage tools like mortgage calculators and fill out a loan application.
To determine the best 30-year fixed-rate home equity lenders, we analyzed data from actual loan terms offered by lenders to borrowers on LendingTree. We chose the top five lenders by rate for the last 12 months. Then we selected for lenders that originate mortgages in at least 25 states. From that list, we gave each lender an OIQ rating based on answers to the following when accessing the lender’s main website. One point was given for each yes answer.
Is there general product information on the website?
If the website features both basic terms of the loan (30-year, 15-year, adjustable rates) and program offerings (FHA, Conventional, FHA, VA), it scores a full point.
Is the general home loan information easy to find?
If the information is available within two clicks on the homepage, it scores an extra point, since a consumer will be able to get the information easily without having to search extensively through the site.
Are there any education tools (e.g. loan calculators) on the page or at least one click away from the homepage?
Mortgage calculators, home value estimators and other tools help consumers to make educated decisions, so landing pages that feature them score an additional OIQ point.
Is it easy to find the “apply now” button?
Mortgage users in the digital age want a quick online way to apply for a mortgage, so if the “Apply now” button is easy to find on the homepage, the consumer can apply and proceed to the next step in the mortgage process.
The information in this article is accurate as of the date of publishing.
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