Bank of America Mortgage Lender Review

Bank of America is a massive lender, and highly rated for customer satisfaction. But as with all lenders, there are pros and cons to consider before applying.

Lending flexibility 4.5
Customer service 3.5
Ease of application 4.0
Online experience 4.5
Minimum down payment 3%
Minimum credit score 600
Loan Products Offered

Fixed-rate mortgage
Adjustable-rate mortgage
Jumbo mortgage
FHA mortgage
VA mortgage
Affordable Loan Solution mortgage

Best Features

  • Equally strong website and mobile functionality
  • Excellent customer satisfaction scores
  • Great selection of mortgages with competitive rates and closing costs

Drawbacks

  • Despite high customer satisfaction, receives more official complaints than some other lenders
  • Branches are not evenly spread, some states have none

Overview

With 66 million customers and 4,300 branches, Bank of America definitely qualifies as a major bank and mortgage lender.

And within the category of "big banks," Bank of America performs best for customer satisfaction. Borrowers score it "better than most" in J.D. Power's survey of mortgage originators.

So, if you enjoy the large lender experience, you should make sure Bank of America is on your shortlist.

Just make sure you compare rates and closing costs from a few other lenders, too. The best mortgage lender varies by customer, so you'll have to shop around to find yours.


Compare Bank of America mortgage rates

According to J.D. Power’s 2018 mortgage origination survey, customers are generally pleased with their mortgage rate and closing costs from Bank of America.

Current Bank of America account holders get especially good deals. If you’re a Preferred Rewards customer, you can expect to see $200-400 knocked off your origination fee, depending on your membership tier.

However, some of the rates advertised make assumptions. Most importantly, they may assume you’re going to buy “discount points” at closing.

Discount points let you pay more up front for a lower mortgage rate, and they’re very common.  But you need to compare apples with apples, so get proper quotes (“loan estimates”) from multiple lenders and see how Bank of America stacks up against those.

30-Year fixed-rate mortgage estimates at major banks

 
Bank of America
Quicken Loans
Chase
Wells Fargo
Interest Rate1
3.75% 3.99% 3.625% 3.75%
APR2
3.921% 4.247% 3.732% 3.853%
Mortgage Points3
0.422 1.875 1.304 0.25
Monthly P&I Payment
$889 $916 $876 $889

We compared Bank of America side-by-side with the biggest banks and lenders in the U.S., and found that its rates and monthly payments are about average for major lenders. However, average rates can differ based on the types of clients and programs a lender specializes in.

Rates shown here are current as of 10/21/2019. Monthly principal and interest payments are based on a home price of $240,000 and down payment of 20% for a home located in Washington.

These numbers are a snapshot meant for general comparison only. Your own mortgage costs will vary depending on your loan, your finances, the economy, and other factors.

Compare personalized rates from major lenders. Start here (Nov 22nd, 2019)

Bank of America mortgage review

Many borrowers will find much to like about Bank of America.

If you enjoy an online or mobile application, you can pretty much do it all with this lender’s website and Home Loan Navigator service.

If you prefer a face-to-face experience, Bank of America has a strong branch network.

Use Bank of America’s branch locator to find out whether there’s a home loan specialist near you

Note that not all branches contain loan officers. Bank of America says only 1,800 of its 4,300 bank locations are “lending centers.” And neither type of center is evenly spread across the country — so you may live a very long way from your nearest one.

That said, Bank of America scores better than other “big banks” for customer satisfaction, including Citi, PNC, Chase, and Wells Fargo.

Yet it gets more serious complaints from customers than some of its peers do, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFBP). This suggests that Bank of America’s customer service could be a bit hit or miss.

Working with Bank of America

Bank of America’s home loan website is modern, welcoming, informative and easy to navigate. It’s as good as most and way better than many.

Its online mortgage service, called Home Loan Navigator, lets you track your loan’s progress as well as electronically sign and upload documents in a secure environment.

Bank of America mortgage review online experience from The Mortgage Reports
Bank of America mortgage review online experience from The Mortgage Reports

Bank of America’s online mortgage application is helpful and easy to follow. Image: Bank of America

You can even access this service through the lender’s mobile banking app, letting you keep tabs on your mortgage application no matter where you are. Not all lenders offer this convenience.

These resources allow an end-to-end digital experience for customers who want one. And there’s always a lending specialist on the end of a phone to offer expert advice.

Bank of America customer service reviews

When it comes to customer satisfaction, Bank of America seems to have a bit of a Jekyll-and-Hyde reputation.

In the J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, it outdid all the other big banks. Indeed, it came fifth overall, with a score of 849 on a 1,000 scale.

Company
Mortgage Originations4 CFPB Complaints5 Complaints per 1,000 mortgages6 2018 JD Power Rating7
Bank of America
111,000 236 2.13 849/1,000
Quicken Loans
396,000 171 0.43 876/1,000
Chase
155,000 202 1.30 834/1,000
Wells Fargo
312,000 419 1.34 817/1,000

This score was significantly better than the industry average of 836, and earned Bank of America the title “better than most” for customer satisfaction. That’s a serious achievement.

And yet, Bank of America gets more complaints from its mortgage customers to federal regulator CFPB than most of its competitors do.

How can we square this circle? Well, nobody knows for sure why most Bank of America customers love it but so many complain. We can only guess that it’s because it generally does a great job. But, when it doesn’t, it causes a headache and might not handle complaints consistently well.

Mortgage loan products at Bank of America

Like most big banks, Bank of America has a good portfolio of mortgage products from which you can choose:

  • Fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs) — As well as the standard 30-year fixed interest rate term, you can opt to borrow for 20 or 15 years
  • Adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs) — Lets you fix your mortgage rate for the first five, seven, or ten years, after which it will float with the market
  • FHA loans — These loans backed by the federal government let you buy with a down payment as low as 3.5 percent, but they come with mortgage insurance payments every month
  • VA loans — Only active or former service members and their surviving spouses are eligible. Those that are can buy with $0 down and no mortgage insurance
  • Jumbo loans — When you want to borrow more than most types of mortgages allow (typically for loans above $484,350)
  • Affordable Loan Solution mortgage — This proprietary mortgage lets you buy with just three percent down payment and no mortgage insurance. However, there are caps on income and loan limits to qualify

Bank of America’s in-house loan, the Affordable Loan Solution mortgage, could be a good option if you have a low-to-moderate income and minimal savings.

Getting a loan with such a low down payment and no mortgage insurance is rare, except for those eligible for VA loans.

Where can you get a mortgage with Bank of America?

Anyone in the 50 states can get a mortgage from Bank of America online or over the phone. And millions will be close enough to a branch to engage in person with the lender.

The coasts are generally well served, as are many southern states. But plenty in the center and north of the country have few or no brick-and-mortar locations. So, as with all other lenders, your chances of having a face-to-face experience depend on your ZIP Code.

Others will find this bank’s online resources more than adequate for making and tracking their home loan application.

Is Bank of America the best mortgage lender for you? 

All in all, Bank of America fares very well compared to many other mortgage lenders. Its customer satisfaction levels are particularly impressive — especially for a lender in the “big bank” category.

The only real caveat is the relatively high number of complaints filed against Bank of America with the CFPB. But remember, “high” is still only two in every 1,000 customers.

If Bank of America’s price is right for you, this mortgage lender is a solid option. Find out whether it’s the right choice by comparing interest rates and closing costs from a few different lenders today.

Compare current rates from major lenders. Start here (Nov 22nd, 2019)

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  1. Interest Rate: The rate you pay in interest per year based on the current loan balance.
  2. APR: The total cost of getting the loan including the interest rate and closing costs.
  3. Discount Points: Mortgage points, also known as discount points, are fees paid directly to the lender at closing in exchange for a reduced interest rate. - Read More
  4. Mortgage Originations: The number of mortgages this lender closed. The most recent data available is from the 2017 Mortgage Market Activity and Trends, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), published May 2018.
  5. CFPB Complaints: The number of mortgage origination or closing related complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in 2018. We ignore complaints about issues that don't concern mortgage applications and closings, such as loan servicing, since some lenders don't service loans and therefore would have an unfair advantage in complaint numbers.
  6. Complaints per 1000 mortgages: The number of mortgage-related complaints compared to this lender's total mortgages originated. Due to data availability, we're comparing 2017 originations with 2018 complaints to arrive at the number of complaints per 1000 mortgages originated.
  7. JD Power Rating: On a 1,000 point scale, consumer insight company JD Power scores large banks across six factors: channel interactions, deposit accounts, credit accounts, investment accounts, convenience, and problem resolution.