Bank of America Mortgage Review for 2022

Bank of America is a massive lender with uncommonly low mortgage rates. Here are the pros and cons to consider before applying.

Bank of America
Minimum down payment3%
Minimum credit score600
Loan Products Offered

Conventional mortgages
Jumbo mortgages
FHA and VA mortgages
Affordable Loan Solution mortgages
HELOCs

Best Features

  • Low mortgage rates on average
  • Offers down payment assistance for eligible home buyers
  • Well developed website and mobile functionality

Drawbacks

  • Customer satisfaction scores are mixed
  • Branches are not evenly spread, some states have none
  • No USDA loans or home equity loans

Overview

With 67 million customers and over 4,000 branches, Bank of America definitely qualifies as a major bank and mortgage lender.

And within the category of "big banks," Bank of America performs decently well 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.


Bank of America mortgage rates

Bank of America mortgage rates tend to be lower than average compared to other major lenders. And current Bank of America account holders may get especially good deals. If you’re a Preferred Rewards customer, you can expect to see $200 to $600 knocked off your mortgage origination fee, depending on your membership tier.

Average mortgage rates at major lenders

Bank of AmericaRocket MortgageWells FargoFreedom Mortgage
Avg 30-Yr Interest Rate, 202112.80%3.00%3.14%2.66%
Median Total Loan Costs, 20211$3,716$4,670$3,600$3,880
Median Origination Fee, 20211$1,197$2,430$1,330$0

Average rate and fee data were sourced from public rate and fee records required by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA).

Bank of America publishes its daily rates online, and the lender will quote current rates for fixed and variable-rate mortgages. However, some of the mortgage interest rates advertised make assumptions. Most importantly, they may assume you’re going to buy “discount points" at closing. Discount points let you pay more upfront for a lower interest 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.

Bank of America mortgage refinance rates

Bank of America’s mortgage refinance rates are generally average or slightly lower compared to other big lenders. However, your own refinance rate will vary depending on your credit score, what refinance loan option you use, and your current loan balance.

If you’re considering a mortgage refinance with BofA, make sure you check rates from a couple other lenders, too, to find the best deal.

Bank of America mortgage review

Many borrowers will find much to like about Bank of America. If you want an online or mobile application, you can pretty much do it all with this lender’s website and Home Loan Navigator service. And if you prefer a face-to-face experience, Bank of America has a strong branch network.

Note that not all branches contain mortgage loan officers. Bank of America says roughly half of its over 4,000 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 location.

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 better than many.

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

If you’re considering a mortgage from Bank of America, you’ll start by getting preapproved for the loan. A preapproval shows you what kind of loan and interest rate you qualify for, as well as the amount you’re approved to borrow. Unlike prequalification, preapproval requires the lender to actually verify your information through documents.

To get a mortgage pre-approval from Bank of America, you’ll need to provide:

  • Copies of pay stubs that show your most recent 30 days of income
  • Bank account numbers or two most recent bank statements
  • W-2 statements and signed tax returns from the past two years
  • Down payment amount and desired mortgage amount

The company will also perform a credit check to make sure you meet the minimum credit score requirements for the type of mortgage you need. BofA says borrowers should receive their official pre-approval letter within 10 days of submitting their application.

Bank of America customer reviews

Bank of America has an overall above-average reputation for customer service, according to J.D. Power’s 2021 customer satisfaction survey.

However, in 2021, the bank received 283 official complaints from mortgage customers. That was approximately one complaint for every 1,000 mortgage customers. That’s a higher number of complaints than many other big-name mortgage underwriters, but still fairly low overall.

Customer service reviews at major lenders

CFPB Complaints, 20214Complaints Per 1,000 Mortgages, 20215J.D. Power Satisfaction Score, 20216
Bank of America2831.23859/1,000
Rocket Mortgage3760.24876/1,000
Wells Fargo4880.58832/1,000
Freedom Mortgage2620.35829/1,000

Mortgage options at Bank of America

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

  • Conventional mortgages: A loan conforming to guidelines set by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. First-time home buyers can often get approved with a 3% down payment. Although, any conventional loan with less than 20% down will require private mortgage insurance (PMI)
  • FHA loans: These loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration let you buy with a down payment as low as 3.5%, but they come with mortgage insurance premiums (MIP) 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 conforming mortgages allow — typically for loan amounts above $. But even higher loan limits are available for expensive real estate markets, such as San Francisco or New York City
  • Affordable Loan Solution mortgage: This loan type has a low-down-payment option that lets you buy with just 3% down and no mortgage insurance. However, there are caps on income and loan limits to qualify
  • Fixed-rate mortgages (FRMs): As well as the standard 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, you can opt to borrow for 20 or 15 years. This type of loan is best for those who want regular monthly mortgage payments
  • 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. The lender’s standard variable-rate loan is the 5y/6m ARM, which has a fixed interest rate for the first five years, after which your rate could adjust once every six months
  • Doctor loans: This loan type has flexible approval guidelines, and it’s designed with medical professionals in mind. For example, student loan debt may be excluded from an applicant’s debt-to-income ratio (DTI)

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 just 3% down and no mortgage insurance is rare, except for those eligible for VA loans.

Some borrowers can use the USDA loan program to buy with no down payment, but they’ll have to look elsewhere. Bank of America is not an authorized USDA lender.

Bank of America down payment assistance

One unique perk of working with Bank of America is that the bank has its own proprietary down payment assistance (DPA) programs. The America’s Home Grant program can offer up to $7,500 toward your closing costs, while the Down Payment Grant program can offer up to 3% of the home purchase price or $10,000, whichever is less, in select markets. Neither of these programs requires repayment.

Many other lenders are willing to work with state and local DPA programs, but few offer their own in-house grants. This can help simplify the process for first-time home buyers who qualify for Bank of America’s home buying assistance.

Refinancing with Bank of America

In addition to home purchase loans, Bank of America Mortgage offers mortgage refinancing. Borrowers can choose between several options to lower their monthly payments, own their homes sooner, or tap their equity.

  • Rate-and-term refinance: Exchange your original mortgage with a new one that offers more favorable loan terms or a lower interest rate
  • Cash-out refinance: Access your home equity by replacing your current mortgage with a new, larger loan amount, and then receiving the difference as a lump sum of cash.

Lower-rate loans or loans with shorter terms can save money on interest.

Bank of America HELOCs

Bank of America Mortgage offers a home equity line of credit (HELOC) for homeowners who’d like to borrow against their home’s value. However, it does not offer a fixed-rate home equity loan.

During its draw period, a HELOC works like a credit card backed by home equity. The standard HELOC with Bank of America comes with a 10-year draw period followed by a 20-year repayment period.

Interest rates will vary with the market, but Bank of America offers several rate discounts that can help lower your costs. You can earn a discount for enrolling in auto pay from an eligible Bank of America account or for making a large withdrawal at the time of account opening. Members of the bank’s Preferred Rewards program will enjoy a further discount, depending on their membership tier.

Bank of America HELOC requirements

  • Borrow up to 90% of your home’s equity. The maximum loan-to-value ratio is 90%
  • Loan amounts between $15,000 and $1 million, subject to creditworthiness
  • No application fees, closing costs, or annual fee

The lender doesn’t publish its HELOC credit score requirements, but expect to need excellent credit to get the best terms.

Where can you get a mortgage with Bank of America?

Borrowers in all 50 states can apply for 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.

Bank of America FAQ

Is Bank of America good for mortgages?

Bank of America is a good option for a mortgage or refinance. It may not stand out for customer service (though it scores above-average in JD Power’s 2021 customer survey), but it does have lower rates on average than many other big lenders.

Does Bank of America offer first-time home buyer loans?

Bank of America has special mortgage and grant programs to help first time home buyers. Its Affordable Loan Solution mortgage lets you buy with just 3 percent down and NO private mortgage insurance. That’s a perk that’s tough to find elsewhere. BofA also has two down payment assistance programs, offering up to $7,500 or $10,000 toward buyers’ down payment and/or closing costs. Available in select areas, these programs can be combined with a low-down-payment mortgage to make home buying even more affordable for first time buyers.

Does Bank of America pay closing costs?

Bank of America has one program to help home buyers with their closing costs. Called America’s Home Grant, it offers up to $7,500 toward any one-time closing costs. This is given as a grant that doesn’t require repayment. Speak with a Bank of America loan officer to find out whether you qualify for this assistance.

What credit score does Bank of America require for a mortgage?

Bank of America requires a minimum credit score of 600 to qualify for a mortgage. That applies to VA and FHA loans. For a conventional loan from Bank of America, you’ll need a credit score of at least 620. In addition, most BofA mortgages require debt-to-income ratios below 43 percent.

Why is Bank of America selling my mortgage?

It’s common practice for lenders to sell the mortgages they originate. Bank of America, like most other lenders, does the front-end work of setting up mortgages with borrowers. Then it sells those loans to investors on the secondary mortgage market, which brings in money to create new loans. The fact that Bank of America is selling your mortgage will not affect your loan terms or interest rate in any way. Changes can only be made to your mortgage if you refinance.

Is a preapproval the same as a pre-qualification with Bank of America?

Bank of America’s website invites customers to prequalify for a mortgage, and doing this can help show your price range. But only a mortgage preapproval will show sellers you’re able to make a serious offer for their home. Getting preapproved means you’ve submitted documents proving your income and employment history.

Does Bank of America require mortgage insurance?

Conforming loans with less than 20 percent down require private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums until the borrower pays down the balance to 80 percent of the home value. FHA loans require upfront mortgage insurance fees and ongoing mortgage insurance premiums for the life of the loan unless the buyer puts 10 percent or more down. In that case, MIP payments stop after 11 years. Buyers should factor the cost of mortgage insurance — as well as property taxes and homeowners insurance premiums — into their monthly payments as they compare loans.

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. 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 one 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.

Sources:

  1. Average mortgage rates and fees sourced from self-reported data mortgage lenders are required to file under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Rates and fees shown reflect the previous year’s data and may not align with today’s mortgage rates
  2. Monthly principal and interest payments calculated using TheMortgageReports.com mortgage calculator. Payments shown are based on a $200,000 loan amount and assume a “very good” credit score. Property taxes and homeowners insurance are not included. Your own monthly payment will vary
  3. Number of mortgage originations for the previous year sourced from self-reported data mortgage lenders are required to file under the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act
  4. CFPB Complaints reflect the number of mortgage origination or closing-related complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for the previous year
  5. Complaints per 1000 mortgages reflect the number of official complaints filed against a lender with the CFPB for the previous year, compared to the lender’s total number of mortgage originations for the previous year
  6. JD Power Rating reflects the company’s customer satisfaction score according to JD Power’s most recent Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study. Survey respondents score their lenders in four areas: application/approval process, communication, loan closing, and loan offerings