Bank of America Mortgage Review for 2021

Bank of America is a massive lender with uncommonly low mortgage rates. Here are the 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
  • No USDA loans or home equity loans

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.


Bank of America mortgage rates

Bank of America’s mortgage rates tend to be a little lower than average.

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 mortgage origination fee, depending on your membership tier.

Average 30-year mortgage rates at major lenders

 
Bank of America
Wells Fargo
Quicken Loans
Chase
Average 30-Year Interest Rate, 2019
4.05% 4.22% 4.16% 4.22%
Monthly P&I Payment*
$961 $980 $973 $980
Median Loan Costs, 2019
$3,918 $3,484 $5,075 $3,440
Median Origination Charge, 2019
$1,265 $1,199 $2,805 $1,279

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.

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

*Monthly principal and interest payment based on a $250,000 home price, with 20% down, at each company’s average 30-year interest rate for 2019. Your own rate and monthly payment will vary.

Verify your new rate (May 13th, 2021)

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 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.

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 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 pre-approval

If you’re considering a mortgage from Bank of America, you’ll start by getting “pre-approved” for the loan.

A pre-approval shows you what kind of loan and interest rate you qualify for, as well as the amount you’re approved to borrow. Unlike pre-qualification, pre-approval 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 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 service reviews

Bank of America has an overall above-average reputation for customer service, according to J.D. Power’s 2020 customer satisfaction survey.

Company
Mortgage Originations 2019
CFPB Complaints
Complaints per 1,000 Mortgages
2020 JD Power Rating
Bank of America
466,552 245 0.53 860/1,000
Wells Fargo 
1,026,800 342 0.33 840/1,000
Quicken Loans
774,900 187 0.24 883/1,000
Chase
527,600 188 0.36 860/1,000

Bank of America mortgage complaints 

In 2019, Bank of America received 245 official complaints from mortgage customers. To put that in perspective, Bank of America underwrote a total of 466,552 mortgage loans in 2019. So it received approximately one complaint for every 2,000 mortgage customers.

That’s a higher number of complaints than many other big-name mortgage lenders, but still fairly low overall. 

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-rate mortgage, 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 Housing Administration let you buy with a down payment as low as 3.5%, 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 conforming mortgages allow (typically for loan amounts above $548,250)
  • Affordable Loan Solution mortgage — This proprietary mortgage lets you buy with just 3% 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.

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.

Refinance loan options and home equity loans at BofA

Borrowers can refinance an existing mortgage using the mortgage products above, assuming they qualify. Lower-rate loans or loans with shorter terms can save money on interest.

Bank of America offers a home equity line of credit (HELOC) for homeowners who’d like to borrow against their home’s value. During its draw period, a HELOC works like a credit card backed by home equity. Interest rates will vary with the market.

Bank of America does not offer a fixed home equity loan.

Homeowners can also tap equity with a cash-out refinance loan from BofA. A cash-out refi replaces an existing mortgage with a larger loan. After paying off the existing loan, homeowners can use the additional funds for home improvement, debt consolidation, or any other purpose.

Check your refinance eligibility (May 13th, 2021)

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 2020 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% 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 are current mortgage rates at Bank of America?

In 2019, Bank of America had an average 30-year interest rate of just 4.05%, according to self-reported data. By comparison, competing banks like Wells Fargo and Chase had average rates of 4.22%. But every customer will be offered a unique rate depending on their credit score, down payment, purchase price, and other factors. So you’ll have to get a personalized quote from Bank of America to see if its rates are competitive for you.

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 only to FHA loans. For a conventional loan from Bank of America, you’ll need a credit score of at least 620. And its VA loans require 660 or higher. In addition, most BofA mortgages require debt-to-income ratios below 43%.

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 pre-approval 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 pre-approval will show sellers you’re able to make a serious offer for their home. Getting pre-approved means you’ve submitted documents proving your income and employment history.

Does Bank of America require mortgage insurance?

Conforming loans with less than 20% down require private mortgage insurance (PMI) premiums until the borrower pays down the balance to 80% of the purchase price. FHA loans require upfront mortgage insurance fees and ongoing mortgage insurance premiums for the life of the loan unless the buyer puts 10% 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.  

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 one in every 2,000 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.

Verify your new rate (May 13th, 2021)

Compare to These Lenders

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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