Bank of America Mortgage Review for 2020

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

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

Bank of America mortgage rates tend to a 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 origination fee, depending on your membership tier.

 
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 (Sep 22nd, 2020)

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 type of loan program you use, and your current loan balance. So if you’re considering a mortgage refinance with Bank of America, make sure you check rates from a couple other lenders, too, to find the best rate. 

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 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.

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 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, 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, personal and business 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. 

Bank America 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 “average” reputation for customer service, according to J.D. Power’s 2019 customer survey.

Company
Mortgage Originations 2019
CFPB Complaints
Complaints per 1,000 Mortgages
2019 JD Power Rating
Bank of America
466,552 245 0.53 843/1,000
Wells Fargo 
1,026,800 342 0.33 837/1,000
Quicken Loans
774,900 187 0.24 880/1,000
Chase
527,600 188 0.36 850/1,000

Of course, customer service varies depending on your individual loan officer and experience.

So if you see an exceptionally low rate from Bank of America, don’t let the average reviews dissuade you. Chat with a loan officer and see for yourself whether you like working with Bank of America.

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 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 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 $510,400)
  • 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.

Bank of America FAQ

Is Bank of America good for mortgages?

Bank of America is a good option for a mortgage or refinance. Although it may not stand out for customer service (it scores “average” in JD Power’s customer survey), 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 a 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.

Bank of America 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, 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.

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.

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.

Map showing Bank of America mortgage availability. Bank of America is licensed in all 50 states and has branches in 37 states.

Dark blue states have one or more Bank of America branch locations. Light blue states do not.

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.

Verify your new rate (Sep 22nd, 2020)

Compare to These Lenders

Minimum down payment: 3%
Minimum credit score: 620
Minimum down payment: 3.5%
Minimum credit score: 620
Minimum down payment: 3%
Minimum credit score: 600
  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.