The Bottom Line: Bank of America has lots of loan options, but has room for improvement when it comes to customer satisfaction.
Pros & Cons
Allows borrowers to apply entirely online.
Offers down payment and closing cost assistance programs.
Accepts alternative credit data for some loan types.
May give existing customers a discount on mortgage lender origination fees.
No online preapproval.
Charges an application fee of $1,170, on average.
Has a high volume of consumer complaints, even for a big national bank.
It’s one of the largest banks in the world, but Bank of America doesn’t want to be known just for its mammoth size. Then again, being one of the biggest does have its advantages, especially in mortgage lending.
Bank of America provides multiple loan options, high-tech customer service and a step-by-step walk-through of the underwriting process as it works to make getting a mortgage easier, says John Schleck, senior vice president for centralized and online lending.
Let’s take a look at how Bank of America Mortgage stacks up.
Bank of America mortgage products
The Charlotte, North Carolina-based lender offers a wide range of purchase and refinance loans, including 15-, 20- and 30-year fixed-rate loans and adjustable-rate mortgages with 5/1, 7/1 and 10/1 terms. It also issues jumbo loans up to $5 million and government-insured mortgage products such as Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veterans Affairs (VA) loans.
Bank of America also offers several programs designed to make homeownership more affordable for lower income and first-time home buyers, including:
Up to $10,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance (beginning mid-2019).
Up to $7,500 in lender credit for expenses like title insurance and recording fees.
Two mortgage products with 3% minimum down payments: the Affordable Loan Solution mortgage and the Freddie Mac Home Possible mortgage.
Bank of America mortgage process
Bank of America’s digital mortgage experience allows you to apply, get pre-qualified and lock your interest rate online through its website or mobile app. If you’re already a banking customer, the digital application will auto-populate with your contact information and financial data, reducing the time it takes to apply. If you prefer to apply over the phone or in-person at a Bank of America branch, those options exist as well.
Bank of America’s Home Loan Navigator portal helps borrowers stay plugged in throughout the lending process. After an initial consultation with a loan officer for preapproval, you can upload documents, download loan disclosures, track the progress of your loan and e-sign required paperwork. The bank also offers in-house video conferencing with loan officers at another branch if one isn’t on site, Schleck says.
To help more borrowers qualify, Bank of America considers alternative credit data such as utility and rent payments for some of its loan products — a departure from the traditional underwriting model. This shift represents a “holistic picture” approach toward clients’ finances, Schleck says. Nontraditional forms of credit are typically used if your credit history is sparse.
Bank of America rates and fees
The lender’s website displays interest rates for several of its fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgage products, along with the annual percentage rate, any discount point assumptions and an estimated monthly payment. You can enter your purchase price, down payment and ZIP code to see more customized rates. Bank of America offers free, 90-day rate locks on purchase loans.
Bank of America says its application fee is $1,170 on average, though it varies by state. Typical origination fees, along with other closing costs, can run from 2% to 5% of the loan amount. But if you’re already a Bank of America customer, you may qualify for a reduction of $200 to $600 in the mortgage lender origination fee.
» MORE: What is an origination fee?
NerdWallet's star ratings for mortgage lenders are awarded based on our evaluation of the products and services that lenders offer to consumers who are actively shopping for the best mortgage. The six key areas we evaluated include the loan types and loan products offered, online capabilities, online mortgage rate information, customer service and the number of complaints filed with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as a percentage of loans issued. We also awarded lenders up to one bonus star for a unique program or borrower focus that set them apart from other lenders. To ensure consistency, our ratings are reviewed by multiple people on the NerdWallet Mortgages team.