Navy Federal Credit Union HELOC Review 2023
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The bottom line:
Navy Federal Credit Union’s home equity line of credit, or HELOC, stands out for its long draw period (at 20 years, it’s twice as long as most) and a high combined loan-to-value ratio of 95%. However, you’ll have to join the credit union, and the minimum draw amount is $10,000. Borrowers must be current or former military personnel, their immediate family members, or Department of Defense employees.
Pros & Cons
- Long draw period of 20 years.
- High CLTV of 95%.
- No origination or annual fee.
- Minimum draw of $10,000.
- The only payback term length available is 20 years.
- No rate discounts available.
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Navy Federal Credit Union HELOC rates and discounts
Most home equity line of credit, or HELOC, interest rates are indexed to a base rate called the prime rate. The annual percentage rate, or APR, that you’re offered will include a margin the lender has added to the prime rate. Offered margins depend largely on factors such as credit score, existing debt and the amount you wish to borrow, but they will vary by lender.
Current prime rate
Prime rate last month
Prime rate in the past year — low
Prime rate in the past year — high
The lender is transparent about minimum HELOC rates, but they don’t currently offer an option to browse customized rates. On the day we checked, the lender’s lowest APR offering was 0.25% above prime, a rate that requires you to pay at least 1% of the principal balance during the draw period. The lender’s interest-only option had a minimum rate of 1.25% above prime. At this time, Navy Federal Credit Union does not offer any rate discounts.
» MORE: A closer look at HELOC rates
Applying for a Navy Federal Credit Union HELOC
The application can be completed entirely online or over the phone. For borrowers who prefer an in-person experience, Navy Federal Credit Union has 350 branch locations, including overseas locations.
Navy Federal Credit Union has 24/7 customer service support, which can be especially useful for members who are stationed abroad. We were able to connect with a mortgage advisor on the phone almost immediately.
When we tried their live chat feature, we connected with a representative within minutes. She was able to quickly and thoroughly answer all of our questions.
Closing and managing a Navy Federal Credit Union HELOC
According to a representative we spoke with over the phone, HELOC applications are processed within 60 days. The credit union’s website estimates up to 55 calendar days to close a HELOC after you apply, something to consider if you need funds sooner. Navy Federal services all of its own loans, and all payments will always be made directly to the lender.
Borrowers with HELOCs will receive checks, a card linked to the account, and the option to transfer money from the account online. You could pay just the interest during the 20-year draw period, but your rate will be lower if you pay at least 1% of the principal balance during this time. According to a representative, borrowers have a 20-year period to pay it back.
» MORE: Best HELOC lenders
Alternatives to a Navy Federal Credit Union HELOC
Borrowers who are interested in a credit union tailored to the needs of government employees may want to explore getting a HELOC from PenFed Credit Union. For borrowers who are interested in taking advantage of a fixed-rate option, Bank of America’s HELOC can be a strong choice.
HELOCs offer a flexible way to access home equity over a period of time and pay interest only on the funds you withdraw. However, rising interest rates can bump up your monthly payment and, as with credit cards, it takes discipline to avoid overspending.
Alternatives to home equity lines of credit include a home equity loan, which offers a lump sum with a fixed rate or a cash-out refinance, which replaces your existing mortgage with a larger loan.
Navy Federal Credit Union offers a home equity loan, as well as a cash-out refinance option.
NerdWallet’s HELOC star ratings are awarded by the editorial team based on the following evaluated factors: whether a fixed-rate option is available, combined loan-to-value ratio, annual fees and transparency on key factors.