Citibank offers both home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOC). The amount it can loan is less than most banks, and the loan-to-value ratio it requires is tighter, but it has excellent customer service, a smooth loan process in most cases, and competitive interest rates. Unlike most lenders, Citibank has different limits on home equity loans and HELOCs. For a home equity loan, you can borrow $10,000 to $100,000, while with HELOCs, the amount ranges from $25,000 to $200,000. Either way, these numbers are on the lower end of what you can borrow from other institutions.

Citibank does not allow a second home as collateral and in some states, only lets you collateralize a one- or two-family residence if you live in New York, Illinois, the District of Columbia, New Jersey and Maryland. HELOCs and loans are not offered for collateral properties in Alaska.

To qualify, your residence needs an LTV of 75 percent or less. The LTV, or loan-to-value ratio, is the amount you owe on your home divided by its value. Most home equity lenders allow an LTV of 80 percent or more. As far as fees, this home equity lender does not charge an application fee, and only charges closing costs as an early payoff fee if you close out your HELOC within three years of opening it.

The variable annual percentage rate (APR) can be as low as the prime rate plus 0.49 percent (3.74 percent at the time of our evaluation) and as high as the prime rate plus 3.74 percent (6.99 percent). The fixed annual percentage rate can be as low as 5.99 percent APR (or 6.24 percent for NY properties) or as high as 7.74 percent (7.99 percent for NY properties). There are discounts for Citibank members that apply to these rates as well.

Citibank pays the closing costs on your HELOC or home equity loan. It may charge a prepayment penalty to recover all costs incurred for originating your loan if you close your account within 36 months.

The online application process was straightforward and complete. You can find a checklist online detailing the documents and information you need for the application.

Calling a large bank can be a frustrating experience, but Citibank's system was one of the best we experienced. When the department isn't too busy, you can reach a loan officer immediately by calling the number on the website – no automated menus. During busier times, we were greeted immediately by a live operator who connected us with the next available agent. The loan officers were some of the most knowledgeable we spoke to and quickly answered all our questions fully. One took time to fully explain how LTV worked.

Citibank Summary:

Citibank has good customer service and a smooth online application process. The home equity loans and lines of credit are overall on par with those of other lenders, although the maximum you can borrow is less than most other lenders allow. Nonetheless, it has fewer fees than most of the home equity lenders we reviewed and is a bank worth pricing for your home equity financing.



Citibank does not charge an application fee.

This lender has a stricter loan-to-value ratio than most banks.

The Verdict:

Citibank offers both home equity loans and HELOCs at competitive interest rates, with no application fees. We found the online application process straightforward and the customer service very good, making this a strong choice for home equity financing.