SunTrust Bank: 2020 Home Equity Review

SunTrust Bank: 2020 Home Equity Review

Based in Atlanta, SunTrust Bank was established in 1891 and is one of the largest banks in the United States. They have over 1,100 branches and 2,000 ATMs in 10 states and Washington, D.C. The company holds $220 billion in total assets and has over 4.9 million customers.

But large scale aside, SunTrust has a focus on consumer education and experience. In 2016, SunTrust launched a marketing campaign called onUp, a movement designed to help customers move away from financial stress and gain confidence with their money. Complete with hashtags, a social media presence and a website, SunTrust’s onUp provides solid educational tools and resources for customers. This falls in line with their purpose of “Lighting the way to financial well-being.”

SunTrust offers a variety of products for personal and business banking and a home equity line of credit (HELOC).

Lender snapshot

If you live near a SunTrust bank branch, you might want to consider their home equity line of credit (HELOC) to help you fund your home improvements, consolidate debt, make a large purchase or fund an education.

  • A SunTrust HELOC gives you the option to choose a fixed- or variable-rate with each HELOC draw
  • After the 10-year draw period, repayment terms can be 20 or 30 years
  • SunTrust pays all closing costs
  • Product is only available in the following states: California, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia.

“The SunTrust Home Equity Line of Credit is a convenient way to access the equity you’ve built up in your largest asset, your home,” said Mark Ford, Head of Personal Lending and Card Solutions at SunTrust Bank. “An equity line of credit is a powerful financial tool that allows you to meet a variety of planned or unplanned needs.”

Pros and cons


  • No closing costs: SunTrust bank covers all closing costs under the condition that you keep the account open for three years. (Should you close before the three-year mark, they will add the closing costs to your outstanding balance.)
  • Quick closing times: You can get an initial loan approval within 24 hours of submitting your application. Closing typically occurs within 28 days. But SunTrust does offer programs for closing within 10 days.
  • Choose a fixed or variable rate: For each advance, you get to choose either a fixed- or variable-rate. This flexibility allows you to better manage your money and payments.
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  • Not available in all states: SunTrust’s HELOC is available for owner-occupied, single-family, primary residence or condos located in the following places: California, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, South Carolina, Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Arkansas, West Virginia, Mississippi, and the District of Columbia.
  • Processing fee on certain draws: If you decide to go with a fixed-rate option for an advance, you will be charged a $15 processing fee.

Mortgage products

SunTrust offers a number of mortgage products including traditional fixed- and variable-rate mortgages, but also has options for real-estate owned properties, first-time homebuyers, Veterans Affairs loans, U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development loans and loans for licensed physicians and dentists (and those in residency programs).

SunTrust also offers the Unsecured LightStream Home Improvement loan. This loan has a 24- to 144-month repayment term and allows you to borrow anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000 for home improvement projects. The application is entirely online and you may be able to access money the same day. With an autopay discount, the fixed-rate APR on this loan starts at 4.99 percent.


The SunTrust HELOC gives you the option of choosing a fixed-rate or variable-rate repayment option for each advance you make during the 10-year draw period. You can have multiple repayment options at the same time, and you can have up to five fixed-rate balances at one time.

Each fixed-rate advance must be a minimum of $5,000 and you can choose between a 60-, 120-, 180-, or 240-month term. If you do choose a fixed-rate draw, you will be charged a $15 processing fee (except in Maryland and North Carolina).

“Unlike a loan, the equity line gives you the flexibility to meet multiple needs during your ten- year draw period,” said Ford. “Along the way, you also have the ability to fix all or a portion of your balance at a specific rate and term.”

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Right now SunTrust is offering a special APR of 3.74 percent on HELOCs for the first 12 months. To qualify for this APR, your first draw must be $25,000 or more and take place at the closing.

For advances after the closing, the current variable APR ranges from 5.00 percent to 6.47 percent and is based on the Prime Rate in a range of minus 0.25 percent to plus 1.22 percent. Your actual APR will be determined by a number of factors including location, credit line amount, loan-to-value ratio (LTV) and credit score. There is a 0.25 percent discount given for autopay through a SunTrust account.

SunTrust HELOCs can range from $10,000 to $500,000 and have a 10/20 year repayment schedule. The maximum LTV for HELOCs is 89.9 percent.

Lender fees

SunTrust does not charge you closing costs unless your account is closed within three years. If you do close early, SunTrust will add the closing costs to your outstanding balance.

Borrowers are responsible for paying title insurance, flood insurance or an increase in homeowner’s insurance if any of these are required.

The maximum APR for a SunTrust HELOC is 18 percent (except in North Carolina where the maximum APR is 16 percent). The APR is based on the Wall Street Journal Prime Rate (5.25 percent at publication) with a margin that can range from 0 percent to 6.91 percent depending on location, credit line amount and LTV.

Borrowing requirements

Like most HELOCs, approval is based on credit score, credit qualifications and eligibility. SunTrust borrowers usually have a credit score of at least 660 and a monthly debt-to-income ratio (DTI) of no more than 35 percent.

How to apply

To apply for a SunTrust HELOC, you can either apply online, by phone or at a local branch.

Before you begin your application, make sure you have the following information readily available (in addition to personal information like your social security number):

  • Employer information
  • Financial assets
  • Financial debt (including lender name and balances)
  • Collateral information (including lender name, balance and description)
  • Co-applicant’s personal and employer information, if applicable
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Once your application is complete, a SunTrust representative will contact you to request any other documentation if necessary.

Initial approval may be made in as few as 24 hours and closing times take an average of 28 days. SunTrust also has programs available to help borrowers close in 10 days.

View home equity rates

Tap into the value you have in your home to get the funds you need.

Get started

For more information about SunTrust bank and their products, you can visit their website and chat online with a financial solutions specialist, call 1-800-SUNTRUST or visit one of their many branches. Additionally, you can tweet their customer service team at @askSunTrust (just don’t share any personal information this way).

And while you don’t need to have an existing SunTrust account to apply, all fees will be waived on a SunTrust Advantage interest-earning checking account (which offers many benefits including a Delta SkyMiles debit card and cash-back credit card) if you link one to your HELOC. This also gives you the added ease of moving money instantly from your HELOC account to your checking account.

For some educational articles and videos to help you reach a new level of confidence with your finances, check out SunTrust’s OnUp Movement website.

How Bankrate Rates SunTrust

Overall Score 4.2
Availability 3.9
Affordability 4.4
Customer Experience 4.3

Editorial disclosure: All reviews are prepared by staff. Opinions expressed therein are solely those of the reviewer and have not been reviewed or approved by any advertiser. The information, including rates and fees, presented in the review is accurate as of the date of the review. Check the data at the top of this page and the lender’s website for the most current information.

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