Third Federal Savings & Loan: 2024 Home Equity Review – CNET

Third Federal Savings & Loan


Products offered
HELOC, home equity loan, 5/1 adjustable-rate home equity loan

From 7.49%

Credit score

Contact info
Visit or call at 800-THIRD-FED (800-844-7333)

Operating out of Cleveland, Ohio, Third Federal Savings & Loan offers home equity lines of credit (HELOCs) in 26 states and home equity loans in eight states. With Third Federal, you can borrow up to $300,000 against the equity in your home. Although the bank doesn’t lend everywhere in the US, it made our list of the best home equity loan and HELOC lenders due to its easy online application process, lowest-rate guarantee and price transparency.

Third Federal Savings & Loan: At a glance

Types of loans offered HELOC, home equity loan, 5/1 adjustable-rate home equity loan
APR range From 7.49%
Loan amounts From $10,000 to $300,000
Credit score requirements Undisclosed
Repayment terms HELOC: 10-year draw period, 20-year repayment period
Home equity loan: Five- or 10-years
Average time for approval Undisclosed
Rates as of March 26, 2024.

Third Federal is best suited for homeowners who need a long repayment period and want the option of choosing between a fixed-rate or variable-rate loan. It also offers a $1,000 lowest-rate guarantee: If you find a lower rate from another lender, Third Federal will match the rate or pay you up to $1,000. You just need to find the lower rate 10 days before closing on your loan.

What we like

  • Low fees: There are no applications or prepayment fees with Third Federal, and an annual $95 fee is waived the first year. You also don’t have to pay an origination fee or closing costs, which saves you thousands of dollars upfront. 
  • Low minimum draw requirement: Sometimes minimum withdrawal requirements can make your loan more expensive because you end up wasting money paying interest on funds you never use. But with Third Federal, there is only a $10,000 minimum withdrawal requirement.
  • $1,000 lowest-rate guarantee: If you find a lower interest rate with comparable terms from another lender, Third Federal says it will beat the rate or pay you $1,000 as long as you find the rate up to 10 days before closing on your loan.

What we don’t like

  • Limited availability: Third Federal offers home equity loans in only eight states (California, Florida, Kentucky, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia) and offers HELOCs in only 26 states and the District of Columbia. Most of its brick-and-mortar locations are clustered in Ohio and Florida.
  • No interest-only payments: You must pay back your principal balance from the start of your draw period, which will make your monthly payments higher from the very beginning. However, if you can afford it, this can also be a benefit for homeowners who want to tackle paying down their principal balance from day one, saving themselves money in interest over the lifetime of the loan.
  • Undisclosed credit score requirements: Without knowing the minimum credit score or this lender’s preferred credit score to receive its best rates, it’s hard to know whether it’s worth applying or how you compare to other applicants. Completing a full application for loan preapproval will result in a hard pull on your credit.

Home equity loan products

HELOC: With a Third Federal HELOC, you can borrow up to $300,000 (depending on how much equity you’ve built up) at a variable interest rate. It has a standard 10-year draw period followed by a 20-year repayment period. 

Home equity loan: You can borrow a large sum of money with a Third Federal home equity loan. The bank has loan terms of five or 10 years. 

5/1 adjustable-rate home equity loan: Third Federal also offers a unique 5/1 adjustable-rate home equity loan. If you opt for this loan type, your interest rate will be fixed for five years and then adjust annually after that. 5/1 adjustable-rate loans have terms ranging from 6-30 years.


There are minimal fees with Third Federal, which is why it’s good if you need financing but don’t want to spend a lot of money upfront to obtain it. You don’t have to pay an origination fee, application fee or closing costs, which provides valuable savings from the start. However, you must pay a $95 annual fee for HELOCs (but it’s waived the first year).

How to qualify

Third Federal doesn’t disclose its minimum credit score requirements. In order to get a personalized-rate quote, you must apply and provide your specific financial details, as well as personal information like your Social Security number, address and date of birth. As with any kind of home equity loan, you must have built up enough equity in your property over the years to qualify to borrow against it. 

Most lenders typically require at least 15% to 20% home equity to be approved. Additionally, you must also have current homeowners’ insurance, as well as flood insurance if you live in a flood zone that requires it. 

How to apply for a home equity loan or HELOC with Third Federal

You can apply for a home equity loan online, at one of its physical branches or over the phone, and the whole process should take only about 30 minutes, according to Third Federal.

Everything you need to get started on your application is clearly laid out on its website. Third Federal wants to see the following documentation to verify that you are creditworthy and will pay back your loan on time.

  • Gross annual or monthly income amount
  • Monthly payments for property tax and homeowners insurance
  • List of assets
  • Paystub dated within at least 30 days of the application date, illustrating year-to-date earnings of at least 30 days
  • Tax Form W-2 from the most recent year

Customer service

For general information about Third Federal’s home equity loans and HELOCs, you can visit Third Federal’s website, call its customer care department at 800-THIRD-FED (800-844-7333) or fill out a form on the website for a loan officer to contact you directly. You can also go in person to a branch location, which is an option not all lenders provide. For HELOCs and home equity loans specifically, when you need to activate your debit card to access your funds you can call the number below.

However, Third Federal isn’t open on Sundays and has limited hours on Saturday, which are only from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. ET. You can call Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET and until 6 p.m. on Fridays.

Live phone support: 

  • General loan inquiries: 800-844-7333 
  • Active your Home EquityCard : 866-619-0245 

This post was originally published on Cnet

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