My bank won’t renew my HELOC. What to do?


Q. I had a HELOC for about 30 years, renewed once or twice during that period. I used it several times, always repaid well within the time limit and my credit score is excellent. I have no outstanding debt, and I have more than $2 million in assets. This time the bank declined to renew the HELOC saying my income was too low. I’m retired and I have about $45,000 to $50,000 in part-time income—they said the house value was fine, my credit was fine, but my income is too low. What can I do? Also, at the expiration of the HELOC, the bank sent me a note to say the lien was released. Do I have to file this somewhere?
— Annoyed homeowner

A. It makes sense that you’d like to continue to use your HELOC.

It can be a great resource for emergencies, or for purchases like a car. Even though interest rates are high, your HELOC is probably better than you’d get for a car loan, for example.

Unfortunately, it’s a common problem for retirees to have difficulty obtaining a loan or HELOC because of the lack of income, said Evan Drury, a chartered financial consultant with U.S. Financial Services in Fairfield.

He recommends working with a financial planner to show proof of wealth to cover the HELOC request.

“What tends to work in these situations is to provide a statement of net worth showing assets/liabilities in general,” he said. “If that doesn’t work with this bank, you may have to seek other banks using the same approach.”

Drury said as an advisor, he’s had to advocate for clients in similar situations with their banks, but there’s no guarantee a bank will accept what an advisor provides.

As for the lien release, you’re not required to file it anywhere, but you can always check with your county to make sure it’s not showing the lien as being active.

And be sure to save the release, just in case.

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This story was originally published on Aug. 28, 2023. presents certain general financial planning principles and advice, but should never be viewed as a substitute for obtaining advice from a personal professional advisor who understands your unique individual circumstances.