Bank of America

Updated: May 24, 2020

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    Bank of America (BofA) is a multinational corporation with headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. In the late 1990s, NationsBank acquired BankAmerica, and rose to become one of the largest banking operations in the United States and said to be among the top ten financial institutions worldwide.

    Bank of America Financial services are offered to military and non-military customers alike including home loans, auto loans, personal loans, wealth management, and investment banking.

    Bank Of America is not like military credit unions that require membership to join, and it’s not like lenders or home loan brokers that only offer specific types of lending such as mortgages or refinance loans. It is the classic example of a financial institution that welcomes all customers, but provides certain specific services directed at those in the military community.

    General services offered by BofA:

    • Checking
    • Savings
    • Business Services
    • Credit Cards
    • Lending
    • Investing

    In addition to these services, BofA has a portion of its official site reserved for “Military Benefits” offered by the company, which include:

    • Line of credit and credit card benefits
    • Installment contract benefits (including auto, RV, boat, motorcycle & aircraft)
    • Home loan and home equity benefits
    • Student loan contracts

    Many of these benefits as described on the BofA official site are basically provisions required by law under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act rather than specific Bank of America programs aimed exclusively at military communities.

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    The “Two” Bank Of Americas

    Stateside, Bank of America offers typical banking services, as mentioned above. But the company also has a contract with the Department of Defense to run Community Banks on overseas military installations.

    This can cause confusion for some who are new to military banking because these overseas community banks are not directly associated with the “main” BofA operation. That means if you have opened a Bank of America account at an overseas, on-post military base, you are not opening an account with the larger, stateside corporation Bank of America, and vice versa.

    VA Loans From The Stateside Bank Of America

    The “main” stateside, non-community bank version of BofA offers veterans, military members, and qualifying surviving spouses the opportunity to apply for a variety of government-backed mortgage loans and refinance loans including VA mortgages and VA refi options.

    There are also FHA loans available for those who have used their VA loan entitlement or who do not wish to use their VA mortgage loan benefits at application time.

    Lending Products Available From BofA-Operated Community Banks Overseas

    The BofA official site for its community bank operation offers the following financial products for military communities overseas:

    • New and Used Auto Loans
    • New and Used Motorcycle Loans
    • Signature Loans (minimum borrowing amounts required)
    • Line of Credit
    • Debt Consolidation Loans
    • CD Secured Loans

    Auto loans are important for overseas military communities. Many assignments require military members and their families to travel to places like Japan, Germany, Italy, and elsewhere for extended periods of time; in these communities it’s not realistic to expect troops and families to use public transportation exclusively or rely on ride-sharing services.

    Vehicle loans make settling into an overseas location easier and more efficient for the entire family, especially in areas where troops may be restricted when it comes to shipping a car or truck from the USA. Some countries’ import requirements make it costly or impractical to ship a privately owned vehicle.

    No VA Mortgage Loans At Overseas BofA Locations

    One major feature missing from that list? VA mortgages and refinance loans. Borrowers who want to purchase property with a VA mortgage are not allowed under VA loan rules to buy homes overseas. Only property within the United States, its territories, and protectorates are eligible to be purchased with a VA mortgage.

    Those who wish to use Bank of America’s VA loan options will need to open an account with the stateside, “main” BofA and apply for VA mortgages through them. The BofA Community Bank network at overseas military bases will not be able to accept VA loan applications, process them, or provide information on stateside BofA VA mortgage options offered via those locations.

    Applying For Financial Services

    Both the overseas Community Bank branches and the main stateside BofA operation allow you to sign up online, open new accounts, get assistance in real-time during regular business hours, etc. You will need electronic copies of your ID and other required documents in order to open an account online. You can also open accounts in person at a BofA branch or banking center.


    About The AuthorJoe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter for Air Force Television News


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    Written by MilitaryBenefits