KIRO Radio's Tom Kelly digs deep into the Puget Sound real estate market
Real Estate

Credit-card company adds home equity line

Looking to benefit from rising home values, credit-card lender Discover Financial Services announced it will begin offering home-equity loans in the second half of this year.

Discover says that about 80 percent of its customers are homeowners. It plans to offer fixed-rate, closed-end loans valued between $25,000 to $100,000. The home equity loans will first be marketed to existing customers before eventually becoming available to others.

In recent months, banks have been reporting increases in home-equity lending due to the rise in home values that has given more home owners equity.

"My view is that in many places in the country, the housing market is finally stabilizing," said David Nelms, chairman and chief executive of Discover. "I think that there are people who do have equity in their homes, and it's a much more careful time today than it was during the 2005-2007 housing market."

Last year, Discover began originating mortgages online. Its home-loan business has originated more than $2 billion in mortgages to date.

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