By Novantas - 2015 HELOC Consumer Survey

Following years of retrenchment, the home equity line of credit is finally showing signs of life. Line origination is expected to approach $80 billion among all U.S. lenders this year, nearly double the 2012 nadir. And balance growth is becoming more widespread as institutions shake off the recession detritus of non-performing loans.

This does not mark a return to business as usual, however. First, the market is quite uneven and much smaller compared with the expansion era of a decade ago, calling for more of a precision outreach and also foretelling intense competition for market share. Second, the expanding customer embrace of digital channels for shopping is shaking up the traditional marketing and sales dynamic centered on the branch. Third, trends in customer composition and product usage are changing the face of the business, requiring key adaptations to serve younger and more cash management-oriented borrowers.

The situation presents a clear call to action on HELOC growth strategy. Winners in the next expansion phase will succeed on the strength of segment-, channel- and market-informed strategies. Progress will critically depend on refinements in product design, pricing and promotion, targeted marketing and distribution.