No wonder people hate mortgage lenders

August 31, 2010  |  Dan Rafter  |  Print Article  |  Email this Article


I’m trying to refinance my home loan. So far, the process has been a real pain.

Here’s why: When I first called my lender, a bit-time national one, the loan officer on the other end of the line said that refinancing was possible, even though I’m one of the about one in five U.S. homeowners who is underwater on a mortgage loan. (We bought our house in 2006, right before real estate prices crashed. In fact, I believe housing values fell just one second after we left the closing table.)

This was great, until the loan officer read off the closing costs we’d have to pay. The figure was high, way too high.

I thought about forgetting the refinancing then, but called our lender back on a whim. (You have to work with your existing mortgage lender if you want to qualify for an underwater refinance under the federal government’s Home Affordable Refinance Program.)

The next loan officer with whom spoke also said that he could help. But as we were going through the numbers, we were disconnected. I called back again, this time getting a third loan officer. This one told me bluntly that there was no way with what we owed on our house that our refinance was going to work.

Fine, I figured. I’ll wait out the bad housing market. Then my phone rang. It was the second loan officer again, the one that my phone disconnected. He ran through a long list of figures. According to his numbers, yes, we would be able to refinance. And no, we wouldn’t have to pay hardly any closing costs out of pocket.

My wife and I are working through the refinance papers now. I wonder, though, why I got so many different answers from loan officers at the same mortgage lender. Is it any wonder that people think that residential mortgage loan officers have little idea of what they’re doing?

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