Many homeowners with underwater mortgages have been trying to refinance so they can take advantage of the historical low interest rates. The Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) is supposed to help us refinance, but the banks’ participation is on a voluntary basis and the banks have no incentive to help homeowners. Why should the bank refinance and receive lower payments each month for these risky loans? It doesn’t make sense for them. The National Foreclosure Settlement is the kick in the pants that they needed. This settlement will force the 5 largest lenders to help homeowners like me.
- Bank of America
- JPMorgan Chase
- Wells Fargo
These banks will provide $25 billion dollars to help their customers. It’s only fair, we bailed them out when they needed help.
If you read my previous complaint about HARP 2.0 then you know I am trying to refinance our primary residence. Currently, our loan is a 30 year fixed rate loan at 4.75%. Our home is worth almost the same as what we owe on it. The mortgage is with Chase and I thought I should try to refinance with them first. When I called three weeks ago, the best rate they could give me was 4.625% on a 30 year fixed rate loan. That is ridiculous! I know the rates are much better than that.
Next, I called my credit union and the refinance officer told me they can refinance at 3.875%, but only if our mortgage is already with the credit union. DOH! Now, I am getting frustrated. I see that lower rate is possible, but it’s not within reach.
After this I called Umpqua bank and Quicken Loans. They both can offer me 4.25%, but Quicken loans will finish much faster and require less work on my part. So I went ahead and applied with Quicken loans and we will save about $200/month once everything is said and done.
This was a mistake! I didn’t expect the National Foreclosure Settlement on Feb. 9, 2012.
If I had a time machine, I would have gone back and told myself to hold off until March. Yes, this was what a few readers suggested. The problem was me. If I have an idea in my head, I want to act on it right away.
Last night, I received a letter from Chase. They are offering a no fee refinancing at 4.38%. If I knew about this, I would have gone with Chase. Quicken Loans has better rate, but they also have a lot of fees. The payments come out to be within $10 of each other in the end. However, if I went with Chase, the loan amount would have stayed the same instead of increasing due to the fees. The 4.25% mortgage still win out in the long run so I guess I shouldn’t complain.
If you fit any of these categories below, you should call your lender before making any move. This is from Chase’s website.
- If you are struggling to make mortgage payments or have missed payments: Find out if you are eligible for a modification or other alternative to foreclosure by completing and sending in a Homeowner Information Packet. We’ll contact you after we’ve reviewed your information.
- If you are current on your payments and interested in refinancing your loan: We will notify you by mail if you are eligible for a refinance through the settlement. Letters will be mailed in the next few months.
- If you had a foreclosure between 2008 and 2011: Find out if you are eligible for a cash payment by contacting your state attorney general’s office online. Those eligible will be notified by mail and according to the attorneys general website, this may take six to nine months. Chase is not making payments to customers; the state attorneys general and the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) insurance fund will receive and distribute funds to homeowners who qualify.
If you haven’t refinanced yet, this might be the best time to do it. Call your bank and demand payback!
Have you refinanced yet? Quicken Loans can rush your refinance through very quickly so if you are in a hurry, give them a call.