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Expect Mortgage Refinance Activities to Continue Pointing Up

Written By:
February 09, 2012 at 3:08 PM

The weekly mortgage applications survey conducted by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), for the week ending February 3, also shows mortgage applications up 7.5% over the previous week. Refinance applications, as a percentage of total applications, increased 80.5% versus 80%, from the previous week, according to MBA.

Super-low home mortgage interest rates and less stringent Home Affordable Refinance Program Requirements (HARP) have undoubtedly kindled more demand in the mortgage refinancing market. According to some reports, Bank of America (BAC) continues to have problems servicing the volume of mortgage refinancing applications it is receiving.

Many customers were told the wait as long as 90 days before submitting an application. A recently installed automated reservation system also informs callers that representative will contact them in 60 to 90 days.

Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan Chase, and Citibank ? Bank of America’s chief competitors also receive a significant number of refinancing mortgage applications. However, their spokespersons insist they have not experienced any customer satisfaction issues.

Consumers who do not receive a quick response from Bank of America will naturally contact its competitors to get quicker service when refinancing their mortgages.

Bank of America Reduced Mortgage Refinancing Staff

BAC was once America's largest mortgage lender; it now ranks number four. In January, the mortgage lender suspended its refinancing operations, which processes refinancing applications for homeowners who pull out cash based on the equity built up in their homes.

Since the housing market collapse in 2007, Bank of America has lost 75% of its share of the residential mortgage market. Simultaneously, the bank has also had to deal with a barrage of defective loans, which were contained in the loan portfolio the bank assumed when it purchased sub prime loan giant Countrywide Financial Corp.

In recent months, Bank of America has actually cut its staff. Analyst Paul Miller, FBR Capital Markets Corp., characterized BAC’s situation as, “getting out of business at the exact time they should be getting into the business.” Miller also calls the institution “dysfunctional.”

In the quarter ending December 31, 2011 Bank of America accounted for 5.6% of all loan originations. Eighty percent of all mortgage applications consist of mortgage refinance applications.

The company could modify the policy if refinancing demand subside you can s or decides to hire more workers,

Competitors Ready for Surge in HARP Refinancing

Fewer stringent eligibility requirements, and lower interest rates, have increased the number of mortgage refinancing applications. The Bank of America has many of those risky, high rate loans in their portfolio, which it received in the purchase of subprime lender Countrywide Financial Corp.

Of the major lenders, Bank of America has experienced the most problems processing large volumes of refinancing loans. In 2011, the lender asked the Federal Housing Finance Agency FHFA to modify portions of HARP it was having problems implementing.


Recent revisions made to HARP will continue ramping up mortgage refinance activities. Not only will more homeowners qualify to refinance their mortgages, program revisions will also allow investors to refinance their properties.

In addition, if President Obama’s latest proposal to revive the housing market passes through Congress, mortgage lenders must plan their workloads to handle applications from among 3.5 millions people who hold private mortgages, and may have the opportunity to refinance to low interest rate FHA-insured loans, if the plan makes it through Congress.





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