Monday, 04 February, 2002
Refinancing with a Hometown Bank
There's something to be said for hometown banks. After all the crap we went through trying to refinance our mortgage with the big banks, we finally went to our local bank where we've had our checking and savings accounts for the last 6 years. 30 minutes after sitting down with the loan officer, we had a verbal commitment for a home equity loan to pay off the mortgage, plus a little cash out to help finance our remodeling. The Board has to approve the loan, of course, but it's likely they will considering that we're borrowing much less than 50% of the property's market value. Better yet, closing costs are limited to a title policy and a few filing fees—the bank is doing all the documents in-house so there's no silly "document processing fees." And no appraisal, again because the relatively small amount that we're borrowing. The rate's not bad, either: 7%. Not as low as a real mortgage loan, but better than most of the home equity loans I've seen, especially considering the homestead law weirdness. And it's better than the 8.375% we've been paying.
Perhaps best of all, the local bank will be keeping the loan rather than selling it to some huge conglomerate bank. We'll have a real live person we can contact if we have any questions about or problems with our loan. Given the troubles we've had being shuttled through Chemical Bank, Citibank, and Wells Fargo in the last 7 years, that's going to be a huge relief.