Home equity lines of credit being frozen

Home equity lines of credit being frozen - http://www.nytimes.com Avatar Posted by TimJustus under Raising Capital
From http://www.nytimes.com 4422 days ago
Made Hot by: on April 16, 2008 8:57 pm
In the last 30 days, lenders have sent several hundred thousand letters advising borrowers that their home equity lines of credit are frozen. Small-business owners who use home equity lines to bridge cash-flow gaps throughout the year are also being stricken by these curbs.

Banks have the right, of course, to rescind these credit lines at any time under the terms of the contracts they struck with borrowers. And as home prices have tumbled in many parts of the country, banks are undoubtedly trying to protect themselves from exposure to additional losses.

But these actions are being taken even in areas where property prices are rising, Mr. Kratzer said. What's worse, the letters provide no explanation for how the lenders determined that the property values underlying the equity lines had fallen.

One especially exasperating aspect of now-you-see-them, now-you-don't equity lines is that borrowers are not receiving refunds for fees they paid to secure the credit in the first place.

These fees can be significant, Mr. Kratzer said: on a $50,000 line, for example, fees of $1,500 are common. If the line is being frozen at, say, $25,000, why shouldn't the borrower be entitled to receive a refund of $750?

Borrowers who have an excellent credit score may also find that status hurt when a home equity line is frozen. That is because when a lender suddenly caps a $50,000 line at $25,000, the borrower will appear to have tapped the entire amount of the loan, a factor that can reduce a person's credit score. Never mind that, based on the original amount of the credit line, the borrower is using only half of it.





Comments


Written by dobbie
4421 days ago

Looks like the banks are bound and determined to screw up the economy.



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