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Low rates spur refinancing wave

By Judy Martel ·
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Posted: 6 pm ET

Applications for mortgages jumped 23 percent last week, largely due to homeowners taking advantage of record-low rates to refinance, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. The refinance portion of total mortgage activity was 82 percent.

But as a Bankrate article points out, although rates are low, mortgage fees are about to rise. Congress is set to increase the guarantee fee on loans that can be sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac by a minimum of 10 basis points. The increase won't take effect until April 1, but many lenders are already starting to pass on the increase to borrowers because they don't want to be stuck if the loan takes 45 days or more to close. Borrowers who act quickly to lock in a rate for 30 days may be able to avoid the extra fee.

The housing market is slowly showing signs of improvement with the increased activity, but there's still some debate about whether it has bottomed out. Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan, told CNBC a week ago that the market hit bottom, while Timothy Sloan, CFO of Wells Fargo, said it's unclear if that has happened yet.

According to CNBC, Wells Fargo, the largest originator of home loans, saw its mortgage banking income increase to $2.4 billion in the fourth quarter of 2011, up from $1.8 billion in the third, but down from $2.8 billion a year ago. The increase in the fourth quarter is attributed to a rise in refinancing.

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January 23, 2012 at 11:27 pm

Don't be fooled by EZZ-Financials
They dragged my application for weeks. By the time they got all the paperwork, they demanded an extra $2000 in fees.
Don't make that mistake!

January 23, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Read the following:

EZZ Financial Ex-loan officer charged with credit card fraud
Posted: Aug 21, 2009 5:37 PM EDT Updated: Aug 21, 2009 5:41 PM EDT

Christopher Booth Christopher Booth

LEE COUNTY: Lee County deputies have arrested the man suspected of stealing the credit card numbers of customers of EZZ Financial. The suspect racked up several small charges that weren't easily detected.

Loan officer Christopher Booth was arrested and charged for allegedly stealing the credit card numbers of 8 of the company's clients.

Kevin Allion was one of the victims.

"They were advertising low interest rates, which I was interested in," said Allion.

Over the phone from northern Florida, Allion says he found the mortgage company online.

He filled out the necessary paperwork online and applied for a loan.

Booth allegedly took credit card numbers from his clients and racked up small charges at a cell phone company.

"Next time I got my credit card bill- I saw a couple of charges on there for $10.65 each," said Allion.

The owner of EZZ Financial refused to go on camera, but did say every client has been reimbursed and booth has been fired.

Booth has been charged with fraud, illegal use of credit cards and larceny.