Bankers around the country say one reason the housing market hasn’t stabilized is that while mortgage rates have come down, hurdles have gone up. Rising default rates and bank losses have made lenders more risk-averse, leading to higher fees, increased insurance rates and difficulties refinancing loans. “The business has gotten tougher than I’ve seen it,” Wickert said. “The person who has decided he wants to give himself his own personal economic stimulus package by refinancing at low rates is being stymied by the rules and the fees. Too many people are being excluded.” said Brian Wickert, a mortgage banker in Butler, Wisconsin, prides himself on screening applicants carefully.
By James Sterngold, Feb 27, 2009, Bloomberg

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