Mortgage lending rules so strict, even Bernanke can’t refinance

Former Fed head turned down due to his exit from central bank

Ben Bernanke
Ben Bernanke

In the old days, Ben Bernanke would have walked into his local bank, talked to a loan officer and — given his position as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board and his lofty annual salary — likely have been approved for a refinancing of his mortgage.

In the automated world in which we live today, however, that has changed. Bernanke, at a recent conference in Chicago, told the crowd that he had been unsuccessful in trying to refinance his mortgage. He used his own example to argue that mortgage credit is tighter than it should be and not at all flexible, according to the New York Times.

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Bernanke noted that when a change in pay structure occurs or an applicant changes jobs, it becomes more difficult to get approved for a refinancing. The latter is what tripped up Bernanke, who famously left the Fed this year and took a job at a think tank.

Bernanke and his wife live in a house that is currently assessed at $815,000, according to the Times. And the former Fed head gets paid $250,000 for a single speaking engagement.  [NYT] — Claire Moses