What have you always wondered about the economy? Tell us

Higher fees are good news for banks

Marketplace Staff Mar 25, 2009
HTML EMBED:
COPY

Higher fees are good news for banks

Marketplace Staff Mar 25, 2009
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

Bob Moon: There’s word this morning that mortgage applications jumped last week. The Mortgage Bankers Association reports record-low interest rates spurred a 32 percent surge in demand for home refinancing loans. The association predicts refinancings will more than double this year to the tune of nearly $2 trillion. As Amanda Aronczyk reports, that means lots and lots of processing fees from lenders.


Amanda Aronczyk: Back in the pre-subprime days, your broker might have offered you a competitive mortgage rate and “low, low fees!” But now, refinancing is in such high demand, there’s less incentive to lower those fees.

Jay Brinkmann is chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association. He says higher fees are good news for banks:

Jay Brinkmann: They make money on the volume of loans that they push through, so it should be a pretty good year then for large institutions like JP Morgan Chase, Citi and Bank of America.

Fees vary from bank to bank. So how do you know if you’re getting a good deal?

Brinkmann: The important thing is for a consumer to ask: What are those fees going to be? What are you going to charge me at closing? And so they can get a full apples to apples comparison.

But these days, homeowners may have a tough time getting quick refinancing. Demand is so high, banks are slow to process all requests. Still, Brinkmann says don’t panic. Interest rates should stay low for a good, long time.

I’m Amanda Aronczyk for Marketplace.

Marketplace is on a mission.

We believe Main Street matters as much as Wall Street, economic news is made relevant and real through human stories, and a touch of humor helps enliven topics you might typically find…well, dull.

Through the signature style that only Marketplace can deliver, we’re on a mission to raise the economic intelligence of the country—but we don’t do it alone. We count on listeners and readers like you to keep this public service free and accessible to all. Will you become a partner in our mission today?

Your donation is critical to the future of public service journalism. Support our work today – for as little as $5 – and help us keep making people smarter.