Putting Mortgages into ‘Plain Language’

This post was written by jd on May 13, 2009
Posted Under: Real Estate


Bank of America has created a new website called Bank of America Home Loans for borrowers that includes a calculator that determines not just what size loan people can qualify for, but how much they can spend without being stretched too thin. “We wanted to change the conversation to ‘How much house can I comfortably afford?’ rather than ‘What’s the maximum I can buy?’ ” said Aditya Bhasin, the product, pricing and strategy executive for Bank of America Home Loans.

The site is designed to be easy to read, spelling out a variety of contingencies, including the maximum payment that an adjustable rate mortgage could potentially cost.

The new site also offers what BofA calls Flat Fee Mortgage Plus, which has no application fee and a single closing fee that includes processing costs and fees for third-party services like appraisals.

Not included are other standard costs like property taxes, homeowners’ insurance and prepaid interest.

Craig Focardi, a senior research director at the Tower Group, a financial consulting firm, said the idea for the plan is nothing new – it’s been tried by others. But the prominence of the programs could persuade competitors to adopt the features.”

If you recall, Bank of America took over Countrywide Lending and renamed it Bank of America Home Loans. I’m not sure that their new website is not a rehash of Countrywide’s old website. But with B of A’s great customer service (tongue in cheek) they need some kind of P.R. to make them look helpful. Some related information on Countrywide Financial Corporation:

According to the LA Times 04/27/2009

“Linked more recently with high-risk loans, co-founder Angelo R. Mozilo’s huge paydays and FBI investigations, the Countrywide name became “too toxic to resuscitate,” as another expert puts it — and a liability for Bank of America Corp., which snatched it up last year as it neared collapse.

And so over the weekend, nearly 10 months after the Bank of America deal closed, Countrywide Home Loans signs came down and Bank of America Home Loans signs appeared at the lender’s 215 storefront offices in California. It was the start of a rebranding of nearly 1,300 Countrywide mortgage offices nationwide.”

Yep, Countrywide and Bank of America, great combination.

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