Tropical Financial Moves Fast to Refinance Underwater Mortgages Under HARP Program Extended to 2016
Credit union can write new loans in as little as 40 days for qualified borrowers who are underwater on their homes
APRIL 17, 2013 – Tropical Financial Credit Union is delivering local service and quick turnaround to thousands of homeowners who were waiting to see whether the Home Affordable Refinance Program, or HARP, would be renewed. The program was supposed to have concluded at the end of 2013, but has been extended through 2015.
“The two-year extension helps people who were sitting on the fence, trying to decide whether to refinance,” said Doug Leever, mortgage sales manager at Tropical Financial Credit Union in Miramar. “Now is the time to act, while rates are very low. Borrowers who are underwater on their home values can get into a better financial position.”
Tropical Financial actively participates in HARP. Loans in the federal program made up 30 percent of the credit union’s mortgage volume in March, Leever said.
“Consumers are coming to us as they learn that we provide fast, local service,” said Leever. “We have heard from some of our borrowers that some lenders are taking up to eight months to close under HARP; we can do it in as few as 40 days.”
The credit union has also increased home lending, with total loan volume doubling in 2012 from 2011 levels. The figure rose 50 percent in the first quarter of this year from the same quarter of 2012.
“Loan processors, underwriters and closing agents all work in South Florida,” he said. “They know the neighborhoods. There are no delays due to time zone differences or mailing of documents.”
The federal program has gained popularity in South Florida because home values dropped dramatically in recent years, leaving many borrowers owing far more than their residences were worth. HARP allows many of them to refinance their homes rather than lose it to foreclosure or a short sale. The federal program is open to homeowners whose loans were sold to Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae before May 31, 2009, who are current on their mortgage payments, and whose loan-to-value ratio is greater than 80 percent.
Tropical Financial offers refinancing rates that are competitive with those offered on home purchases, Leever said.
“Almost everyone qualifies for a lower rate than what they are paying now,” Leever said. “Borrowers can reduce their loan term or their payment. The savings can be significant.”
Homeowners who live in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties can apply for a mortgage at Tropical Financial, he said. For more information, contact a Tropical Financial Mortgage Loan Originator at 888-261-8328 or visit http://www.tropicalfcu.org/home/loans .
About Tropical Financial Credit Union
Tropical Financial Credit Union is a non-profit financial institution whose deposits are federally insured. The $555 million institution serves South Florida with nine branches. People who live or work in South Florida’s three counties can join the credit union, which was founded in 1935. For more information on Tropical Financial, visit www.TropicalFCU.com.