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ICBA: Refinancing is an Option for Homeowners

Work with Your Community Bank When Considering Mortgage Refinancing

Washington, D.C. (June 3, 2008)—June is National Homeownership Month and the nearly 5,000 members of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) help Americans in communities throughout the country to refinance their mortgages through the personal attention that only a local community bank can provide.

"With rates at near-historically low levels, it's an opportune time for some homeowners to refinance their mortgages," said Cynthia L. Blankenship, ICBA chairman and vice chairman of Bank of the West, Irving, Texas. "Local community banks can provide borrowers with options to lower their monthly payment and free up cash that can be used for other purposes, such as college funds or retirement savings."

Further, over the next several months, as some homeowners see their adjustable rate mortgages reset, it may be an opportunity for them to refinance with a common sense community bank mortgage lender. Community banks work with their customers to make sure they can not only afford to buy the home of their dreams, but also stay in their home over the long term.

"Community banks succeed by building strong long-term relationships with their customers," said Blankenship. "Borrowers can count on their community bank to work hard to find the best mortgage loan for their particular circumstances, and that includes refinancing a difficult mortgage a borrower might already have."

Homeowners should carefully weigh options when refinancing. Everyone's situation is different, and there are a number of considerations to take into account when refinancing, including the length of time you plan to stay in the home, how fluctuations in home prices may affect equity and whether the money saved by lowering rates offsets closing costs. Also, refinancing a mortgage is not unlike getting a new mortgage. Community bank lenders will ask for a loan application, credit history, property value, level of equity and other data.

"The first step is to check in with your local community banker," Blankenship said. "We'll work with you to find the mortgage that is right for you."

For more information about National Homeownership Month, visit www.icba.org.