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'Lenders Secrets' examines industry

If you've ever suspected there was something you didn't know about mortgage loans and refinancing, you're right.

Chances are what you didn't know is still eating a hole in your checking account.

Craig Ward, a 56-year-old Jacksonville resident with more than 20 years of mortgage banking experience, says that's just part of the game. He's written a primer about the process that could save readers money, but he says his greater aim is to change the rules of the game.

Lenders Secrets Revealed, What Real Estate Lenders Don't Want You To Know is a no-holds barred examination of an industry that has never been so flush because of low interest rates.

People are really being taken advantage of when they take out a real estate loan, Ward says. They're overcharged on closing costs, overcharged on interest rates and on points.

— Ward says lower than posted rates are possible, even plausible.

But people don't know anything about the lending industry and are intimidated, he says.

Ward worked in bank mortgage departments in California and later with U.S. Bank in Southern Oregon before winding up his lending career with First Horizon Mortgage.

While the 217-page book has expos? traits, it doesn't take aim at particular lenders.

It's not at all sour grapes, Ward says. This is something I thought about for 10 years or more. I could see what was going on and wanted to do something about it.

He says most any lender has wiggle room from published rates.

He suggests if a lender quotes a 6 percent rate and — point ' or — percent of the loan total paid upfront ' that a borrower counter with 5 percent with — point.

Every lender has 1/8 percent of play without having to ask his boss, Ward says. No one knows that, but every lender knows it.

He notes a 1-point loan fee seems reasonable, but what borrowers don't know is that lender rebates account for another point or two for the mortgage processor.

The point is that a lender should be making — point, he says. If you're making — point on all your clients, you're going to be making &

36;250,000 a year.

The author says the largest commission he made on a single transaction was &

36;15,000 on a loan for a California anesthesiologist.

I got a big, fat lender rebate on that one, he says,

He made 2 points, or &

36;7,000, on a &

36;375,000 loan for a Hollywood producer here in Jackson County.

A good loan officer should get about &

36;125 an hour for what they do, he says. Most loans take about four hours and that would be &

36;500 to &

36;600 commission.

The author says he has no problem charging an extra point if clients are argumentative and slow in turning in documents.

Although there has long been a wealth of material for borrowers to review before taking the mortgage or refinancing dive, Linda Cade, housing director for Consumer Credit Counseling Service in Medford says People will still say I think I should be doing better than I am.

Even borrowers who have been around the block encounter difficulties.

I would say people still feel it's a mystery to them, Cade says. Sometimes they should know more than they do.

Both Ward and Cade say many lenders have replaced points with origination fees. Ward says that amounts to a point.

One way borrowers can overcome fees is by pitting lenders against one another.

Ward recommends paying for multiple credit reports and holding off on appraisal fees until a loan is approved. Then with 10 words (The other lender is waiving the processing fee, will you?) the borrower can save hundreds of dollars.

For information on how to obtain a copy of Lenders Secrets Revealed, What Real Estate Lenders Don't Want You To Know, write to P.O. Box 1389, Jacksonville, OR 97530; or e-mail LSRbook@yahoo.com.Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 776-4463 or e-mail