In a shocking development from the “you can’t make this stuff up,” department, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently disclosed that he’s had some mortgage trouble of how own. Speaking to a conference at the National Investment Center for Senior Housing and Care, Bernanke confessed that he’d been denied for a mortgage refinance on his own personal residence.
“I recently tried to refinance my mortgage and I was unsuccessful,” said Bernanke to moderator Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics in front of a captive audience. The crowd chuckled upon hearing that, to which Bernanke responded. “I’m not making that up.” He went on to state his opinion, “I think it’s entirely possible that lenders may have gone a little bit too far on mortgage credit conditions.”
Really? Is that so, Mr. Bernanke, Mr. Federal Reserve Chairman during the worst economic crisis in American history since the Great Depression? Welcome to our world.
While it’s not a newsflash to any hard working middle class Americans that the mortgage market was topsy-turvy past recognition in the last 6 years, it’s quite shocking that someone of Bernanke’s stature couldn’t refinance his home. After all, he served as the chairman of the central bank of the United Stat between 2006 and 2014, under both President George W. Bush and President Barak Obama.
It begs the question; if the most powerful economist and banker in the free world can’t refinance his home, what snowball’s chance in Hades do the rest of us have? Frankly, it’s unbelievable. Can you imagine the meeting between Bernanke and his mortgage broker?
So Blue Water Credit decided to reenact the whole sordid scene. This is just a reenactment using underpaid actors, and we assure you that names and identities have not been changed to protect the guilty.
Ben and his wife walk into the mortgage broker’s office and sit down. The mortgage broker cancels out Facebook from his computer screen and wipes the remnants of In-N-Out Burger mustard from his shirt.
Mortgage Broker: “Why hello there. Thanks for coming in Mr. Burntanky, How can I help you?”
Ben: “Uhhh, it’s Bern-nan-ke.”
MB: “Yes, of course. So sorry Mr. Bernhankie. Well why don’t we get started. I understand you’d like to refinance your home?”
Ben: “Yes, we want to take advantage of the historically low interest rates being offered now thanks to prudent Federal intervention.”
MB: “Yes, you’re right –they are very low now. Fantastic. Ok, where is this property?”
Ben: “It’s our house in Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. We bought it for $839,000 in 2004.”
Anna: “We also have a lovely beach house in South Carolina. It really is beautiful down there. Have you ever summered in Grand Strand?”
MB: “Umm, no, I ‘summer’ at Six Flags. But that’s great – you definitely have plenty of equity. OK then let me start with this mortgage application, if that would be ok with you. First, please spell your full names for me.”
Ben: “Anna Friedmann Bernanke and Ben Shalom Bernanke.”
MB: (Starts typing but then gets confused.) “Ok, we’ll come back to that. Birthdates?”
Ben: “December 13, 1953 and March 10, 1958.”
MB: “Perfect. Ok, let’s take a look at your credit score now.” (Typing.) “Have you checked your credit score recently?”
Ben: “Ha! Let me tell you something, young man – I helped advise on our current proprietary credit system for Fair Isaac Corporation when I chaired the Department of Economics at Princeton in…”
MB: “Oh. Oh, my. This is quite concerning. You have a 628 mid range FICO.”
Ben: “What?! No, that must be a mistake!”
MB: (Swivels the computer screen so Ben and Anna can see.) “Yes, I’m so sorry, but it’s true. Although that’s not the worst score by any means, this report says you have a recent negative that’s bringing your score down. Were you late on your Discover Card payment or a cell phone bill or something?”
Ben: “That’s preposterous! The report must be wrong – that’s the only answer! My economic track record is impeccable! This is ludicrous! Ludicrous I tell you!” (He slams his fist on the desk.)
Anna: “Benny, calm down! Your heart – remember what the doctor said after the Meltdown.”
MB: “I’m so sorry but the credit report says it right here in black and white. Did you have anything to do with a $600 billion dollar Wall Street bailout or something like that? It’s showing as a 90-days late on your revolving credit.”
Ben: “Oh. That.” (Clears throat.) “Well, this is awkward! I wasn’t aware that would be on my credit report. They assured me the American public would be on the hook for that one.”
MB: “Ok no problem – we can work around that. Let’s move on, shall we? How is your income situation?”
Ben: “Above reproach, of course. I was compensated $199,750 annually for my position as Federal Reserve Chief.”
MB: “Really? That’s all? I thought it would be more. Anyways, that’s great current income.”
Ben: “No not current, of course. I stepped down earlier this year to work on my memoir.”
Anna: “Working on his golf game is more like it!”
MB: “Oh I see, so that is not your current job? Are you employed now?”
Ben: “What? I don’t understand. Now? Well, I did receive $250,000 for my speaking engagements so far this year.”
MB: “Perfect!” (Typing furiously.) “Was that W2’d or 1099’d income?”
Ben: “1099 I believe, though I tend not to pay any income taxes.”
MB: “Ohhh, yeah…that’s gonna be a problem. There’s no other current steady income on the books?”
Anna: “I earned $347 last month selling my croqueted, “Barbecuing with the Federal Reserve Chef” pot holders on EBay.”
Ben: “Anna, please. Yes I did just receive a $1 million advance from my publisher on my book deal. I’m writing a tell-all memoir about my time with the Fed during the Great Recession.”
MB: “So you’re being paid $1 million dollars to write about how bad the economy was that made everyone poor?”
Ben: “That’s certainly one interpretation of it all, but it’s a little more complicated. You see young man, where the theories of Milton Friedman’s Keynesian Economics fails is assuming the financial disruptions of the Great Depression reduced the efficiency of the credit allocation process, resulting in reduced availability of credit acted to depress aggregate demand..”
MB: “Yes that’s all wonderful, but unfortunately Mr. Bernswanky, I don’t think you’ll qualify for the refinance after all. Your recent career change and lack of steady income is just too volatile for the banks. I’m so sorry.”
Ben: “Surely, you must be joking! I was head Economist at the Brookings Institute!”
MB: (Checking his afternoon schedule and bringing Facebook back up.) “Never heard of it. I am sorry. Maybe you’ll find some steady work and we can try again in the spring?”
Ben: “This is unacceptable! I was the Time Magazine’s Person of the Year in 2009!”
MB: “2009? Slow year.”
Ben: “What’s that now?! What did you say?! Listen here, I am Ben Bernanke! I created our current economic system! I was one of the most powerful men in the western world! B-E-N B-E-R-N-A-N-K-E!!!!”
MB: “I don’t care if you’re Ben Affleck – you don’t qualify.”
Anna: “Ohhh I loved him in Batman!”
MB: “I’m so sorry folks. But here, let me give you a free cute cat calendar for coming in today.”
Ben: (Red faced and sweating profusely.) “Outrageous! Preposterous! Ridiculous! Anna, get me Warren Buffet on the phone! Come on honey, we’re out of here!”
(They get up to storm out.)
MB: ‘Thanks again! Hey – can you like my fan page on Facebook? And maybe a good Yelp review? Ahhh, forget it.”
Did it go down like that? Probably not, but we’ll never know. We are certain of the facts – that Bernanke (and Anna) were denied for their mortgage refinance loan, reportedly because of his current job change.
He’s also on record as saying, “I think the credit box is too tight,” after being denied. Quite an observation Mr. Affleck, I mean Bernanke. Quite an observation, indeed.
Don’t disparage, Benny – Blue Water credit is happy to help you bring your credit score up so you’ll easily qualify for a refinance (once you find stable work.) While we can’t promise to get that $600 billion bailout off your report, we’re sure we can be of assistance! Whether you’re Ben Bernanke or not, contact Blue Water Credit for a no-risk credit score evaluation!