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Tight mortgage market keeps even ex-Fed chief Bernanke from refinancing

Tight mortgage market keeps even ex-Fed chief Bernanke from refinancing
Ben S. Bernanke, shown in March 2013 when he was still Fed chairman, said, "I recently tried to refinance my mortgage and I was unsuccessful in doing so." (Liberty Street Films)

The mortgage market is still so tight, even former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke is having a hard time refinancing his home loan.

Bernanke, speaking at a conference in Chicago, told moderator Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics Inc. that "I recently tried to refinance my mortgage and I was unsuccessful in doing so."

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When the audience laughed, Bernanke said, "I'm not making that up."

"I think it's entirely possible" that lenders "may have gone a little bit too far on mortgage credit conditions," he said.

Bernanke, addressing a conference of the National Investment Center for Seniors Housing and Care in Chicago, said that the first-time home buyer market is "not what it should be" as the economy in general strengthens.

"The housing area is one area where regulation has not yet got it right," Bernanke said. "I think the tightness of mortgage credit, lending is still probably excessive."

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