A recent Wall Street Journal article states that the nation's four largest banks control 55 percent of all loan originations, yet can't refinance in less than 45 to 60 days, with wait times as long as 90 days. They're also tightening lending standards and in some cases charging the borrower a higher rate and/or more fees,
Current lower rates have helped thousands of Americans free up cash or retire debt. On average, borrowers that refinanced during the first quarter of 2012 reduced their first-year interest payments by $2,900. However, with an increase in demand for the refinancing of mortgages comes an increase in expected delay time to get through the refinance process.
The Wall Street Journal states, “the housing bust wiped away $7 trillion in household equity, leaving many homeowners with too much debt to qualify for new loans. But the mortgage sector's limitations are further undermining the Federal Reserve's effort to boost the economy by holding short-term interest rates near zero.”
After the financial crisis, fewer banks controlled the majority share of the mortgage market than prior to the crisis. Now lenders are even being more vigilant in the wake of the financial crisis. Banks are now more carefully evaluating loan and refinancing applications and who they are lending money to and how they process loans. According to Accenture Credit Services, it takes the nation’s biggest mortgage lenders an average of roughly 70 days to complete a refinance in comparison to the average 45 day refinance process it took in 2011.