How to Protect Your Locked Mortgage Rate

by Ernestine in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and by Allen in St. Helena, California

Ask Kate how to protect your mortgage rate after locking it in: Ernestine trusted the mortgage company to follow her verbal instructions to lock in her rate. Now the loan officer won't return her calls. Allen's mortgage rate is locked at 2.875%, in writing. But his bank is stalling, to the extent that his appraisal expired. He is concerned that his low interest rate is in jeopardy.


My Mortgage Interest Rate Was Never Locked

By Ernestine in Milwaukee, WI
My Mortgage Interest Rate Never Was Locked

Hi Kate,

I applied for a HARP loan in April of this year. I qualified with all the requirements. My mortgage is currently a 30 year fixed Freddie Mac with Wells Fargo. I used the same loan officer this time and didn't expect any problems.

In May, I asked what the rate was and was told that it was 3.75%. This was over the phone and I told the loan officer to lock my rate. I never wanted it to go any higher and she knew this.

Several days later, I saw her at her office and asked her as I was leaving if my rate was locked at 3.75% and she assured me it was locked.

I never expected for her to do wrong by me.

Then I received a call from an appraiser which I questioned and asked her to double check that my interest rate was locked before my house was appraised.

I then spent time after time trying to reach her. She wouldn't return my calls. I even went by the office and asked to see her. I thought she was coming out, but I was then told that she was gone for the day.

The peg board showed her as still being there. I've gone through a lot of changes since.

After calling a name and number I got off my loan papers from Iowa several times, I was finally put in touch with her, only to be told that I didn't tell her to lock my rate. I told her she was lying and we had even discussed this face to face. She then said the rate had changed and she didn't lock it.

After going back and forth and them not wanting to do the right thing, they sent me a letter denying the loan stating there was insufficient collateral in the property.

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate answers: My Mortgage Interest Rate Never Was Locked

Hi Ernestine,

The number of ways a lender can wiggle out of a mortgage rate lock agreement never ceases to amaze me.

But because you did not insist on getting the lock in writing the moment you requested it, you've been catapulted into the I-said-she-said territory.

That being said, don't let the fact that you never received a written agreement stop you from pursuing the locked rate you were verbally promised.

However, it is going to take more elbow grease to get someone to pay attention to the fact that you've been wronged.

Even so, the truth remains...
  1. You are the customer.
  2. After being quoted a specific rate, you requested to be locked-in.
  3. You were told your rate was locked.
Give your loan officer one more chance to put your requested lock in writing. If that doesn't work, get to a supervisor and ask for them to do the right thing.

Should that not yield satisfactory results, go to Mortgage Rate Lock Agreement Fine Print for the link to the the Federal Reserve Board's brochure, A Consumer's Guide to Mortgage Lock-In, with a list of agencies where you can file complaints.

In addition, you can contact the State of Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions for help:
  • 201 W Washington Avenue, Suite 500

  • Madison, WI 53703

  • Hours: 7:45 am to 4:30 pm

  • Phone: 608-261-9555

  • TTY: 7-1-1 For hearing-impaired callers

  • Fax: 608-261-7200
In your complaint, include dates, exact rates and any cost, copies of Good Faith Estimates, and notes from conversations. Offer the company name, address, and physical address with employee names and titles.

For everyone else reading this, you must get your mortgage rate lock agreements in writing. I understand this is not so simple when the loan process is handled remotely instead of face-to-face.

So here are my simple tips for locking a rate over the phone and getting it in writing.

Best wishes protecting the rate that is rightfully yours,


Mortgage Rate Locked but Lender Is Stalling

By Allen D. in St. Helena, CA 94574
Ask Kate: Mortgage Rate Locked but Lender Is Stalling

Hi Kate:

My mortgage rate is locked at 2.875%, in writing. But my company is stalling and now my appraisal has expired.

I live in my grandmother's house that has been in the family for almost a 100 years with my wife and six year old daughter who we want to leave our house to for future generations.

The loan company is using a designated company to do the appraisal and they now want them to be an inspection company. I built a new garage and guest house that was not quite completed at time of appraisal. But they did not tell me for almost two months I needed to finish it to close the loan.

When they did tell me, I finished it and got the final from the city in less than a couple of weeks.

They also didn't tell me that the appraiser had noted a patch on my roof and that I needed a roof inspection. I did it immediately and had all other repairs needed and a two year certification and warranty.

They then said the designated appraisal company needed to inspect it. But the appraisal expired on Sunday after I had just sent all documentation of final on garage and roof certification.

When they notified me about this expiration a few days later. I replied I had in writing there is no expiration time limit on this loan lock. I started this loan in May or first days of June, just before the rates started to increase.

I have asked for name of manager who seems to be installing all the road blocks but no response.

The mortgage company is located in Maryland and I am in California so I can't walk in a door and talk to somebody, a mistake I think, even though there were good reviews on internet before I applied.

Can you help or guide me in anyway. Thank You, Allen.

***zz-portrait-left.shtml*** Ask Kate answers: Mortgage Rate Locked in Writing but Lender Is Stalling

Hi Allen,

This is a classic case of no one managing a loan process. A home is too important to allow a refinance to drift with no direction.

Or it's a classic case of stall tactics, similar to Michelle, a homeowner is Wake Forest, North Carolina, whose lender was also stalling the loan process to get out of the lock agreement.

Don't wait to take further action to recover your locked rate since you've already tried to go through the company to no avail. The steps I gave to Ernestine (see the letter directly above yours) will be helpful to you also.

In addition, you should contact the State of California's Department of Justice, specifically the office of Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General. The California Homeowner Bill of Rights became law this year on January 1, 2013 to protect fair lending practices in California. As a homeowner, use it to your advantage!

You will also want to read Elusive Mortgage Rate Lock Guarantee for more assistance.

Best wishes in protecting the family home,



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Can broker lock in a mortgage rate without consent?
by: Don J from Portland ME

My broker locked in my rate without my consent. She said she thought rates were going to go up so she locked it in. Can she do this? She also said it was costing me $177 to lock. She said that sometimes there is a fee and sometimes there is a credit. Is this true? Thank you.
Name from city

Hi Don, Kate here...

She cannot lock your rate without your consent if you signed a mortgage rate lock agreement to that effect. Read your agreement to see. Or if you have not signed an agreement giving permission, you can decline the lock.

The fee is probably not for processing a lock. More likely, it is for discount points, which is why the cost varies. Either way, if irks me that she locked you at a rate that costs you more in fees.

Read about the relationship between mortgage rates and discount points here. Then call her supervisor if you are not satisfied with the outcome after talking first with her.

Best wishes, Kate

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