Overage 2

Definition of "Overage"

The difference between the price posted to its loan officers by a lender or mortgage broker and the price charged the borrower. Loan officers who work for lenders or mortgage brokers receive updated prices from their head office every morning. These consist of rates and points for different loan programs. They are the 'posted prices.' The loan officer who executes a deal at the posted price gets paid a commission that may be 5%-.7% of the loan amount. On a $100,000 loan, the commission might be $500-$700. But if the loan officer can induce the borrower to pay more than the posted price, the commission rises. It now includes an overage. For example, the posted price on a particular loan is 5% and zero points but the loan officer induces the borrower to pay 5% and one point. That point is the overage. It is worth $1,000 on a $100,000 loan, and typically the loan officer gets half. An overage can thus double the loan officer's commission. Overages are heavily concentrated on high-rate loans with negative points, or 'rebates.' For example, the lender posting a price of 5% and zero points might also quote 5.25% and -2 points. Loan officers push higher-rate plus rebate combinations because they can collect an overage without taking any cash out of borrowers' pockets. If the loan officer in the example above quotes 5.25% and -1 point to the borrower, the other point of rebate becomes the overage. The borrower pays for the overage in the interest rate for the next five or 10 years, but that's down the road. Overages associated primarily with rebate loans are an equal opportunity abuse, practiced by lenders and mortgage brokers alike. The only difference is that mortgage brokers who retain rebates from lenders leave a trail in the Good Faith Estimate of disclosure, where it can be discovered by the borrower, although usually too late to do anything about it. Rebates retained as overages by loan officer employees of lenders disappear without a trace. Defenders of overages argue that they merely reflect the wheeling and dealing characteristic of many markets. They point out that sometimes borrowers turn the tables, forcing loan officers to cut the price below the posted price, which results in an 'underage.' The automobile market works essentially the same way. The weakness of this argument is that almost everyone who buys an automobile understands that wheeling and dealing is part of the game, but many mortgage borrowers don't. They are innocents. That's why the number of underages is miniscule compared with the number of overages.

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