You Know It's a Tough Market When Ben Bernanke Can't Refinance

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Ben Bernanke said the mortgage market is still so tight that he's having a hard time refinancing his own home loan.

The former Federal Reserve chairman, speaking at a conference in Chicago, told moderator Mark Zandi of Moody's Analytics Inc. — "just between the two of us" — that "I recently tried to refinance my mortgage and I was unsuccessful in doing so."

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 homebuyer 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."

Bloomberg News