A lot of people may be feeling Ben Bernanke's pain.
The former Federal Reserve chairman told attendees at a conference on Thursday that he's been unable to refinance his mortgage, according to Bloomberg News. When audience members laughed, he added, "I'm not making that up."
So what does it mean when the former head of the world's most powerful central banking system is unable to secure refinancing? Bernanke has an answer, and it's probably one that other homeowners or would-be buyers agree with.
"I think it's entirely possible" that lenders "may have gone a little bit too far on mortgage credit conditions," Bernanke said.
Of course, Bernanke's glass half-empty scenario might please other investors, given that lax lending standards contributed to the mortgage and housing crisis. With banks providing risky loans such as adjustable-rate mortgages, as well as providing mortgages to buyers with low credit scores, some homeowners ended up with loans they couldn't afford.
In the years since, lenders have tightened their standards, and those can even be tougher when it comes to refinancing. To lock in the best rate, lenders often want to see a credit score of at least 740.
One would expect Bernanke has a strong credit score, but he may have another issue to deal with: the jumbo loan, or loans that top $417,000 (or $625,000 in expensive markets.) These can often carry their own set of issues and can be more difficult to refinance, according to Realtor.com.
Bernanke is definitely in jumbo territory, at least if he wants to refinance his home for about the same amount as he has previously. According to Bloomberg, he's refinanced twice. The first refinancing was in 2009, when he replaced a five-year adjustable rate mortgage with a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage of $685,285. He and his wife again refinanced in 2011, when they took out a 30-year loan for $672,000 at a rate of 4.25 percent.
Of course, Bernanke isn't exactly suffering now that he left public service. He earned at least $250,000 in a March speech sponsored by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi, far more than his annual salary of $199,700 at the Fed. He's also working at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.
"The housing area is one area where regulation has not yet got it right," Bernanke said on Thursday, when he spoke of his refinancing woes. "I think the tightness of mortgage credit, lending is still probably excessive."