Recently, my RE/MAX office met with Ellen Silfven & Davina Luz of Bank of the Cascades (BOTC). The duo was there to discuss BOTC’s home loan program. The timing of the meeting was no coincidence: Just a few weeks ago, new president/CEO Terry Zink made a very public $1 billion commitment to making loans available to business owners and individuals in the bank’s Oregon and Idaho markets over the next three years.
As Zink pointed out, a community bank should invest in its communities, and we couldn’t agree more. Here in Sisters, we’re all ears when it comes to local lending -– we strive to offer our customers as many local home-loan options as possible.
So it was encouraging to hear the information that Luz and Silfven shared. Luz, manager of the Sisters BOTC branch, and Silfven, a mortgage loan officer based in BOTC’s downtown Bend office, echoed Zink’s commitment to ramping up its ability to provide competitive loan programs. That’s welcome news for Central Oregon home buyers.
BOTC’s rates are currently very competitive (as of March 3): 4 percent for 30-year fixed-rate mortgage and 3.25 percent for a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage. With that, there are no additional points, and BOTC’s processing fee is a flat $495.
There are other pluses to the BOTC product: According to Silfven, BOTC is servicing its home loans and plans to continue to do so. Another benefit is the home-loan officers’ proximity to the loan underwriter: just down the hall. Having direct access to the underwriter can be critical in closing a loan that has a strict timeline. Also, having that ability to easily communicate with the underwriter from the get-go can save a lot of time and potential heartache by confirming or squashing a potential loan early on in the process.
But there a few gaps in the BOTC loan program. At this point, BOTC is probably not your best option if you’re looking for an FHA loan (they’re brokering them). You’re also out of luck if you’re trying to finance raw land or need a jumbo loan (although we’re told that BOTC is working on that one and it should be available in the near future).
Silfven says BOTC is also handling quite a few refinances. On that front, beginning Monday (March 19), the bank will offer the Obama Administration’s expanded HARP program (Home Affordable Refinance Program), which will enable homeowners who have negative equity in their homes to refinance. Previously, HARP was available only to borrowers whose loan-to-value ratio (the amount owed on the mortgage divided by the property's appraised value), was no greater than 125 percent.
If you’d like more information about BOTC’s loan programs, call or text me at 541-480-0987. If you’re interested in talking to a BOTC mortgage loan officer in person, you’ll need to visit the downtown Bend branch (1070 NW Bond St.). There are three officers on staff there: Lance Vansooy, manager of the mortgage loan department (541-617-3561); Julie Nash (541-617-3580); and Ellen Silfven (541-617-3560).
Bank of the Cascades, which was founded in 1977, offers full-service banking at 32 branches in Central Oregon, Southern Oregon, Portland/Salem and Boise/Treasure Valley, idaho.
About the Author
Lisa Broadwater, GRI, CDPE, is a Central Oregon-based real estate professional who specializes in listing and selling homes, especially in Sisters, Tumalo, Bend and Redmond. For more information, visit www.CentralOregonHome4You.com.
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