March 19 2010, 11:41 AM
If you're having trouble financing your dream home, think of Wayne Bryant, a steamfitter who ran into some major challenges in building an environmentally friendly underground house high in Colorado's San Juan Mountains. Bryant tried for a year to refinance a $417,000 construction loan, with no luck. The first appraiser to examine his property didn't travel from Denver to look at it, but perhaps even more notable were the market fears over unusual homes, writes The Wall Street Journal, which points to foreclosures on several log homes in 2009, when borrowers couldn't refinance. Eventually, a Wells Fargo & Company branch in Durango obtained an acceptable appraisal and gave the Bryants a mortgage. "People like us that want to build these types of homes---we're basically at the mercy of the mortgage companies," Bryant says. Of course, the recent economic downturn doesn't help, and Colorado's financial institutions continue to struggle, according to The Denver Post. The number of banks struggling with high levels of delinquent loans rose from 13 three years ago to 70 today. About one-third of the state's banks lost money last year, a trend that experts say reflect a need for closer supervision of institutions. Yet, Colorado is approaching its 17th straight month without a full-time banking commissioner to oversee regulation of banks. "It's cause for concern---something that would give rise to consideration of whether these banks need a higher level of scrutiny," says Fred Gibson, deputy inspector general for the FDIC, which aids the state in bank inspections.