Borrowers are rushing to refinance their mortgages at record low interest rates but face unexpected delays as swamped lenders struggle to cope with the surge at a time when layoffs have sharply cut staffing.

Bank of America, which started shedding 7,500 employees after its July merger with Countrywide, recently yanked 300 workers from its home equity line department to help deal with refinancing requests, said Matt Vernon, the bank's national sales executive.

Joy Siegel, a Bethesda real estate lawyer, said some borrowers have been told they would have to wait two weeks for a call back from their lenders. 'That's incredible considering rates sometimes change on an hour-by-hour basis,' she said.

Washington Post