First South sweetens short-term refinancing with lowest rates | Collierville Independent


Craig Esrael

Craig Esrael

First South Financial Credit Union in Bartlett has priced its short-term fixed-rate mortgage loans with the best rates in the Memphis market. Craig Esrael, president and CEO, said their latest rate for the 10-year is currently at 3.90 percent with no closing costs.

That contrasts favorably with the average rate of 4.65 percent, plus closing costs, as of Monday morning.

Know Your Biz – business feature story logoFirst South also guarantees to beat, not just match, competitors’ rates in the local market if another institution offers a better rate.

There’s nothing else like it in the local market, Esrael said.

He explained the dilemma that homeowners typically face with their refinancing options. “Oftentimes, people want to refinance but they look at the cost of refinancing. On a 15 or a 30, we look at it as about $6,000 to finance or refinance a mortgage for a consumer.”

People often hesitate over paying that much just to get a preferential rate, he said. When they are paying the closing costs and fees, they have to weigh whether refinancing makes sense if they won’t be in the home for too much longer. They worry: How will they recoup that money?

Another factor is that most people just add the refinancing cost to their balance and it’s amortized, he said. So they not only pay the refinancing costs, they also end up paying interest on the refinancing costs.

“So by the time you’re done, that $6,000 may have cost you $20,000,” Esrael said.

He explained why First South’s short-term fixed-rate mortgage loans are particularly good for those wavering over a refinancing decision: The limited time offer is for 15-year mortgages with no points, fees or closing costs.

First South was also the first Mid-South banking institution to offer 10-year fixed-rate mortgages, which have covered these costs since the program began.

Even a small percentage of savings makes a different in the final cost of a home, too.

This type of mortgage is ideal for homeowners who want to eliminate the biggest expense of their retirement budget. For homeowners who plan to pay off their mortgage before they retire, a 10- or 15-year fixed-rate mortgage can save thousands of dollars over long-term mortgages across the life of the loan.

Esrael said, “If it’s 0.01 percent off, they’re better off than where they are. … It’s a really, really good deal.”

Delynn Byars

Delynn Byars

Delynn Byars, First South’s senior vice president for marketing, said, “We find this product does really well with consumers about the age of, say, between 45 and 65 years old who’ve been in their homes between typically 12 and 15 years, and, like Craig pointed out, they’re looking to refinance. ”

Customers may be downsizing to a smaller home for their retirement years, buying a leisure property like a condo on the lake, purchasing a second home or considering major renovations, she said.

Esrael noted that variable-rate mortgage holders also find this deal attractive, locking in a better rate, as do customers who are looking to consolidate their first and second mortgages.

The deal is also eye-opening for those keeping a watch on local real estate prices, given the upward trend. For the greater Memphis area, year-to-date total average home sales prices are up 6.9 percent over last year, and total median sales prices have risen by 8.6 percent, according to the Memphis Area Association of Realtors. YTD new home sales are also up by 18.4 percent over last year, from 575 units to 681.

Esrael said, “Our short-term fixed-rate solutions are perfect for homeowners who have some time left on their current mortgage, but want to take extra steps to pay off their homes early. Refinancing with a shorter-term loan can reduce their terms without dramatically increasing their monthly payments – leaving more room to manage other costs over time.”

Taking advantage of this pricing involves paperwork and about a month to complete the process (including appraisals, which the homeowners typically pay).

Consumers might be skeptical of the offer, thinking it’s not legitimate. Esrael said, “This is one of those items, while it might sound too good to be true, it really is true.”

Byars added, “One good thing about our financial strength and stability is that we’re actually able to offer a product like this, because we are so strong and we are so financially stable. We actually pay those closing costs on the borrower’s behalf. So it’s not rolled into the interest rate, it’s not added into the term of the loan.”

First South is a leading provider of financial services to Mid-South communities, whose capital position creates competitive rates for customers. Ranked among the strongest banking institutions for financial strength and stability in the U.S., First South has enjoyed an A+ Weiss Rating, over 20 years of Bauer 5-star ratings and the longest history of perfect 300 IDC Financial Publishing scores of all the financial institutions in Tennessee.

To learn more about First South’s short-term fixed-rate mortgages, call (901) 380-7530 or email

First South Financial Credit Union is a member-owned, federally insured financial institution serving over 60,000 members. Recognized as a leader in strength, stability and service, First South offers a complete line of banking services ranging from checking and savings accounts to mortgage, auto and personal loans. To learn more, visit