Granny’s escrow account shocker

High payment means choosing between medicine, electricity

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DEAR BENNY: My grandmother is in her home, already at the breaking point: It's a question of food or medicine. Her house payment is $400. She's usually a bit late paying the property tax. This month she signed papers to let the mortgage company set up an escrow account. The lender paid taxes and insurance to the tune of $1,800, and now they've jacked the payment up by $270 each month, which is more than $3,200 extra a year! Can the lender really do that? They've loaned her too much against the house, and they do not want the note to go bad. How could they be so stupid as to price someone out of a home that's not worth anything near the note? What are these dead-brained morons trying to do here? How can we get the lender to understand that she simply does not have the extra $270 to pay each month? If she pays it, her utilities go off. --Fred DEAR FRED: I understand your frustration. Lenders have the right to escrow for taxes and insurance, unless your state law either prohibits it or p...