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Mortgage Escrow Account: Simplifying Your Homeownership Experience

Mortgage Escrow Account: Simplifying Your Homeownership Experience

Mortgage Escrow Account – Key Takeaways

  1. A mortgage escrow account, or a “bank escrow,” is a financial buffer for property taxes and insurance payments.
  2. The money in the account technically belongs to the borrower but is managed by the lender.
  3. Withdrawals from a mortgage escrow account are generally not allowed.
  4. Unused funds in an escrow account may be refunded or applied to future payments.
  5. Interest growth in bank escrows is limited, and regulations vary by state.

What is a Mortgage Escrow Account?

Also known as a “bank escrow,” a mortgage escrow account is a separate account set up by your lender to hold funds designated for specific expenses related to your property, such as property taxes and homeowners insurance.

It ensures timely payments by your mortgage servicer and reduces the risk of missed deadlines or lapsed coverage.

Why do Banks Want You to Escrow?

  • Banks and mortgage lenders prefer escrows to limit the risk of non-payment of property taxes and homeowners insurance.
  • If borrowers default on tax or insurance payments, the risk of property tax liens, forced insurance coverage, or even foreclosure could result.
  • Lenders know that taxes and insurance are paid on time when they manage these payments through an escrow account.
  • Mortgage escrows can simplify the home-buying process for borrowers, making it easier to budget for these expenses and maintain a good credit standing.
Banks Want You to Escrow
Mortgage Escrow Account

The Purpose of a Mortgage Escrow Account

The primary purpose of a mortgage escrow account is to simplify the home-buying process and offer financial stability for both the borrower and the lender.

By setting aside a portion of your monthly mortgage payment into the escrow account, you’ll know that your mortgage servicer will pay your property taxes and insurance premiums on time.

The lender’s risk resulting from a borrower’s unpaid taxes or lapsed insurance is minimal with an escrow account in place.

Who Owns the Money in a Mortgage Escrow Account?

While the escrow payments in the account belong to the borrower, the mortgage servicer manages the bank escrow and disburses the funds for the designated expenses.

This arrangement helps maintain a clear separation of funds between the homeowner and the lender, while ensuring that taxes and the insurance company are paid on time.

Money Tree
Money Tree

Does Money Grow in Escrow?

Money held in a mortgage escrow account typically does not earn interest for the borrower.

The primary purpose of an escrow account is to ensure timely payment of taxes and insurance included with your mortgage loan monthly payment, rather than serve as an investment vehicle.

Regulations regarding interest payments on escrow accounts vary by state, and some states require lenders to pay interest on escrow balances. However, the interest rates are generally relatively low and not a significant source of growth for the account.

Can I Take Money Out of a Mortgage Escrow Account?

In general, withdrawals from a mortgage escrow account are not allowed.

The lender manages the account to ensure these payments for taxes and insurance get issued on time. In some cases, however, you can negotiate with your lender to eliminate the escrow requirement and manage the payments independently.

What Happens to Money in a Mortgage Escrow Account?

When your taxes and insurance payments are due, your lender will utilize the funds in your escrow account to make the payments on your behalf, known as an “escrow payment.”

If the account has a surplus, the lender may refund the excess amount or apply it to future payments.

Dealing with Deficits in a Mortgage Escrow Account

A deficit in a mortgage escrow account can occur when property taxes or property insurance costs increase, leading to insufficient funds to cover these expenses.

In such cases, the lender will notify the borrower about the deficit and provide options to address the shortfall. Borrowers can pay the deficit in a lump sum or have the amount spread over several months, which would result in increased monthly mortgage payments.

It’s essential to address the deficit promptly to avoid issues with property tax or insurance payments and maintain good standing with your lender.

Wave Goodbye With an Escrow Waiver

Waiving a Mortgage Escrow Account

A borrower may request an escrow waiver on their mortgage loan, allowing them to manage their property tax or insurance bills independently.

Lenders may grant this waiver to borrowers with a strong credit history, a low loan-to-value (LTV) ratio, or if they make a significant down payment (typically 20% or more). A down payment greater than 20% can also eliminate the requirement for mortgage insurance.

Waiving the escrow account may result in the mortgage lender charging a higher interest rate or imposing a fee. The lender assumes a higher risk when borrowers handle these payments directly.

FHA Loans (Federal Housing Administration) don’t allow escrow waivers.

Tax Escrow Meaning & Impound Account Meaning

“Tax escrow” refers to the portion of a mortgage escrow account designated for property tax payments.

Similarly, an “impound account” is another term for a mortgage escrow account, which holds taxes and homeowners insurance funds.

Pros and Cons of Mortgage Escrow Accounts

Mortgage escrow accounts offer several benefits and drawbacks:


  • Simplified budgeting: Easily manage property taxes and insurance by allocating a portion of your monthly mortgage payment to the existing escrow account.
  • Peace of mind: Timely payments reduce the risk of missed deadlines or lapsed coverage.
  • Minimizes risk for both the buyer and the lender.


  • Limited control: Borrowers have less control over the funds in the account, as the lender manages the payments.
  • Potential overpayment: Inaccurate estimates of expenses may lead to overpayment, although unused funds may be refunded or applied to future payments by the lender.
  • Lack of interest growth: Interest growth in escrow accounts is limited, and regulations vary by state.

Mortgage Escrow Account Regulations in Texas and Florida

Mortgage escrow account regulations can vary by state.

In Texas, no specific laws require interest to be paid on an existing escrow account. However, Texas has regulations to prevent the lender from requiring excessively large escrow account balances.

Florida’s lenders must pay interest on escrow account balances as long as a first mortgage or deed of trust on a one-to-four-family residential property secures the loan. The interest rate must be at least 75% of the 5-year Treasury Bill yield, adjusted annually.


The mortgage escrow account helps you manage property-related expenses and ensures a smooth home-buying experience.

By understanding the meaning and purpose of bank escrow accounts and why banks prefer them, you can make informed decisions about your finances and confidently navigate the world of homeownership.

Understanding the specific regulations in your state, such as those in Texas and Florida, can help you better assess your financial situation and ensure you’re getting the most out of your mortgage escrow account.

Contact Steve Silver at Silver Mortgage, 1-800-920-5720, for more information about mortgage escrow accounts.

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