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Your credit score may be pure gold and still come in 2nd

Reader wonders how a neighbor got a better mortgage rate.

DEAR HARRY: I am in an unusual situation. We just bought a home in a new development with a $300,000 mortgage. My credit rating is pure gold, so we got favorable loan terms and a good interest rate. When we visited the house last week, we discovered that our neighbor, who settled one week before us, got a rate of .25 percent below ours at the same bank. On a $300,000 mortgage, that's a cool $750 the first year. I went to see the loan officer at the bank, and he told me that each loan is tailored to the situation. I can't believe that my credit did not warrant the lowest possible rate. I checked with my own bank, and I was told a similar story. What in blazes is going on here?

WHAT HARRY SAYS: I cannot be sure of your situation, but let me cite some possible reasons. First of all, you have market rates. In a volatile time for interest rates, even a 1 percent difference can happen in a week. I remember just that situation back in the '80s when two business partners got a 1.5 percent rate difference within the same week. You may have a pure-gold credit score, but your neighbor may have a platinum score. He also may have more influence with the bank through other transactions or accounts. If your conscience will allow it, it may help you to use the influence of someone you know who is a top-notch customer of the bank.

write to him at Daily News, 801 Market St., Philadelphia, PA 19107.