Interest Rate On Insurance And Tax Escrow Accounts - Q3 1999

By the Division of Banks

Mass. Gen. Laws chapter 183, section 61 governs the payment of interest on tax escrow accounts by a mortgagee. It is only applicable to real estate tax escrow accounts and does not apply to escrow accounts for insurance premiums. The Commonwealth has no statute which mandates the payment of interest on insurance escrow accounts. Additionally, said section 61 establishes a mandatory requirement that a mortgagee holding a first lien on a 1-4 family, owner-occupied property who requires the establishment of an escrow account for the payment of real estate taxes shall pay interest to the mortgagor on the funds. The statute contains a provision that interest shall be paid at least once a year "at a rate and in a manner" to be determined by the mortgagees. Therefore, it is the position of the Division that although interest is required to be paid to the borrower on real estate tax escrow accounts, it is the mortgagee which establishes the rate of interest which is paid. Other provisions are set out in the statute.