Word just in from one of our friends – a local Realtor in Fort Lauderdale, FL that could affect many of our friends and family. It seems not only are the banks and mortgage companies making it harder to get new loans, but they have started taking back access to equity lines they have already granted in light of declining property values.We have stated in previous articles and blog posts that lenders reserve the right to freeze a line of credit on property that has been damaged in the aftermath of a hurricane. If the lender’s collateral is no longer there or is damaged, then they may not allow homeowners to access the available credit when a homeowner may need it most. According to our friend, though, his line of credit was frozen due to a drop in property value – even though there is nothing wrong with the home.We have said it countless times before – money in property is not the same thing as money in the bank. It may not be there to “withdraw” via a loan or line of credit when you need it most. Thankfully, our friend wasn’t put in jeopardy by this situation, but there may be people who are using their line of credit as a savings “account” and have their money in the line of credit instead of the bank. If the bulk of someone’s savings is suddenly trapped in their home, it could be devastating for them.Right now, with the market in flux, the safest place to have your money is where you can get it easily – in the bank or some other account instead of your house. If you were planning on using money from an equity line of credit some time this year or next, you should really look at the option of taking it out of the property now. Perhaps using a larger first mortgage product – rates are very low right now on fixed rate loans. Just don’t leave yourself at the mercy of bank policies that will be aimed at protecting their interest instead of yours.