Recently, I received my new mortgage payment coupon booklet that contained an analysis of my past year's escrow. This escrow is collected each month with my mortgage and is used to cover the yearly property tax bill and annual homeowner's insurance premium. There was a statement I read, but did not pay much attention to that said if the remaining money from the 2008 escrow account totaled more than $50, I would receive a refund check.
A couple weeks later, I received a check in the mail from the company that holds my mortgage for $60.11, the amount that was listed as remaining in my escrow account. Aside from being an annoying way to eliminate the excess money (and wasting paper and money to send to me), I had no qualms figuring out how to use the money: add it to my mortgage payment.
Why do I consider this an annoying answer to the solution of excess escrow funds? Why not have the mortgage company automatically add the money to my principle and just send me a statement? You see, I do not have immediate access to my credit union where I live and there is not a branch near my work. This means I have to take extra time and go to the bank to deposit the check. I really like electronic deposits and transfers to get my money to where I want without difficulty, and ATMs are ubiquitious enough I can easily find one to withdraw cash quickly. So an extra trip to my credit union to deposit the check so I can send the money back to the mortgage company seems quite silly. Efficiency at its best!
Still, I am grateful for paying more to my principle (I am only in the third year of a 30-year mortgage), and this was the best use of the money I consider part of my mortgage anyway. Since I used all my tax refund money for my Roth IRA, I was not able to give my mortgage a little boost earlier this year and am not willing to commit more money to such an illiquid account.