(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Just in case anyone’s wondering how tough it really is to get a mortgage these days, consider this: Even Ben S. Bernanke got turned down for a loan.

The former Federal Reserve chairman revealed this tid-bit Thursday at a conference in Chicago, where he was the keynote luncheon speaker. Bernanke told the crowd that he had tried to refinance his mortgage, according to Bloomberg, but was “unsuccessful in doing so.”

“I’m not making that up,” Bernanke said when the audience laughed.

Bernanke was trying to make a point about tight lending conditions, which he said continue to hamper the housing recovery. “The housing area is one area where regulation has not yet got it right,” he said. 

Bernanke purchased his three-bedroom Capitol Hill rowhouse in 2004 for $839,000, public records show. He and his wife have refinanced the home twice since then, in 2009 and again in 2011. (That year, the Wall Street Journal reported that Bernanke owed $672,000 after refinancing.) The property was appraised at $880,700 as of last year.

Bernanke, who recently joined the Brookings Institution as a distinguished fellow, did not say why he could not refinance this time.

Maybe he doesn’t have verifiable income now that he’s out the Fed?