One of the things that seems remarkable to me, during this time of falling home values and mortgage lenders pulling back on how much they will lend for home equity loans, is the fact that refinancing is still being touted by some as a way to pay off credit cards.
Despite some of the issues surrounding the credit market crisis, the home equity loan is still being pushed as a desirable debt consolidation technique. This can be quite problematic if you actually use this "opportunity." With falling home values, a home equity loan could make the difference between positive equity and negative equity in your home.
Additionally, when you pay off credit cards with a home refinance you are actually exchange unsecured debt for secured debt. With unsecured debt, the things that creditors could take from you is relatively limited. They can damage your credit rating pretty badly, but there is only so much that they can do in terms of your assets.
When you secure your unsecured credit cards with a home equity loan, though, the story changes. Now it is possible for your lender to go after your house. Before refinancing your home to pay off credit cards, carefully consider your other options.