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I assume your portfolio is in retirement accounts? If so, that is why it cannot be used as collateral.

If it is outside of retirement accounts, it can be collateralized. You just may need to find a new bank.

The other comment regarding income is true in my experience. If these assets are in a retirement account and you have not been using them as income, you may need to show a few months (or more) of income coming out of it before the bank will count it - which is why they likely suggested an annuity to reflect consistent income.

This is the part I don't get:

Living off comfortable portfolio.

If you are living off your portfolio, have you not already demonstrated income being pulled from such?
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