I’m Not Digging “Triggering” My Credit
It started out innocent enough; Pricilla had refinanced her mortgage many times in the past. First, when she bought her small two bedroom one bath bungalow in an up-trending
neighborhood, with a local sponsored low down payment program. As a single woman it was a challenge with her income level at the time. It was an excellent value with an extremely motivated seller offering many seller incentives such as paying for all her closing costs and prepaids. Three years later, with a new promotion and higher pay, Pricilla decided to add an additional bedroom, bath and a pool. This was a special program, which refinanced the first mortgage and escrowed sufficient monies to put on the addition and add the pool all in one new loan. As it mimicked a construction/perm type loan which carries a little more risk and a higher interest rate in this case. After five years with current interest rates below what Pricilla was paying on her construction/perm type home improvement loan she decided to shop for a loan. Pricilla had always utilized the same mortgage broker who worked so hard to get her credit straightened out and position her to buy with the special subsidized program on her original purchase of the bungalow. Now married, with three young children, Pricilla never forgot the incredible lengths which Emily, the mortgage broker, had taken to get her into the house. Emily had kept in touch though out the years and Pricilla was quick to pass along many referrals of friends and family to Emily who had always done an outstanding job of getting a good market rate and reasonable closing costs. Many of the referrals had challenged credit and Emily systematically worked to get them on track and over a few months time were able to buy their own home. Pricilla and Emily had become friends and shared many family experiences over their time from the first meeting. Emily had acted as a matchmaker resulting in Pricilla marrying her husband. In Pricilla’s mind, Emily was more than a mortgage broker, she was indeed a close friend.
Pricilla and her husband Bob, in a falling interest climate, had decided to refinance. They automatically called Emily to discuss some mortgage options. Emily demonstrated scenarios to a lower rate while paying off some credit cards and reducing the monthly expenditures by some 0 per month. Not wanting to extend the term of the loan, Emily suggested that by mirroring the current loan term the mortgage would pay off the mortgage in the exact same period. The Good Faith Estimate, Truth In Lending and all the other disclosures were signed including the Borrower’s Authorization allowing Emily to pull Pricilla and Bob’s credit with the three credit reporting agencies. Emily had collected two years worth of W-2s, three months bank statements with all pages and all accounts together with a month’s worth of pay stubs showing year to date earnings for each. Emily knew that with the good possibility of an automatic underwriter approval that she may not need all the collected information, but did want to disturb them for additional information when she could just get it on the first visit. In addition, Emily, collected a copy of the new sealed survey when the addition was constructed, a copy of the original owner’s title policy, a copy of the current note and mortgage with the most recent mortgage statements showing balance, account numbers and phone numbers for payoff balances. Emily also took copies of the credit card statements representing the additional debt that would be paid off at closing. Emily returned to the office and entered the information in the computer to obtain an automatic underwriting approval. Emily already figured with Pricilla and Bob’s debt to income and on time mortgage pay history that it would go right through. It did. The approval came back ACCEPT PLUS. The findings came back with the credit report that had been pulled during the process. Per agreement, Emily proceeded to lock the loan per the Good Faith Estimate and application. There would be a full 30 days to close this loan. The financial markets were beginning to waffle again and rates may shoot back up, but this loan was now locked guaranteeing the offered rate per conditions. Emily called Pricilla and Bob with the good news. Emily set up a time for the appraisal to do an interior inspection with the borrowers paying for the appraisal at the door. Things were coming together nice and neat.
The very next day when Pricilla and Bob got home from work, there were four calls from other mortgage companies inquiring about refinancing their loan. They seemed to know a lot about their personal information from current loan amounts, lender, and the fact that they had applied for a new mortgage. Pricilla and Bob looked at each other in amazement and said, “Let’s call Emily and find out what is going on”. Upon reaching Emily, she explained that recently, that some of the credit reporting agencies had been selling the mortgage refinance inquires to other lenders with all their personal information included in the sold lead. Pricilla and Bob were just flabbergasted on how their personal information could be bandied about to complete strangers. Emily went on to explain that these were called “trigger lists” and if they wanted to Opt-Out they could go to www.optoutprescreen.com but it takes several days to go into effect. Pricilla opted out.
About the Author: Dale Rogers is a thirty-year mortgage veteran and frequent contributor to the Broken Credit Blog The BCB is a free website created to assist the general public with information about credit repair and responsible mortgage lending.