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Credit Scoring | Eric Leigh, Mortgage Consultant

Archive for the ‘Credit Scoring’ Category

Equifax Data Breach — Helpful Links

2017 Equifax Data Breach

Here are some helpful links for you with regard to protecting your credit and identity if your credit information was compromised during the recent Equifax data breach.

The massive cyberattack and data breach disclosed by Equifax on September 7, 2017, is one of the largest, and potentially most damaging, cyberthefts ever. Equifax is one of three firms, including TransUnion and Experian, that monitor the financial health of consumers and supply data to potential lenders to help them decide whether someone should get a loan or be approved for credit.

Here are some helpful links for you to utilize to find out more information about how to you and your online credit identity may have been compromised, as well as information and links to protect your identity with a credit freeze.

To find out if you were potentially impacted: https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/potential-impact/

Experian Credit Freeze: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html

Equifax Credit Freeze: https://www.freeze.equifax.com/Freeze/jsp/SFF_PersonalIDInfo.jsp

Transunion Credit Freeze: https://freeze.transunion.com/sf/securityFreeze/landingPage.jsp

Consumer Finance Protection Bureau’s recommended action steps: https://www.consumerfinance.gov/about-us/blog/identity-theft-protection-following-equifax-data-breach/?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=identitytheft2017&utm_term=20170912

Federal Trade Commission information: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/2017/09/equifax-isnt-calling

On your team,


P.S. You can help me get this important information in front of people by “Liking” and “Sharing” this post. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly if there is anything I can do for you or anyone you know.

© 2017 Eric Leigh. All rights reserved.

What to Know About New Credit Report Changes

What to Know About New Credit Report Changes

As part of their plan to improve credit report accuracy, the three consumer credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) announced changes to what delinquent credit will be identified on credit reports.

Credit ReportEffective July 1, 2017, most civil judgments and tax liens will no longer be shown on credit reports. This is because many of these public records do not meet the credit reporting agencies’ new stricter standards for containing all of the personal information the agencies now require (like social security numbers, for example). The new standards are meant to protect consumers by preventing false identity matches and incorrect reporting information.

What does this change mean to potential homebuyers with tax liens and judgments on their reports?

According to research by FICO, about 12 million people will have a tax lien or judgment removed from their credit report. The majority will see a modest lift (20 points or less) in their credit scores as a result.

How does this change impact getting approved for a home loan?

Fannie Mae, a leading source for mortgage financing, responded to the credit report change, noting existing policy will still require those with genuine delinquent credit, including tax liens and civil judgments, to pay these debts at or prior to closing.

However, the new standards will be especially beneficial to thousands of consumers with inaccurate information on their credit reports due to mismatched records. They will no longer experience the frustration of trying to remove erroneous judgments and tax liens from their credit reports before being approved for a home loan.

If you or someone you know has been refused a home loan because of tax liens or judgments on a credit report, please don’t hesitate to call and see if these changes can be of benefit.

On your team,


P.S. You can help me get this important information in front of people by “Liking” and “Sharing” this post. Who do you know that needs a mortgage and has credit scoring concerns or questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly if there is anything I can do for you or anyone you know.

© 2017 Eric Leigh and Vantage Production, LLC. All rights reserved.

New Rules Could Boost Your Credit Scores

New Rules Could Boost Your Credit Scores

How To Raise Your Credit ScoreEach of the major credit-reporting agencies have agreed to changes in their scoring formulas that could boost your credit scores.

Help To Correct Errors

Until now, disputing inaccurate entries on your credit report resulted in a “passing of the buck” by the bureaus. They simply forwarded your complaint along to the creditor for review, then refused to adjust or even remove the inaccurate tradeline if the creditor would not admit their error. Under new rules, if you provide the appropriate documentation AND a creditor does NOT back of its stance, the credit bureaus will now assign an advocate to review your documentation. The advocate also has the power to change the tradeline, regardless of the creditor’s resistance.

Longer Time To Resolve Medical Bills

Credit reports often show medical debt that has been sent to a collection agency simply because a health insurance company was slow to pay a claim. I’ve personally seen collection accounts lower my mortgage clients’ scores by 100 points or more. Now, medical collections cannot be reported to the credit bureaus any sooner than 180 days after the medical debt becomes delinquent. This gives the insurance company and the claims process plenty of time to run its course.

No More Penalties For Unpaid Parking Tickets

Under the current system, unpaid parking tickets or overdue library book fines can end up as a collection account reporting to the credit bureaus. Now, credit reports will NOT be allowed to include charges or collections unless you agreed to a contract or signed an agreement to repay.

If you have other credit scoring questions, or would like to schedule a complimentary credit consultation, don’t hesitate to Contact Me directly. My team and I are here to help!

On your team,


P.S. Thank you in advance for your referrals to ANYONE that needs my help. Please don’t hesitate to contact me directly if there is anything I can do for you or anyone you know.

Credit Disputing Gets Easier

Rebuilding Your CreditAre you ready for some really good news?

After being pushed by the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB), the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, have now modified their dispute systems to let consumers dispute mistakes on their credit reports in greater detail.

Before this change, any problems or pissing matches you had with your creditors, and the paperwork you sent the Big Three, were assigned a “dispute code” that reduced your entire argument to one of very few assertions. (A-45) One of these codes was literally, “Not his/hers”…which gave you minimal clout with regard to your dispute with your credit issuer.

Under the new system, the credit reporting agencies have to forward your actual dispute materials to the creditor. This lets your dispute and argument be heard in full. Your creditor then has to fix any errors with all three agencies.

Our team has always helped our clients with credit disputing that is needed to help them get preapproved for a mortgage. We are EXTREMELY HAPPY that we can now continue this effort in a much more effective way. Thank you CFPB!

Protect Your Credit During the Holidays

How To Raise Your Credit ScoreChristmas and the traditional holiday shopping season, although great for our economy, can be bad news for your credit. One of the most common credit mistakes I see people make around the holiday season is the opening of new credit accounts. You may have already done this: You’re in line at your favorite department store and ready to check out. Then…your cashier tells you, “Would you like to apply for a new credit account with our store and save 10% on today’s purchase?” Sounds familiar doesn’t it.

If you’ve been sold a new department store credit card while doing your Holiday shopping you can expect the following things to happen to your credit score. First off, you will suffer from an Inquiry penalty of 2-5 points. Second, you will also incur a “new account penalty.” New account penalties can instantly penalize you up to 5% of your total FICO score (upwards of 45 points). New account penalties are typically the most damaging the first 30 days, and will become less and less impactful every 30 days after that. Most penalties have matured by day 120 and you will regain your points that were initially lost. Finally, your length of credit history will take a dive. Length of credit history will take all of your open, active accounts and take the average length of time they have been open. As an example, if you have a single account that has been open for 10 years and you open a new account today your length of credit history would be cut in half. 15% of your total credit score is dedicated to length of credit history, so it is beneficial to keep your average account history as high as possible.

There are numerous other reasons why the opening of new accounts can deduct from your credit score. If you would like more information on this subject, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly. I’m here to help you, and to be your trusted mortgage resource.

Credit Monitoring Services

Credit Monitoring

You can do this on your own for free!



There isn’t anything wrong with paying a Credit Monitoring company/service to watch your credit. However, you can do it own your own as well through the government portal AnnualCreditReport.com.

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Mortgage Moments

Credit Inquiries



You can really damage your credit score by applying for too much credit. Is saving 10% at the check-out register really worth that to you? I’ll explain how managing the number of times your credit is pulled (called hard credit inquiries) is VERY MUCH in your best interests!

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Marriage and Mortgage FAQs

When it comes to mortgage and credit underwriting, quite a bit has changed in the last 5 years. During this time, a lot of bad things have happened to people as well (job loss, bankruptcy, foreclosure, etc.). I often get questions asked of me by married couples about how we look at loan applications if one person’s credit score is lower than the other. Here are the top three FAQs that I get from married couples:

Q: Could one spouse’s bad credit negatively affect the other?
A: If a couple is applying for credit jointly, say for a loan or credit card, then yes. One person’s lower score can negatively impact the interest rate the couple will be offered. This is because every borrower has three credit scores, and lenders use the lowest “middle” credit score of the two borrowers. We have seen many situations in the past in which one borrower was dropped from the application – but only if the lower score belongs to a non-working spouse. This can create a serious issue, however, if the income is needed in order to qualify.

Q: Can one spouse’s low score negatively affect the couple’s chances of securing a mortgage?
A: Yes, if one borrower has negative credit items, such as late payments or a foreclosure, the worst of the two will be taken into account when considering your mortgage application. With a foreclosure, this could mean having to wait at least three years to be eligible for a loan again.

Q: Does the lender use both people as a measure of creditworthiness, or is it possible to focus on the spouse with the better score?
A: In the past, this was possible, but now the lowest score of the two (or however many) people on the application is used. For example, if two couples buy investment property or a second home, the lowest credit score of those four people will be used to determine the rate (which includes loan-level price adjustments or “risk-based” pricing). This could also include parents that are co-signing a loan for one of their children.

Please feel to call (208-880-0316) or email me if you have any questions!

Protecting Your Credit

Credit Protection: Do it Yourself or Call in the Pros?

I”ve noticed a trend lately: There seems to be a lot of credit protection companies popping up recently that promise to help you lock down your credit information and help with identity theft protection. And while these services and credit companies can be valuable and worth the subscription fees and cash guarantees, there are steps proactive consumers can take to protect their personal credit information and save a few bucks in the process – if they’re up for the challenge. The following are a few pros and cons of both options.

Fraud Alerts – The main step credit protection programs take is to activate a fraud alert on your credit profile at all three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. This action alerts creditors that they must verify your identity before opening any credit accounts, making it much more challenging (although not impossible) for any credit accounts to be opened in your name. The good news is you don’t have to pay a company to do it for you. You can activate a fraud alert on your own credit reports for free. The problem, however, is that fraud alerts are temporary and have to be renewed at each of the three main bureaus for each person in your family, depending on which type of alert you activate. This can be difficult to online casinos manage if you don’t stay on top of the deadlines.

Currently there are three types of fraud alerts: A three-month fraud alert, which is the main service credit protection companies provide to you for a fee. For active military consumers, there’s a one-year fraud alert. And, if you can prove that your identity has been stolen, you may be eligible for a seven-year fraud alert. To create one of these fraud alerts that best fits your needs, contact the three main credit bureaus for more info: Equifax: 1-888-766-0008 or visit www.equifax.com; Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742) or www.experian.com; and TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 or www.transunion.com.

Opt Out List After placing a fraud alert on your credit profile, the next step is to request that your name be removed from all pre-approved credit offers and junk mailing lists. Credit protection companies will likely do this for you as part of their paid service, but you can do it yourself by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or you can go to https://www.optoutprescreen.com.

Free Credit Reports and Monitoring – This is where credit protection companies really earn their money. While you have the right to a free credit report from each of the three credit bureaus once a year, all subsequent credit reports will cost you. For a lot of consumers, monitoring their credit report once a year is simply not enough, and credit protection companies that provide more frequent monitoring options as part of their service can create a peace of mind well worth the subscription fee. To get your free annual report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com.

No Guarantees – The biggest value of credit protection companies is a cash guarantee. After all, when it comes to credit protection, there is no single method to avoid identity or credit theft 100% of the time. With this in mind, some credit protection companies offer a cash guarantee up to a certain amount to fix the errors caused by the failure of their services.

Ultimately, it’s your responsibility to protect your credit. And while there are steps you can take to do it yourself, remember one thing: There’s no shame in calling in the pros.

Why Did Your Credit Score Drop?