Protect your personal data.
You may be surprised to learn how fast Experian, Equifax and Trans Union are selling your customer's data to the highest bidder.
If you’ve experienced an influx of junk mail and phone solicitations from creditors, banks, and mortgage companies since you started the loan application process, you may want to opt out from what we call “Trigger Lists.”
While it’s not strictly ethical, the three credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion—are legally allowed to sell your name, FICO score, phone number, and other pertinent data once your mortgage professional has pulled your credit report. Within 24 hours of a credit pull, you could be stuck fielding calls and junk mail from companies trying to sell you mortgage-related services.
The three credit bureaus have created a de facto marketing department for mostly large mortgage companies willing to pay upwards of $30,000 a month for these lists. Most notably, Experian’s Prospect Trigger Report provides your client’s name, FICO scores, phone number and other pertinent data as fast as 24 hours after you pull your client’s credit report.
Lenders with substantial marketing budgets are able to buy lists of consumers who have had their credit accessed for mortgage purposes and immediately begin soliciting those consumers over the phone. Most small to medium size brokerages are often unable to afford this type of expense on a regular monthly basis. Large corporations, on the other hand, do not face the same expense restrictions further putting the average mortgage broker at a distinct competitive disadvantage.
This is creating a very uneasy situation in the mortgage industry. By default, almost every small to medium size mortgage broker is becoming a lead factory for large mortgage banks prepared to swoop in and take your hard-earned customer. The National Association of Mortgage Brokers (NAMB) has taken a strong stance against this practice as a violation of the FCRA and as a practice not in the best interest of consumers. The association has met with representatives of the FTC and Congress to discuss the use of prescreening by third party lead generators and the potential negative impact it will have on consumers and the mortgage industry.
We certainly will hear more about the practice of Trigger Lists in the months ahead. In the meantime, consumers can opt-out by visiting www.optoutprescreen.com and completing the simple 5-year opt-out form or by calling 888-567-8688. When discussing this option with your clients please make them aware of the following:
- Opting out (or not opting out) has no impact on their credit score.
- Removing their name from these lists for firm offers of credit or insurance DOES NOT affect their ability to obtain credit or insurance.
- Consumers may not submit opt-out requests on behalf of other members of their family.
- The opt-out process can take up to 5 business days to take effect.