If you’ve owned a home, you’ve probably experienced a strange phenomenon: A million calls from different lenders begging for your refinance business. I know, it’s annoying, right? I’ve had clients who receive 10 or more such calls a day; I’d be pulling my eyeballs out, but that’s never happened to me because I know how the system works, and in 5 minutes, you will too. There are two main methods by which mortgage lenders/brokers get your information and bombard you with phone calls, day in and day out.
As you probably already know, when you apply for a mortgage, your credit is pulled; in and of itself, no big deal, and it’s necessary for a prequalification. What you probably don’t know is that the three credit bureaus, Experian, Transunion, and Equifax, automatically generate what’s called a Mortgage Trigger Lead, the lead is your information, and the credit bureaus sell this information to participating lenders/brokers. Here’s how it works…
A lender/broker signs up with the credit bureaus to receive Trigger Leads when someone’s credit is pulled for the purpose of qualifying for a mortgage. The lender/broker specifies certain requirements to the credit bureaus regarding credit score, loan amount, property value, and a multitude of other factors, which basically amounts to that specific lender/broker’s profile for the mortgage shoppers it wishes to target. When your credit is pulled for the purpose of qualifying for a mortgage, the credit bureaus compare your information with the profile designated by the lender/broker that requested the trigger leads; if your information matches the that profile, the lender/broker receives your information from the credit bureaus and, in turn, pays the credit bureaus for that information. Now, that lender/broker knows your information and that you’re in the market for a mortgage, so you get a phone call. This happens on an enormous scale every day, and your information may be sold to several different lenders/brokers, hence the phone calls. I’ve actually had a client solicited in this way by a broker who pretended to be with my company; I spoke to my client the next day and she told me that she supplied “Jim” with all the information I needed to submit her loan to the bank. Needless to say, she wasn’t exactly happy when she found out “Jim” didn’t work for my company.
Thankfully, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) offers you the opportunity to opt-out of this system altogether via mail, telephone, or internet. Just call 1-888-5-OPTOUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit www.optoutprescreen.com. If you opt-out electronically, the opt-out period is currently limited to 5 years. You can opt out by mail, permanently, by visiting the above website and following the permanent opt-out instructions.
Mortgage Title Leads:
Mortgage companies can order a list of leads of current mortgage holders in the form of Title Leads from most Title Companies. Lenders/Brokers use these leads for telemarketing and, if you get on one of these lists, you may receive dozens of phone calls every day from telemarketers soliciting your mortgage business. These leads are usually free for mortgage companies and the only way to opt-out of these is to put yourself in the National Do Not Call Registry. You can register your home or mobile phone number and the request is valid for 5 years; keep in mind, it can take up to 31 days to become effective. I’d like to say that all companies comply with the National Do Not Call Registry, but I know from experience that they don’t; so it may not eliminate all telemarketing calls, but it will eliminate most of them. If you do receive telemarketing calls more than 31 days after you’ve registered in the Do Not Call Registry, you have the ability to sue the company soliciting you.