Changes to Credit Reporting

Credit Reporting Changes – Effective by June 8, 2018

Pursuant to a 2015 settlement between the New York Attorney General and the three credit reporting agencies, important changes are on the way to consumer credit reports.  An additional agreement between the three credit reporting agencies and another 31 state attorneys general ensure the changes will be nationwide. The changes are being made in three phases with the most significant and final phase which must be implemented by June 8, 2018.

The most momentous impact for the largest number of consumers concern medical collections:

  • The credit bureaus – Experian, Trans Union and Equifax must reject any report of a collection that is not at least 180 days old. Thus, giving the insurance company or consumer time to pay the bill before it is reported as a collection account.
  • Medical collections which are paid, or which are being paid through insurance will be removed or suppressed from credit reports.
  • Collection accounts which have not been updated on the report for six months must be removed or not factored into the scores.
  • The credit reporting agencies will remove any collection that did not arise from a contract or agreement to pay by the consumer. This includes, among other items, collections for traffic and parking tickets or library fines.

This will have a substantial impact on a consumer’s credit scores. Any collection account will negatively impact a consumer’s credit score by at least 100 points. Not having those collections factored in or having them removed provides opportunities for many consumers that could not previously qualify for home or vehicle loans as well as credit cards. This will also help consumers obtain lower insurance premiums, allow for greater employment opportunities* and possibly even better romantic matches.

Authorized user(AU) accounts are also affected. The credit bureaus will not allow AU accounts to be reported unless the date of birth of the AU is provided by the creditor. So, going forward, anyone adding an AU to their credit cards will need to supply the user’s date of birth before it will be reported on their credit report.

The bureaus must now communicate with each other regarding mixed files. If one of the credit reporting agencies receives a dispute from a consumer that their file is mixed, the credit bureaus must now use specially trained staff to communicate and globally correct the problem.

The credit reporting agencies can no longer reject a consumer’s second dispute of any account because they had a previous dispute of the account in the last three years. This does not apply to disputes made by credit repair organizations (CRO) on the behalf of a consumer. CROs are infamous for entering multiple disputes for consumers on the same accounts monthly.  All but the first dispute made by a CRO will be rejected.

All changes will be implemented on all scoring models and must be in place by June 8, 2018. These changes are long overdue and will have positive impact on thousands of consumer reports.

*Colorado prohibits the use of credit reports in determining employment eligibility with certain exceptions.

Image attribution

Financially Speaking™ James Spray RMLO, CNE, FICO Pro | CO LMO 100008715 | NMLS 257365 | February 19, 2018

Notice: The information on this blog is opinion and information. While I have made every effort to link accurate and complete information, I cannot guarantee it is correct. Please seek legal assistance to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct. This information is not legal advice and is for guidance only. You may use this information in whole and not in part providing you give full attribution to James Spray.

The PURCHASE Reverse Mortgage (H4P)

What Is A Purchase Reverse Mortgage?

By way of background, a previous blog on reverse mortgages discusses the general facts regarding reverse mortgages. Let’s talk specifically about the purchase reverse mortgage, which is otherwise known as the Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM) for purchase [H4P]. This product was created by the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA). The product is insured by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and guaranteed by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). In short, the purchase reverse is a way to purchase a home with only a down payment. In addition to the down payment, the buyer is responsible for paying the homeowners insurance, property taxes and (if applicable) Home Owner Association (HOA) fees. There are no principal or interest payments required. However, one may make principal and interest payments by choice not necessity. Finally, if the loan balance on the reverse mortgage eventually exceeds the home’s value, the lender is insured against that loss.

Who Is It Good For?

BORROWER: Age 62 and older based on the youngest titleholder. A non-borrowing spouse under the age of 62 may be added to the loan providing the spouse is over the age of 18. There is no credit required, nor a credit score requirement and only minimal income requirements. This is a minimum documentation loan.

PROPERTY: Single family homes as well as 2-4-unit residential properties and all FHA approved condos are eligible. Title may be held as fee simple, a living trust, and leasehold or life estate. The property must meet FHA appraisal requirements. If the property does not meet FHA criteria (health and safety issues), a set aside account will be established for up to six months while the health and safety requirements of the FHA appraisal criteria are met. The property may be either an existing home or a new build home, so long as the property meets FHA standards.

Examples by Age and Purchase Price of a Home Equity Conversion Mortgage

Purchase Price Age Down Payment HECM Funds
$300,000 62 $174,688 $138,300
74 $153,088 $159,900
80 $138,388 $174,600
86 $118,888 $194,100
$679,650 62 $427,230 $274,180
74 $381,427 $319,983
80 $349,620 $351,790
86 $307,634 $393,776

January 1, 2018 – Pricing is subject to change at any time.

To illustrate – let’s look at the example of a $300,000.00 purchase at age 74: To purchase the residence, the HECM borrower would need $153,088 to close on the purchase of a $300,000.00 property. The balance of the proceeds is provided with the HECM as a benefit of the HECM program and include closing costs. In all examples of HECM purchase mortgages, no mortgage payments are required. All that must be paid out-of-pocket on an annual basis are real estate taxes, homeowners insurance and HOA fees (if applicable). There are no required payments of principal, interest, or other mortgage costs (including upfront costs) until termination of the HECM.

Who Likes Reverse Mortgages The Best? The Borrowers Who Have One!

95% Partially to fully meets my financial needs

93% Positive effect on my life

89% Would refer a friend

94% Report peace of mind

89% Report a more comfortable lifestyle

87% Report a better quality of life

Source: AARP December 2007. Survey of 1500 HECM Borrowers

Why The H4P Can Be Good

A reverse mortgage for purchase allows older Americans to buy a house that better suits their needs without dumping all their retirement assets into it, which would be the case in an all-cash transaction. It also lets them avoid dipping into their monthly fixed income, which would occur if they took out a traditional mortgage. It provides more purchasing power  and doesn’t drain all of the assets. It allows a buyer the luxury to get a better lot, to add all the upgrades they want and to still have no mortgage payment.

The home is titled in the owner’s home; as with all mortgages, the lender retains a security interest in the title. There are no monthly mortgage payments. Instead, the loan is repaid when the home is sold or the borrower no longer resides in the home. The repayment to the lender includes the amount borrowed, plus accumulated interest. Any remaining equity belongs to the borrower, heirs or estate. The heirs may purchase the property for the balance due or 95% of the value, whichever is less.

TIPS: There are no concessions allowed by sellers, builders or agents; this includes any personal property. As well, the buyer must pay for the title insurance. There can be no repair set-asides; all repairs, where major property deficiencies, such as

  • No running water
  • Leaking roof
  • No primary heating source
  • Inadequate electrical system (including lighting)
  • Inoperable doors and windows (inhibited ingress and egress)
  • State or local code violations

which threaten the health and safety of the homeowner and/or jeopardize the soundness and security of the property, must be completed by the seller prior to closing. (H4P FAQs per HUD).

NOTICE: (1) Rates are subject to change without notice. For specific and current information contact me or your H4P Specialist. (2) The illustrations in the above chart titled: *Examples by Buyers Age and Purchase Price, are representative examples only. The figures are not intended to be anything other than representative illustrations in order to convey the concept of the purchase reverse mortgage.

DISCLOSURE: The information provided herein is not intended to be an indication of loan approval or a commitment to lend. Additional program guidelines may apply. Information is subject to change without notice.

DISCLAIMER: This post does not represent that any of the information provided is approved by HUD or FHA or any US Government Agency.

Financially Speaking™ James Spray, RMLO, CNE, FICO Pro

CO LMO 100008715 | NMLS 257365| First Published 01/11/10 | Updated January 1, 2018

Notice: The information on this blog is opinion and information. While I have made every effort to link accurate and complete information, I cannot guarantee it is correct. Please seek legal assistance to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct. This information is not legal advice and is for guidance only. You may use this information in whole and not in part providing you give full attribution to James Spray.

Timeline: Bankruptcy to Mortgage Chart

Experiencing a severe credit event such as foreclosure, short-sale, deed-in-lieu of foreclosure or bankruptcy does not mean you will never be eligible to get a home loan. This chart provides the time-out periods required by event. The assumptions are that you have established acceptable credit scores and meet underwriting guidelines. In certain circumstances, one may qualify for a mortgage upon discharge of a Chapter 7 or during a Chapter 13.

Financially Speaking™ James Spray RMLO, CNE, FICO Pro | CO LMO 100008715 | NMLS 257365 | Originally published in 2010 and updated regularly | September 19, 2017 Contact me to obtain a pdf copy of this chart.

Notice: The information on this blog is opinion and information. While I have made every effort to link accurate and complete information, I cannot guarantee it is correct. Please seek legal assistance to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct for your situation. This information is not legal advice and is for guidance only. You may reproduce this information in whole and not in part, providing you give full attribution to James Spray.

National Elder Abuse Resources and Colorado Financial Elder Abuse Mandatory Reporting Law

Elderly folks tend to be more trusting and less informed of the latest scams, making them the perfect target. To learn more about elder abuse, on the national level, two great resources are the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the National Center on Elder Abuse.

In Colorado, there is the Colorado Coalition for Elder Rights and Abuse Prevention.

As well, Colorado has a mandatory reporting law (including financial abuse) for certain categories of professionals and other workers.

Sadly, it is all too common where a family member is committing financial abuse of a parent, grandparent or other senior family member.

While it is encouraged that reporters of elder financial abuse contact local law enforcement, we’ve learned many local law enforcement agencies are unaware of the Colorado financial elder abuse law and are not trained on how to deal with it.

To report elder abuse in Colorado, the first option is to contact the Adult Protective Services (APS) intake office within the county department of human services were the at-risk adult lives. Click anywhere in this sentence for a current list of phone numbers to report elder abuse.

If reporting to the county APS office is not a viable option, contact the District Attorney’s office for the county in which the at-risk adult lives.

Image attribution

Financially Speaking™ James Spray RMLO, CNE, FICO Pro | CO LMO 100008715 | NMLS 257365 |August 26, 2017

Notice: The information on this blog is opinion and information. While I have made every effort to link accurate and complete information, I cannot guarantee it is correct. Please seek legal assistance to make certain your legal interpretation and decisions are correct. This information is not legal advice and is for guidance only. You may use this information in whole and not in part providing you give full attribution to James Spray.

Do you prefer a ReLOC or HELOC? – Tools for Retirement Planning

Tom Davidson has written and illustrated another great article which I know you will enjoy reading. Here are the first few paragraphs which lead into the link to his wonderful presentation:

“HELOCs (Home Equity Lines of Credit) are widely used. Simply having one makes many people more comfortable. My wife and I had a standby HELOC for many years – ready to use as a convenience or in an emergency. Luckily that emergency never happened, but we felt well prepared knowing we had ready access to a substantial amount of cash that could be used for anything we needed. When I was a financial advisor, a HELOC was on my checklist to discuss with every client – at least those who were prudent with their money.

ReLOC: A Retirees Line of Credit

Is there a better alternative for homeowners over age 62?  A ReLOC may be a far better choice for many retirees. ReLOC is a nickname that stands for either Retirees Line oCredit or Reverse Mortgage Line of Credit. While ReLOCs share many features with HELOCs, three unique features make a ReLOC a line of credit designed for retirees:

  1. The amount you can access grows every month
  2. You don’t have to make payments until you permanently leave your home
  3. The loan can’t be canceled, reduced, or frozen as long as you keep up with basic mortgage obligations (property tax, homeowner’s insurance, basic maintenance, and Homeowner’s Association dues).

Here’s the borrowing limits for a ReLOC and a HELOC for a 63-year-old in a $400,000 house who lives to age 99:”

Source: Do you prefer a ReLOC or HELOC? – Tools for Retirement Planning

Don’t Risk Your Credit Score In Retirement – WBRC FOX6 News – Birmingham, AL

Cancelling infrequently used credit cards may seem like a good strategy, but your credit score may be adversely affected. Adam Carroll, Founder and Chief Education Officer of National Financial Educators, explains: “When you have a long-standing trade line, which is what a credit card is considered on your credit report, and you cancel that card for whatever reason, your score will actually go down as a result because one of the main impacts on your credit score is the length of credit history.” A shorter credit history translates to higher risk in the eyes of lenders.

Sean McQuay, Credit and Banking Expert at NerdWallet, agrees but includes another reason to keep older cards, noting that closing a card account results in “decreasing your overall credit line, which basically signals that a bank trusts you less.”

In addition to decreasing your overall credit line, closing an infrequently used account raises your credit utilization your total credit in use compared to your cumulative credit line. High credit utilization suggests a greater chance of falling behind on payments and/or defaulting on debts.

To avoid these pitfalls, make periodic small purchases on all your open credit cards to keep them active and pay the balances in full at the end of each billing period. By keeping credit spending low, you can still address debts while getting the full benefits of your credit account.

It’s okay to concentrate most of your credit spending in one account to maximize rewards. Just use alternate accounts often enough to keep them from being closed for lack of activity.

Source: Don’t Risk Your Credit Score In Retirement – WBRC FOX6 News – Birmingham, AL

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion launched a new website, per NY Atty Gen Agreement

News Release

JUNE 09, 2016

Equifax, Experian and TransUnion today launched a new website, http://NationalConsumerAssistancePlan.com, to inform and update consumers about implementation of the National Consumer Assistance Plan, an initiative launched by the three companies in March, 2015 to enhance their ability to make credit reports more accurate and make it easier for consumers to correct any errors on their credit reports.

“Providing both consumers and businesses with accurate, transparent credit reports is our first priority,” said Stuart Pratt, President and CEO of the Consumer Data Industry Association, the trade association representing the consumer data industry, including the three national credit reporting agencies. “The nationwide consumer credit reporting companies are making important changes to their procedures that will improve their ability to collect accurate information, and we want to make sure consumers know about the new options available to them.”

The National Consumer Assistance Plan is being implemented over three years, and the new website will serve as a vehicle for updating consumers about changes to their ability to interact with the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies.

Changes included in the National Consumer Assistance Plan include:

  • Consumer experience:
    • Consumers visiting www.annualcreditreport.com, the website that allows consumers to obtain a free credit report once a year will see expanded educational material.
    • Consumers who obtain their free annual credit report and dispute information resulting in modification of the disputed item will be able to obtain another free annual report without waiting a year.
    • Consumers who dispute items on their credit reports will receive additional information from the credit reporting agencies along with the results of their dispute, including a description of what they can do if they are not satisfied with the outcome of their dispute.
    • The credit reporting agencies (CRAs) are focusing on an enhanced dispute resolution process for victims of identity theft and fraud, as well as those who may have credit information belonging to another consumer on their file, commonly called a “mixed file.”
  • Data accuracy and quality:
    • Medical debts won’t be reported until after a 180-day “waiting period” to allow insurance payments to be applied. The CRAs will also remove from credit reports previously reported medical collections that have been or are being paid by insurance.
    • Consistent standards will be reinforced by the credit bureaus to lenders and others that submit data for inclusion in a credit report (data furnishers).
    • Data furnishers will be prohibited from reporting authorized users without a date of birth and the CRAs will reject data that does not comply with this requirement.
    • The CRAs will eliminate the reporting of debts that did not arise from a contract or agreement by the consumer to pay, such as traffic tickets or fines.
    • A multi-company working group of the nationwide consumer credit reporting companies has been formed to regularly review and help ensure consistency and uniformity in the data submitted by data furnishers for inclusion in a consumer’s credit report.

The National Consumer Assistance Plan builds on other steps the credit bureaus have made in recent years to improve consumer’s ability to resolve issues related to credit reports. In 2013, the companies launched a process under which consumers can upload documents digitally to dispute how their lenders have reported their accounts to the credit bureaus.

The plan was launched after cooperative discussions and an agreement with New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman and a group of other State Attorneys General.

Source: News Release

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