145,500,000 American ID’s at Risk – 2nd UPDATE 09/11/2017

Credit Bureau Breached – 143,000,000 American ID’s at Risk – Use The Below Links

identitytheft (1)

Equifax, one of the major credit reporting agencies in the United States discovered their security systems have been breached.

Social Security, Driver License, Dates of Birth, Addresses and other personal information has been stolen.

This effects about half the population of the USA.

See if your personal information is potentially impacted. Schedule now to see if your ID has been compromised. There is no cost to you. Register now, there is a lag time. Many others are also registering.

https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com

Although it is a huge pain in the posterior (both to implement and to deal with when you apply for credit) I am now placing a freeze on my credit, too, with each of the four credit bureaus.

Equifax Freeze Link

TransUnion Credit Freeze

Experian Credit Freeze

Innovis

The downside is having to remove the freeze whenever you wish to apply for new credit, obtain insurance or in some cases get a new job. Another downside is having to pay to release the freeze for a specific purpose or to have it removed. And there are the new PIN numbers to keep safe. Aaarg.

It is actually rather easy to set up a freeze on your credit files with the three bureaus. I don’t think this can be said for the “free” credit report/free credit score sites. Frankly, I don’t think you can do anything to protect your information once it is provided to the “free” service provider.

Frankly, if Equifax cannot keep my information secure, I am not about to provide my personal information to sites that offer free credit and free scores. I have never forgotten what Robert Heinlein wrote in 1966: TANSTAFFL.

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UPDATE September 11, 2017

The following information was provided to me this morning by EQUIFAX pursuant to my registration to determine whether my ID had been compromised.

A Progress Update for Consumers

September 11, 2017

We are committed to keeping consumers updated on the steps we are taking to provide them with the support they need and address any issues they are facing in response to this incident. We recognize that some consumers continue to face challenges and in response we have made the following updates:

1) Adjusted our PIN Generation for Security Freezes
We understand and appreciate that consumers have questions about how a PIN is currently generated for a consumer initiating an Equifax security freeze solution. All consumers placing a security freeze will be provided a randomly generated PIN.

2) Call Center Support
When we recognized that Hurricane Irma could impact some of our call center wait times, we arranged to ramp up agents quickly to replace agents impacted by the storm and updated our website to make consumers aware of the situation.

3) Clarification Regarding Automatic Sign-Up to TrustedID Premier
We are not requesting consumers’ credit card information when they sign up for the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection we are offering to all U.S. consumers. Consumers who sign up for TrustedID Premier will not be automatically enrolled or charged after the conclusion of the complimentary year of TrustedID Premier.

4) Obvious Link from Equifax.com
To make it easier for consumers to find the website dedicated to providing information about this incident, we have reconfigured our website, www.equifax.com, to feature the link more prominently.

5) Adjusted the TrustedID Premier and Clarified Equifax.com
We’ve added an FAQ to our website to confirm that enrolling in the free credit file monitoring and identity theft protection that we are offering as part of this cybersecurity incident does not waive any rights to take legal action. We removed that language from the Terms of Use on the website, http://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com. The Terms of Use on www.equifax.com do not apply to the TrustedID Premier product being offered to consumers as a result of the cybersecurity incident.

We are listening to issues consumers have experienced and their suggestions. These are helping to further inform our actions, and we are now sharing regular updates on this website. Thank you for your continued patience and feedback as we continue to improve this process.

Following are the snips I gathered while enrolling in the EQUIFAX Trusted ID this AM.

Equifax JS ID Compromised

My ID has been impacted

Equifax JS Enrolled in Trusted ID

For better or worse, this is what it is.

UPDATE: Here is an article from Mawlwarebytes, published on September 14, 2017, which offers additional insights into identity protection: Equifax aftermath: How to protect against identity theft 

UPDATE 10/3/2017: Here is an article from HousingWire updating (increasing) the number of consumer files breached: EQUIFAX reveals data breach bigger than first thought. Fret not, Equifax won the NO BID contract to protect all IRS files from being hacked. Seriously. I can’t make this up. For more info you may read this from NPR.

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Financially Speaking™ James Spray RMLO, CNE, FICO Pro | CO LMO 100008715 | NMLS 257365 | September 8, 2017

Notice: The information on this blog is opinion and information. When a business is named, it is not due to commercial purposes as I do not accept or solicit compensation from any individual or entity which may be mentioned. 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.

 

Obsessives Have Cracked the Perfect FICO Credit Score of 850 – Bloomberg

Kudos to Suzanne Woolley for authoring an article which accurately portrays how one can improve their credit.

Source: Obsessives Have Cracked the Perfect FICO Credit Score of 850 – Bloomberg

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

The Secrets To Building An Awesome Score

Your mom never told you because she didn't know, either.

Mom never told you as she didn’t know either

Use your credit cards properly to build an awesome FICO© Score. An awesome score will give you the best advantage for the best rates on insurance, credit cards, vehicle and other installment loans and home loans. As well, having a great score will give you a distinct advantage for certain employment opportunities. Having a great score will also help you to screen potential long-term partners to determine the likelihood of a successful relationship. Let’s face it, having a great score means you keep your commitments.

By way of proper use, let’s explore what it is that is rewarded by the scoring system. Two cardinal rules are never exceed using 30% of your available credit on any card in any month. Ever. Never maximize the usage of your credit limit on any card. Ever. Better is to not exceed using 20% of your credit limit. For example, the credit limit is $1,000.00. Do not exceed $300 in use and better do not exceed $200 in use. This accounts for about a third of your total credit score.

For best results, pay off the balance monthly. In addition to never maximizing the usage of your credit limit, never exceed the limit. Ever. For your best advantage do not ever close a credit card. The aging of your credit profile is essential to having a great score. The longer you have good credit, the better for your credit history and as a result your credit score. This accounts for a little more than a third of your score. In this and the previous paragraph we have discussed that which makes up about sixty-five percent of your total credit score. Such is illustrated in the following pie chart.

FICO Pie Chart

At each opportunity you get, or at each opportunity you can make, increase the amount your available credit. Once your credit card issuer sees you are managing your account well, they will offer to increase your credit limits so long as you have the ability to repay. Don’t be shy, after about 6 months, contact your card issuer and ask when you may qualify for an increase.

Keep in mind that a single 30-day late payment will ding your credit score by 90-115 points. Boom! The time it takes to recover from this one 30-day late payment will take from one to three years depending on your score at the time.

With all things, including credit cards, TANSTAFFL applies. TANSTAFFL was a term coined by Robert Heinlein in his 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land. There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

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Financially Speaking™ James Spray RMLO, CNE, FICO Pro | CO LMO 100008715 | NMLS 257365 | June 24, 2016

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.

Romance and Credit Scores

love-birds-custom-toolbar-free_575267

In addition to getting the best employment and the lowest interest rate on everything financed, including credit cards, home and auto loans, the prime potential partners in the dating pool are quickly thinned of those with inferior credit.

This is clearly highlighted in a post made by the Credit Slips summary of a Washington Post article which examines the working paper recently published by the Federal Reserve titled Credit Scores and Committed Relationships.

Barron’s Market Watch recently published an article titled, Nearly 40% of Americans want to know your credit score before dating. In part, this phenomena was summarized by University of Kansas Communications Professor Jeffrey Hall who stated,

By showing an interest in these three digits, people are probably being smart rather than shallow, says Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of communications at the University of Kansas. “Finances, education, and job prospects all factor into the value of a potential mate,” he says. “Assuming that people can actually interpret a credit score meaningfully, it makes sense they would think a credit score is useful in evaluating mate value.”

“…In fact, the higher your credit score, the less likely you’ll separate from your partner — and a lower score often means you’ll be less lucky in love, researchers at the Federal Reserve Board, the Brookings Institution and UCLA recently concluded.”

Your credit score has become such a popular character-meter that there are dating services based on them. A 2015 academic study found that “quality in credit scores, measured at the time of relationship formation, are highly predictive of subsequent separations.” The research suggested “credit scores reveal an individual’s relationship skill and level of commitment.” How More Americans Are Getting a Perfect Credit Score Bloomberg Suzanne Woolley, August 14, 2017.

I think it’s safe to predict that more and more people in the dating pool will become savvy to the benefit of checking one’s credit score before entertaining the possibility of a committed relationship.

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Financially Speaking™ James Spray RMLO, CNE, FICO Pro | CO LMO 100008715 | NMLS 257365 | Published November 13, 2015 – Updated August 16, 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 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.

Purchase or Refinance During a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Plan

Chapter 13 Plan

This post is written both for those contemplating a Chapter 13 (repayment plan) bankruptcy as well as for those currently in a Chapter 13 Plan. A Mortgage refinance or a home purchase, while still in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, is possible; it is also a complicated financial and, legal transaction. To do this requires a highly specialized mortgage professional experienced with both FHA lending rules and Chapter 13 bankruptcy as well as local court rules.  Such an individual must know how the Chapter 13 Trustee in your Federal Bankruptcy District deals with this process. It is helpful if your attorney respects the reputation of your mortgage professional.

The Chapter 13 Payment

One of the most important things to understand is how important on-time Chapter 13 Payments are to the mortgage underwriting process. I strongly encourage you to read this: The Chapter 13 Payment. Your Chapter 13 Trustee payment is given the exact consideration as your mortgage payment by the rules of mortgage underwriting. From the underwriting perspective, one thirty-day late payment of either the mortgage or Chapter 13 Trustee payment will sink your prospects of getting mortgage loan approval. Mail your payment early or set your on-line bill pay or direct payment to the Trustee so that you always know your payment has had time to get to the Trustee’s office and be posted by the staff at that office. Too many times, on review of the Chapter 13 Payment history, we find a payment was posted on the 2nd day of the month. One day counts as a late payment. Your experienced mortgage lender can help you check your Chapter 13 payment history in real time.

Mortgage Choices for Chapter 13 Debtors (purchase or refinance)

The only mortgages available, either for refinance or purchase, for those in a Chapter 13 Plan are those which are insured or guaranteed by the Federal government. These mortgages are either: insured by FHA or guaranteed by VA or, the USDA.

Providing you qualify you may get a Government Insured Mortgage: FHA, VA or Rural (USDA) while in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

While there are distinct differences within these three programs, they are alike in their Chapter 13 Bankruptcy underwriting guidelines*.  A significant factor is that the only choice is a 30-year fixed rate mortgage priced at the current market rate. To be clear, there are no conventional mortgages available for potential borrowers. One should understand sub-prime mortgages have not been available in the US since 2008. For additional information regarding adverse credit events timelines and mortgage timeout rules click here.

There are now non-Qualified Residential Mortgages (QRM) which may allow a borrower to purchase or refinance once the Chapter 13 case has been Closed following the Discharge. The rate in this type of loan is higher than any other mortgage product available. The costs are also higher.

How does a bankruptcy affect a borrower’s eligibility for an FHA mortgage? A Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not disqualify a borrower from obtaining an FHA mortgage provided the lender documents that one year of the payout period under the bankruptcy has elapsed and the borrower’s payment performance has been satisfactory (i.e., all required payments made on time). In addition, the borrower must receive permission from the court to enter into the mortgage transaction. The exception is that most underwriters will consider the Chapter 13 Trustee’s approval as acceptable permission from the court.

What are some of the factors that will keep you from getting approved?

If there are still balances showing as unpaid on your credit report, even if the debts are listed in your bankruptcy, the debt will need to be paid OR the underwriter will need proof that the base of your Plan will be paid off with the refinance. If there are balances showing and you are unable to pay-off the base of your Plan, you may be unable to refinance until after you receive your Discharge and the case has been closed.

If a second mortgage is being stripped or crammed down in your Plan, the Chapter 13 must be Discharged and the deed removed from the property or the mortgage servicer must agree to a subordination. If there are judgment liens against the property which are being stripped from the property, your bankruptcy must be Discharged. Depending on how the Plan is written this can be simultaneous if the Title Insurance company legal department understands Chapter 13 with a Strip on Discharge.

The Application to Incur New Debt

To get underwriting approval for a Chapter 13 Debtor to refinance, the Chapter 13 Trustee (Colorado) or Court must approve your application to incur new debt. Talk with your attorney to determine how and when to best proceed, or not. This is a process which you can only do with the assistance of your attorney. Your attorney must prepare the financial statements to submit to the Trustee in order for authority to be granted for a lender to offer new credit. Your mortgage loan originator should be able to assist your attorney in completing the Application to Incur New Debt. If your mortgage loan originator does not know how to prepare such, you should find someone with more experience to help minimize your legal costs.

This is a Great Time to Refinance

Now is, without a doubt, continues to the best time in over sixty years to purchase a home or, refinance a home loan. As this is written fixed rate 30 year FHA mortgages are still at historic lows.  For those with an Adjustable Rate, Option ARM or a Balloon Mortgage this is an excellent time to refinance. This process typically will take planning and action prior to refinancing. This is not a run of the mill refinance and not every mortgage lender is qualified to do this complex transaction.

Mortgage Refinance After Chapter 13 Discharge?

Yes, one may refinance after the bankruptcy case has been Discharged the Court and then Closed by the Trustee. However, because of the new rules for virtually all mortgage financing in the USA, once the Chapter 13 Plan has been successfully completed and Discharged, getting a mortgage refinance can be difficult. This is because a manual underwrite is mandated* and few lenders are willing to take the risk of not having the safe harbor provided by the Qualified Residential Mortgage rules. Begin reestablishing good credit while your case is still open so by the time your Discharge enters, you have solidly reestablished good credit. There are numerous posts in my blog on rebuilding credit, even while in Chapter 13.

Preliminary Requirements for Purchase or Refinance While in Chapter 13

  • Twenty-four months of current housing payments with no 30-day late payments and, the likelihood of the income continuing for at least three years.
  •  Two years IRS Returns showing your income is sufficient to pay the mortgage as well as your Chapter 13 payment and any debt not included in the bankruptcy payment.
  • Minimum middle FICO Score of 680 . Most will need to practice what I’ve previously posted as FICO  101a, 101b and 101c for several months prior to making a successful application for mortgage credit.
  • For anyone with a fear of having credit make time to read both Credit: Use It to Build It (Part 1) and Credit: Use It to Build It (Part 2).
  • Begin rebuilding your credit as soon as your Chapter 13 Plan is Confirmed/Court Approved; this is when your property has been revested to you.
  • The maximum no-cash out loan to value on an FHA appraisal is presently 95% – Refinance.
  • The minimum down payment is 3.5% of the purchase contract or appraised value whichever is less. – Purchase
  • The maximum Debt to Income Ratio is 42.99% and this is pushing the envelope to the extreme.While in Chapter 13, it is mandatory to have Court approval (in Colorado, generally the Trustee approval suffices) to obtain a mortgage, go to this URL FHA Handbook 4000.1 II.A. 5.a.iii (H)(2)(3).
  • There is more detail to this process but this is the essence of purchasing or refinancing while in Chapter 13.

There is more detail to this process than can reasonably be discussed herein but this is the essence of purchasing or refinancing while in Chapter 13.

Bankruptcy Seal image attribution
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Financially Speaking™ James Spray, RMLO, CNEFICO Pro
CO LMO 100008715 | NMLS 257365 | November 1, 2010 – Revised May 20, 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.

FICO 9 and Mortgages

 

 

stethscope strangle money _ modernfaqscom

 For this post, we are simply quoting from other media sources to help our readers understand the new FICO 9 credit scoring model. In spite of what you may have read, the FICO 9 credit scoring model will not help significantly, if at all, with home mortgages. At least not anytime soon. FICO 9 will be utilized sooner by vehicle and credit card lenders.

On August 23, 2014, The Motley Fool published Why New FICO Score Rules Could Be a ‘Game-Changer’ In Helping You Obtain a Loan stating, in part, the following: “According to FICO, the median FICO score for consumers whose only major derogatory references are unpaid medical debts is expected to increase by 25 points.

 FICO’s new more lenient model should also benefit collection agencies. Consumers with unpaid medical debts now have an incentive to settle, knowing that FICO will stop including in its calculations any record of a consumer failing to pay a bill, if the bill has been paid or settled with a collection agency.

Auto and Credit Card Lenders Will Be First to use FICO 9

 This is great news for collection agencies,” Rood said. “It provides laggards with an incentive to pay up. Before these changes, you were incentivized not to pay off your debt. The last thing you wanted to do was trigger a new ‘date of last activity’ report for an old debt, say, a debt from 2008. Again, you were just better off not paying it because older debts weighed less heavily against you on your credit report than new debt. The new scoring model will likely be implemented by credit card and auto lenders first. Mortgages typically lag in adopting new scoring models.”

Mortgage Lenders Will Be Last to use FICO 9

The New York Times in their article of August 7, 2014 titled: Credit Scores Could Rise With FICO’s New Model explained it very well. For consumers to see any benefit, however, lenders have to adopt the new scoring techniques. FICO last introduced a new model, called FICO 8, in 2008. Since then, FICO said that about half of its customers had started using that model. 

Mortgage lenders have been slower to adopt new scores, and most are using even older versions, experts said, because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are still using them in their own underwriting software. Fannie and Freddie did not say whether they had plans to switch to the updated FICO score that weighs medical collections less heavily. But they both said they were confident in the tools they use.”

Finally, law professor and author James Kwak, states the facts very simply: “…the financial district of the Western societies, Wall Street, and outdated software may very well be the norm not an exception.”

The Take Away

The take away on all this, according to Ted Rood of the Mortgage News Daily is that “(home and mortgage) buyers should keep paying those medical bills and avoid collections to ensure their loan approvals!” This statement was excerpted from the article titled: New Credit Score Model Would be Great for Housing! Too Bad it Won’t be Used.

Final Word

Our regular readers already know of our thoughts on FAKO credit scores and the release of FICO 9 adds yet a new dimension. Consumers purchasing their scores from the myFICO site will get real FICO scores but they are likely not going to be the scores which mortgage lenders use. So what can you do? You can write or call elected officials and ask that they help Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac catch up with the times.

More on FICO 9 from the FICO Blog.

UPDATE: 09/22/15 | GSEs Struggle to Update Credit Scoring Models

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Financially Speaking™ James Spray, RMLOCNE, FICO Pro
CO LMO 100008715 | NMLS 257365 |September 23, 2014 | Updated September 22, 2015
 
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.
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