Loan Originators: Be aware of “disputes” on credit reports and automated underwriting findings. Also on short sales, check “Date Reported”.

 Do it before a contract is signed.

By Pam Marron, Jan 9, 2017 for National Mortgage Professional Magazine

Frustrated consumers looking for solutions to correct erroneous information on their credit report often turn to credit repair companies or their mortgage lender for help. A dispute is the 1st method tried but this “fix” is temporary. A requirement to delete the dispute and rerun the automated submission is usually brought to the attention of loan originators who are unaware of the existence of the dispute or where to find it… often weeks before a closing date.

When an account is put into a dispute, that credit is temporarily hidden from Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and USDA automated underwriting systems (AUS), allowing a false AUS approval. But direction from AUS findings or a mortgage underwriter alerts us that the dispute needs to be deleted from the credit report and that the AUS must be run again. If the credit in dispute is adverse credit, the credit score goes down when the dispute is lifted and an AUS approval commonly changes to a “Refer” or “Caution”, or a loan denial.

Deleting a dispute is not a one step solution. The borrower can do the “fix” if they have 45 to 60 days to do so. But often, due to impending contract deadlines, the only option is a Rapid Rescore which can delete the dispute within 2 to 5 days. However, this is a costly remedy. Further, under FCRA guidelines, the borrower cannot pay for this Rapid Rescore cost and the loan originator or lender must pay.

There are four things a loan originator can do upfront.

  1. Disputes: check the entire credit report whether a mortgage, credit card or loan, for any dispute verbiage. Common dispute statements:
    1. DISPUTE RESOLVED – CONSUMER DISAGREES (disputes the dispute!)
    2. CONSUMER DISPUTES THIS ACCOUNT INFORMATION
    3. ACCOUNT INFORMATION DISPUTED BY CONSUMER

Go into each of the three repositories (Experian, Equifax, Trans Union) on the borrower’s credit and check which ones have dispute verbiage. These are the disputes that must be deleted. Zero balance accounts normally do not apply, but check with your lender.

If you have at least 45 days, retrieve the generic dispute form from your credit reporting agency and have your borrower follow explicit direction from your credit reporting agency on how the dispute can be deleted.

If you don’t have this time, retrieve the Rapid Rescore form from your lender and find out what is needed to delete the dispute.

  1. Run automated Fannie Mae Desktop Originator(DO)/Underwriter(DU) or Freddie Mac Loan Prospector Advisor(LPA) and USDA Government Underwriting System (GUS) upfront. Usually dispute messages are within the findings stating “there appears to be a dispute on the credit report” and direction appears for what needs to be done.
  1. Submit a Complaint to the CFPB for Short Sale Credit Code Correction

What has worked is to “Submit a Complaint” for a mortgage at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) website: http://www.consumerfinance.gov/complaint/. (Visual instruction and what to attach is located at  http://housingcrisisstories.com/submit-a-complaint-cfpb/.) This is not a dispute but a request for correction to the credit.

Why this is different:

Short sale credit is often coded as a foreclosure when the late payments (still) required to get a short sale approved exceeds 120 days. Often, past short sellers have already had an experience where it was learned that their short sale was coded as a foreclosure. Many have gone to a credit repair company or have attempted a correction themselves to get the erroneous credit code changed. A placed dispute temporarily hides the credit but does not correct the code.

  1. Check “Date Reported” on credit report. Make sure the date is the same as the short sale closing date on the HUD-1 closing statement. If the borrower has previously contacted the short sale lender upon learning that their short sale was coded as a foreclosure, that new date which may also include a dispute of the account becomes the “Date Reported”, or a more recent date then the short sale closing date. If the new “Date Reported” is within four years, the wait timeframe required for a new conventional Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac mortgage, this will result in a loan denial in both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac AUS’s. If this occurs, you will need to find a conventional lender that will do a manual underwrite.

Hunting for solutions on this now. “The valuable role that housing counselors can play in helping consumers with credit” coming soon. Stay tuned.

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