Tri-Merge Credit Report Information Complexities Analyzed

Tri-merge credit report information

English: Refinance auto loan when needed (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tri-Merge Credit Report Information

A Real Estate loan application merits a more thorough examination and analysis of the applicant’s credit history than a credit card or auto loan application.  A typical credit card or auto lender will be satisfied with a credit report from one credit reporting agency as the basis for the credit score they rely on.  A real estate lender requires tri-merge credit report information.  This is just what it sounds like.  Three credit scores are provided.  The middle score will be used.  Review and take action to eliminate negatives before you apply.

Soon to be available, FICO 9 will ease the effect of medical debt on credit scores and negate paid medical debts from scoring completely.  Don’t look for this to be adopted by mortgage lenders anytime soon however.  Mortgage lenders have always been slow to implement changes in FICO’s scoring methods.

What you see when you look at your Tri-Merge Credit report information printed out is not your actual credit reports.  The information on your actual credit reports has passed through another company and cosmetically modified according to the lender’s requirements.  For example the hard inquiries may be limited to 3-6 months with no reference to soft inquiries.

Tri-Merge Credit Report Information scrutiny is Complex and Thorough

The real estate lender submits a form which contains a blank space entitled “Repositories requested.”  The names of the 3 major credit reporting agencies of Experian, Equifax and TransUnion will be entered here. The report I am referring to as an example in this Essay is provided by one of the larger companies called “Avantus” from West Haven Connecticut. In exchange for a fee ($18.35 on the one in front of me)  the lender receives a report containing 8 sections:

  1. Applicant personal information  (bare bones of name social security number)
  2. Repository Files  (credit reporting agency name, score, date pulled)
  3. File Summary  (Account type, number of accounts, open accounts, accounts currently past due, amount past due, payment, balance, historical late payments)
  4. Credit Score Information (Name, Repository, Model, Developed by Fair Isaac, Range, Calculation date)
  5. Credit History (Summary of Number of accounts, number of open accounts, number of delinquent accounts, credit limit, high credit, payment, balance)
  6. Underwriting Alerts (Mortgage Late, Collection Accounts, Disputed Accounts)
  7. Fraud Messages (Is address verifiable?  Anything goes here that may be a potential cause for concern)
  8. Credit Summary (Mortgage, Installment, Revolving.  Number of Accounts, open accounts, currently past due, payment, balance, historical late payments)

The section called “File Summary” has a sub section providing 7 more categories of information:

  1. Number of Public Records
  2. Number of Collections/Charge-offs
  3. Bankruptcy (Yes or No)
  4. Available Credit
  5. Revolving/Credit Line Used
  6. Number of Inquiries
  7. Number of Authorized User Accounts

The Number of Inquiries section includes soft as well as hard inquiries so there is no need to panic if the number here is large.  The Authorized User accounts provides an alert to the lender if there is a need to be on the look out for artificial score inflation through piggy backing on an account with favorable credit.

Tri-Merge Credit Report Information Deeper Dive

The applicant’s financial history is mercilessly laid bare.  If you haven’t been pro-active about regularly checking your credit reports for errors it would be understandable if you run into some unpleasant surprises.  If you are diligent about monitoring your credit reports and understand the way the system works you have nothing to fear.  Trust me on one thing though.  There is always something new to learn.  That extra thing you learn about tri-merge credit score information may save the deal.  This discussion will be based on a typical tri-merge credit report information summary in front of me as I write.

There are 3 horizontal columns in the section called “Credit Score Information” containing 3 different credit scores.  The credit scores in this example are quite low for a real estate loan.  Since this loan is a VA loan there is extraordinary leniency which is much deserved for those who have honorably served our country.

  • Trans Union‘s score is 618.  It uses Factors 038, 013, 018, 008 in computing its “FICO Risk Score, Classic (04)”.  This FICO score has a range of 309-839.
  • Experian’s score is 624.  It uses Factors 038, 13, 18, 21 in computing its “Fair Isaac (v2)” score.  This FICO score has a range of 320-844.
  • Equifax’s score is 596.  It uses Factors 038, 13, 18, 34 in computing its “Beacon 5.0” score.  This FICO score has a range of 334-818.

There are 49 FICO Score Models

Most people confidently proclaim that FICO scores range from 300-850.  That is no more than an approximation.  For example, the “FICO 8″ Bankcard score now being given out by some credit card companies says it has a range of 250-900.  Lenders customize their FICO score requests to give weight to different areas that they deem important.  Not only can they choose different factors but they can choose different FICO models.  Why is this important?

Different FICO Score Ranges Mean Different Median Scores

This particular VA loan required no more than a 600 middle score.  The underwriter balked when he saw the 596 Equifax score.  I was able to save the deal by pointing out that the 600 score requirement is near the median of the 300-850 usual range.  The 596 score here is just as near the median of the 334-818 score range as the 600 score is to the 300-850 range.  This is chiefly because the highest achievable score is considerably lower than 850.  Careful analysis of tri-merge credit score information saved the mortgage.

FICO Mortgage Score Powered by CoreLogic Called CoreScore

Watch out for this one.  Powered by it’s claim to increase predictability of default and accuracy of risk assessment Core Logic provides lenders with alternative data.  What is alternative data?  Alternative data is data that doesn’t appear on traditional credit reports.  It may be pay day loans.  It may be abandoned gym memberships or other information that “supplements and complements” other sources of information.  If you are refused a mortgage or offered less than the terms your credit score merrits you can require your lender to produce all negative information that was used for their decision.




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After practicing law for 37 years Edward F. St. Onge, Sr. now devotes all his time to helping consumers achieve a high credit score with amazing speed. Learn the counter-intuitive secrets to credit scoring through his down to earth instructions backed by extensive knowledge of the laws and trends. All of the latest tricks and techniques that they don't want you to know now at your disposal. At last a level playing field for the consumer!

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