Bombarded with mortgage offers from other lenders? Here’s why. - Movement Mortgage Blog

If you recently applied for a mortgage and are suddenly inundated with calls, emails and text messages with home loan offers that are too good to be true, know that you’re not alone. 

These unsolicited offers are the result of “trigger leads.” If you’ve received any, you know they can be a nuisance. That’s why we created this blog, to answer any questions you might have.

 

Why am I being interrupted with offers all of a sudden? 

When you apply for a mortgage, your lender pulls your credit history, credit score and other credit info from one of the four consumer credit reporting companies — Equifax, Experian, Innovis or TransUnion. With your complete credit report in hand, your loan officer and underwriter can evaluate your situation and, hopefully, pre-approve you for a home loan. 

But wait — there’s more! What you’re not privy to is that the credit bureaus take a borrower’s data — name, contact information and the date of the mortgage loan application — and sell it as a sales lead to any lender willing to pay for it. 

Unfortunately, this is all too common these days. Equally unfortunate is that there is no surefire way to block the credit bureaus from selling your information as a lead. 

Trigger leads are not isolated to mortgage applications. Any time credit is pulled, a trigger lead file associated with the borrower is up for grabs. It can happen if you apply for a car loan, a banking credit card or even a retail credit card like Kohl’s, BestBuy or Target.

 

Why do the credit bureaus sell my information?

The four credit bureaus state that the offers generated by trigger leads can benefit consumers in several ways. These include:

  • Providing consumers with product choices. 
  • Helping consumers learn about — and have an opportunity to take advantage of — offers that may not be available to the general public. 
  • Increasing a consumer’s buying power by helping them comparison shop.

 

Why do other companies buy trigger leads?

Trigger leads have always been behind-the-scenes in the credit world, and for good reason: in the mortgage business, trigger leads are a powerful signal that an individual or family is actively looking to purchase or refinance a home. And that’s the perfect time for a competing lender to try to swoop in and steal the opportunity away.

 

Has it always been this bad? 

Yes, and no. Trigger leads can be a sizable contributor to a credit bureau’s bottom line. But over the last few years, interest rates have been so low that nearly most lenders had a healthy pipeline of applications. Today, with housing inventory scarce, interest rates rising and refinance activity slowing down, some of these pipelines are drying up, and some mortgage lenders have to hustle more to generate leads. Less scrupulous lenders are turning to trigger leads — and because the market is what it is, the calls may come off a little aggressive. Some may even mislead recipients to get them to reveal more private information. 

 

Can Movement do something to stop me from getting these competitive home loan offers? 

If we could, we would. We welcome competition and have no problem with loan officers hustling a little more and being creative in generating leads. But we’re not fans of trigger leads. 

Unfortunately, we have no power to block or restrict the credit bureaus from selling this information. And while it sounds wacky, the credit bureaus own this data and have every right to sell it. It’s totally legal.

 

How can I protect my data from being sold as a trigger lead?

There is something you can do to prevent your information from being sold as a trigger lead. Go online and opt-out of competitive offers, or call 1-889-5-OPT-OUT. This free service is run jointly by Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion.

By opting out, you’ll no longer be included in “trigger lead” lists sold by any of the credit reporting companies. And you can choose to opt-out permanently or for a period of five years. The catch is that you have to opt-out before applying for credit (that’s the trigger, after all), and it can take a week or more for the processing to take effect. So if you’ve already applied for a mortgage (or for a car loan or credit card), it may be too late — this time. Still, if you don’t want to receive these types of contacts in the future, opt-out today. 

 

Can I block calls without opting out?

Yes! To add your phone number to a list blocking telemarketers from contacting you, head to the National Do Not Call Registry or call 888-382-1222. This service is run by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

If you are on this list, you should not get calls from mortgage companies who get your info as a trigger lead, even if you have yet to opt-out as detailed above. Some companies may disregard the Do Not Call list, though, so mortgage applicants may still continue to be contacted. If that’s the case, use the same link or phone number to file a complaint and report unwanted calls. 

 

Need more info? 

We hope this blog explains why you’ve been getting interrupted by these offers, and we hope the calls subside soon! Don’t hesitate to reach out to your Movement Mortgage loan officer if you have any additional questions. 

If you’re just starting your homeownership journey, follow the instructions outlined above to opt-out of these nuisance calls. Then, if you haven’t already done so, reach out to a Movement loan officer in your area to talk about getting pre-approved.

About the Author:

Mitch Mitchell

Mitch Mitchell is a freelance contributor to Movement's marketing department. He also writes about tech, online security, the digital education community, travel, and living with dogs. He’d like to live somewhere warm.