14 April 2013

More proof that TransUnion destroys people's futures

Not too long ago I reported about how TransUnion makes your credit report a public record, despite federal laws to the contrary that mandate that your credit report be kept private.  Well, I just read more proof of how TransUnion will do anything to destroy your future well being as far as your financial affairs are concerned besides making your credit report public record.

That proof is a recent article in the St. Petersburg Times by staff writer Drew Harwell about a New Port Richey resident, George Albright, who experienced tremendous difficulty trying to get a mortgage, two years after having to do a short sale to get out of an underwater mortgage situation.  Why all this difficulty?

It all boils down to how a short sale is reported to the credit bureaus.  In George Albright's situation, according to the article, the short sale was being reported on Mr. Albright's credit report as a foreclosure, even though no foreclosure took place.  In other words, the mortgage lender reports to the credit bureaus that a short sale took place and the balance was settled, but somehow the credit bureaus are probably taking it on themselves to report a short sale as a foreclosure.

A foreclosure may sound bad on a credit report.  However, a bankruptcy is the worst:  It is akin to a nuclear attack on your credit report.  Foreclosures stay on your credit report for 7 years, while bankruptcies stay on your credit report for 10 years.

And I think TransUnion - who is known for its credit related scoring products such as their insurance score and employment score products - is doing everything to make sure that good people who have had to do a short sale of their home or have had late payments due to a change of circumstances (such as job layoff, for example) experience tremendous difficulties applying for a job, getting affordable automobile insurance or even getting a mortgage after waiting a few years.  In other words, TransUnion will do everything to deliberately destroy your financial future.

Besides, we work in order to pay our debts.  After all, paying your debts is a moral obligation.  Unfortunately, when one loses his or her job through no fault of their own (such as in a job layoff), how are the debts going to be paid?  For instance, ask the employees of Universal Health Care Group, a downtown St. Petersburg health insurance firm recently shuttered by the State of Florida Department of Financial Services which resulted in job layoffs - I imagine what Universal Health Care Group's employees are going through, now that they are out of work.

Going back to the St. Petersburg Times article, in 2011 TransUnion issued a report called Life after Foreclosure and Hidden Opportunities, in which "life event defaulters who missed loan payments during the recession are otherwise good credit risks".  However, Transunion's spokesman, Clifton O'Neal, mentioned that "short sales are, in fact, indicative of future elevated credit risk."

Mr. Clifton O'Neal, are you happy that TransUnion is in the business of systematically destroying people's futures?  Do you like tarnishing the credit reports of people that had to do a short sale of their home as a foreclosure when in fact a foreclosure did not take place?  And do you like making people's credit reports public record contrary to federal law that prohibits the practice, thanks to the Fair Credit Reporting Act?

If you are one of these homeowners such as George Albright of New Port Richey who has had to sell to get out of an underwater mortgage, here are some helpful tips:

1.  First and foremost, hire a competent attorney who knows real estate issues, especially foreclosure defense.  You need to have an attorney to guide you through the legal labyrinth when it comes to short sales and foreclosures.

Should you be served with a summons for foreclosure on your home, hire an attorney very fast!!!  Foreclosure is more serious than a short sale.

2.  Be careful of mortgage lenders that ask you for a statement of financial affairs during the short sale process.  That information can be used against you to pursue a deficiency judgment against you after the short sale takes place.

3.  Policies vary from lender to lender when it comes to getting a mortgage after you have been through a short sale.  In this regard, you may want to employ the services of a mortgage broker to assist you.

4.  There is hope for you, even after a short sale or a foreclosure.  Again, the services of a mortgage broker are valuable in this regard.

5.  Consider including a statement in your credit report detailing what happened with the short sale.  The statement cannot be more than 150 words and you can mail that statement to all three credit bureaus along with a cover letter requesting that your statement be included in your credit file.

Whenever you write to the credit bureaus, always be sure that you send your letter Certified Mail with Return Receipt Requested - NEVER ordinary First Class Mail.  This proves that someone at the credit bureau received your letter.  Same thing goes for correspondence to your mortgage lender.

As for the credit bureaus such as TransUnion, mortgage settlements that are the result of a short sale should be recorded properly and not recorded otherwise.  It's like a physician who writes the final diagnosis on your chart just before you leave the hospital for having that emergency appendectomy done that instead of your diagnosis being appendicitis, it is a damaging psychiatric diagnosis of schizophrenia.  Don't these physician diagnostic statements somehow make it to your file at the Medical Information Bureau?

TransUnion needs to stop systematically destroying the financial futures of Americans who have had to do a short sale due to their home value being underwater.  TransUnion needs to stop destroying the financial futures of Americans, period:  That includes misreporting items on a credit report to making a credit report a public record.

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