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What is a Trigger list and how to stop it!!!

Mortgage and Lending with Independent



Ok So I am probably going to get a lot of flames for writing about this blog especially from the Mortgage Brokers and other Loan Officers who rely heavily on trigger lists :)

This is just awareness information for a lot of the consumers who were unaware that your personal and financial information is not quite that private as you think. I know I am a Loan Officer and are probably wondering why am I sharing this information besides being a good awareness promoter, its because I actually don't call the trigger lists and I don't like myself or my clients being bombarded with phone calls from brokers to insurance agents as soon as credit is ran.

I think this should be illegal but apparently its not so I decided to digg deep into this topic and research whats going on. This blog can also be a useful TOOL to help my fellow lenders to protect their own customers from the phone calls and mailers.

So what is a trigger list and how does it work?

Each time that you apply for a credit card, auto loan, mortgage or refinance, your personal information is distributed to lenders, insurance, and credit card companies who have subscribed to product known as a “trigger list”.

  • Prospective creditors purchase a subscription to a trigger list service. They set the criteria for their list - for example, anyone who has applied for a mortgage or refinance, in the 15217 area code, with a FICO score of at least 720. They also choose what additional information they would like to have included: names, addresses, phone numbers, mortgage balances, et cetera, as well as how often they would like to receive the list (daily or weekly).
  • When you apply for a mortgage or refinance, your chosen lender orders a tri-merge credit report (with your permission).
  • Within hours of ordering your report, your file is red-flagged by the credit reporting agencies for inclusion in trigger lists.
  • If your profile matches the conditions of any trigger list subscribers, your personal information is sent to those subscribers.
  • Shortly thereafter, the subscriber makes you a “firm offer of credit”, usually by mail or e-mail

Even the National Association of Brokers has commented on trying to stop these lists of being sold.  Its just downright dirty in my opinion.

How to stop the trigger lists

Well the most common sense thing to do is to have a firm loyalty in place with your client.  They are buying from you mostly and your product is not much different than most of your competitors, so you have to differentiate yourself from the rest.  Always walk your customer through the process let them know by pulling you credit report too many times can hurt their loan approval.

You may opt out of trigger lists and other pre-screened offers of credit safely and securely online at http://www.optoutprescreen.com/ or by calling 1–888-567-8688. Submitting your opt-out request takes less than five minutes and is the only way to prevent credit reporting agencies from reselling your personal information each time you apply for credit. Requests do take approximately 5 days to process, so don’t delay - opt out today!

You may also want to add your phone number to the National Do-Not-Call Registry (https://www.donotcall.gov/) at this time.

Hopefully this shed some light why when you just purchased something or applied for credit you get bombarded with phone callas and mailers...and how to stop this :) 

Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

What I find so comical about the trigger lists is that the credit reports are available to entities that want to sell the information, use the information to sell to me, but when I tried to get a copy of my own credit report required to renew my brokers license it took me two weeks. 


Mar 09, 2008 10:59 AM
Christopher Bonta
The Bean Group - Londonderry, NH
Realtor, Integrity and Honesty

Justin, great piece of info. I am a Realtor and just refinanced my own home and sure enough within days of doing so, my wife and I started getting e-mails and credit offers in the mail and now I know why we did. Guess what I'm doing as soon as I am done with this comment!!!

Thanks for the heads up, you sure are distinguishing yourself from your competition, Bravo.



Mar 09, 2008 11:06 AM
n d
Naoma Doriguzzi - Virginia Beach, VA
definitely a good post to share with consumers.  I am sure not alot of them are aware of why they are receiving these calls and mailers.          
Mar 09, 2008 12:34 PM
Kevin Warren
Veterans United Home Loans NMLS #1907 - Virginia Beach, VA

That happens to me too, and a lot of times my client tells me that it's happening and they are annoyed by it. Sometimes they even ask if we sell it to other lenders, which obviously we don't, because I don't want anybody else calling my clients either. Great post. It is a great idea to let the client know that this might happen when you do pull their credit!

Mar 10, 2008 04:55 AM