How a Credit Freeze Affects the Mortgage Process

2/14/2018

By: Justin Gensler
Vice President, Mortgage Lending
NMLS #611367

Jamie Singer grew concerned when she received a call at work one day. The caller was from a betting company wanting to help her finish opening her account.

piggy bank frozen “She started going through my information, and I told her right away ‘that wasn’t me’,” said Jamie, who is VP, Treasury Services Manager with an office at INB’s main branch. “Someone had gone through a process online and used my work information to try to open this account; they even knew some of my security questions.”

Jamie immediately put a freeze on her credit through each of the three credit bureaus and fortunately had no further issues.

“I feel lucky that the company the thief tried to open an account with had policies and procedures in place to stop the fraud, and I didn’t suffer any loss,” Jamie said.

With issues like the security breach that occurred with credit bureau Equifax in 2017, many people are beginning to put freezes on their credit accounts, disabling them from being accessed. A freeze costs a modest amount and helps to protect against fraud.

The inconvenience comes, however, when that person needs to have their credit pulled for an upcoming purchase like a home mortgage. Like other banks, INB needs to access your credit profile when you apply for a mortgage loan.

If you have a security freeze on your credit file, you will need to lift that freeze temporarily for us to do so. (For other credit access, you may be able to utilize a single-use PIN to thaw your credit file; unfortunately, that’s not an option during the mortgage process.)

While INB can’t “thaw” your freeze for you, we can help walk you through it…

The steps to lift the freeze

First, you need to contact each credit bureau individually to request that your security freeze is lifted (and you may be charged for this service). It can take up to three days for the credit bureaus to complete your request.

Keep in mind that because the bank is required to send initial disclosures to you within three days of your application, there’s a chance you might receive those before official loan approval if we’re still waiting to be able to pull your credit.

Secondly – and most important! – we need access to your credit for an extended period. Please note we will need to access to your credit profile multiple times during the mortgage process. We may need to access to your credit profile all the way through your loan closing. This may take 30-60 days, or more, depending on the circumstances of your mortgage loan.

The steps may be worth it

Proactively enabling a freeze on your credit account is one way to help prevent identity theft. Not only that, but it can also help you make better purchasing decisions.

“Since someone tried to open an account in my name, I feel more strongly about proactively protecting myself from identity theft. It’s a major issue now, and we all need to do what we can before something happens,” Jamie said. “Additionally, if you struggle with wanting to take out credit, the freeze holds you more accountable and makes you jump through more steps; you can’t just open a credit card on a whim.”

Be sure to talk to the credit bureaus because there are different freezes you may need – initial fraud alerts run for 90 days, or an extended freeze covers seven years. Active military members can enable a credit freeze for up to a year while deployed.

Need to call the credit bureaus? We’ve got you covered:
Equifax: 800-685-1111
Experian: 888-397-3742 (select option 2)
TransUnion: 888-909-8872

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