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HousingWire Magazine: December 2021/ January 2022

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NAMB seeks to ban credit bureau sales of trigger leads

Urges Congress to add restrictions to bills

The National Association of Mortgage Brokers, an association that represents the interests of individual mortgage loan originators and small to mid-size mortgage businesses, announced it is seeking to ban the sale of trigger leads.

NAMB said it is urging Congress to add legislative language for banning the practice to bills H.R. 4028 and S. 1982, or the PROTECT Act of 2017, which is the proposed congressional legislative action following Equifax's data breach that exposed the personal information of more than 143 million Americans to hackers.

The association explained mortgage trigger leads are created and sold by the national credit bureaus: Experian, TransUnion and Equifax. The leads are comprised of names, contact information and other data, including a significant amount of personal information, for those who recently applied for a mortgage.

“The credit bureaus compile trigger lists daily and sell them to numerous buyers across the U.S., including so-called lead generators, who then resell the list to even more companies,” NAMB President John Stevens said.

Currently, NAMB explained mortgage brokers are unable to prevent credit reporting agencies from including their borrowers’ personal information on the trigger lead lists the credit bureaus sell.

“Trigger leads impose danger to consumers in several ways,” Stevens said. “First, they expose borrowers to identity theft and increase the risk of compromising borrowers’ financial passwords.”

“They also increase the borrower’s exposure to potentially unfair and deceptive activity by unscrupulous mortgage originators looking to impinge on another mortgage professional’s client,” he said.

NAMB claimed that contacting consumers for the express purpose of encroaching on an in-process transaction can be harmful and confusing during the mortgage process.

“Unfortunately, there are people who use all kinds of unethical tactics to target borrowers who have initiated the process of obtaining a mortgage,” Stevens said. “This activity should be classified as an unfair and deceptive trade practice and banned, with the only exception being those that have an ownership interest in the current mortgage for portfolio retention purposes.”

“The only way to protect the consumer is to close this loop hole immediately, and that’s what NAMB is seeking to accomplish,” he said.

HousingWire reached out to Equifax, TransUnion and Experian for comment, however none of the three credit bureaus responded. This story will be updated and/or follow-up coverage will be added if the bureaus respond.

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