Equifax informed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac last week that a “coding issue” may have resulted in erroneous consumer credit scores and credit data the company reported for about three weeks.
It is not clear how many of Fannie Mae’s acquired mortgage loans were potentially affected, but the problem could have affected credit data from March 17 to April 6. In a letter to lenders, Freddie Mac said the error “may have impacted” 12% of credit reports issued during this period.
“Any lender that received credit report data directly from Equifax online or via a third-party consumer reporting agency/ reseller over this period may be affected by this incident,” wrote Danny Gardner, Freddie Mac senior vice president, client and community engagement, in a letter to lenders.
In a statement, an Equifax spokesman said per a company analysis, there was “no shift in the vast majority of scores,” and the problem had already been corrected. Equifax said it had found a coding issue in a legacy, on-premises server environment that was slated to move to a new Equifax cloud infrastructure.
“We have proactively notified our customers and resellers and are working closely with individual organizations on analysis,” the spokesman said. Moving that server to the Equifax Cloud would “provide additional controls and monitoring that will help to detect and prevent similar issues in the future,” he said.
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When it announced the coding error, Fannie Mae also reminded lenders that it is the lender’s responsibility, not Fannie Mae’s, to correct erroneous credit data, and make sure that credit data they submit to Fannie Mae’s automated underwriting platform, Desktop Underwriter, is correct at the time of the loan sale.
Gardner also told lenders they should “consult with their counsel” to update credit reports, and said that lenders should work with their consumer credit report provider and Equifax to identify the potential impacts on their originations.
Gardner also pointed out that Freddie Mac’s automated underwriting software relies heavily on information from other sources. Both of the government-sponsored enterprises use automated underwriting platforms, which depend on the integrity of the underlying data.
“Consequently, accurate data is critical,” Gardner said. As a result, for in-process applications, lenders must update and re-submit loan files to Loan Product Advisor, Freddie Mac’s automated underwriting platform. Otherwise, those mortgages may need to be manually underwritten.
A Freddie Mac spokesperson said the enterprise is working with the Federal Housing Finance Agency to identify any impacts, and referred additional questions to Equifax.
Fannie Mae and Equifax did not immediately respond to requests to comment.