Top Blogs of 2023 From Certified Credit


Top Blogs of 2023 From Certified Credit

December 12, 2023
Certified Credit

2023 was characterized by high housing prices and even higher interest rates. Unfortunately, these market conditions made homeownership feel out of reach for many would-be borrowers. As a result, most mortgage lenders had to get creative to maintain their profitability. 

Now that 2023 is coming to a close, you may be looking back on the year in search of key takeaways you can use to fine-tune your business strategies going forward. 

Here at Certified Credit, we’re doing the same. That’s why we’ve compiled our top blog posts from 2023. By reviewing these top-performing articles, you can recap this year efficiently and  glean some tips for entering the next one even stronger. 

#1 New Changes Coming to Credit Scoring Models & Credit Reporting 

One of the most significant changes of 2023 was the Federal Housing Finance Agency’s (FHFA) announcement regarding credit model requirements. Motivated by a desire to improve mortgage innovation, accuracy, and inclusivity, the FHFA stated that:

    • Conventional mortgages will soon require FICO 10T and VantageScore 4.0 credit scores, as opposed to Classic FICO.
    • Conforming loan applications will only require bi-merge credit reports in the near future, rather than traditional tri-merges.

While the FHFA first disclosed these changes in October 2022, they became a prominent point of discussion throughout 2023 as stakeholders debated their pros and cons and provided constructive feedback. 

If you want a refresher on the details of these changes, their potential pros and cons, and what your borrowers need to know about them, read the full-length article here


#2 How to Read a Credit Report 

Credit reports provide a wealth of data that you can use to inform your lending decisions. Thus, knowing how to read a credit report is a crucial skill set. 

While you’ve likely read countless credit reports throughout your career, we review the process in this helpful guide. More importantly, we provide several tips and tricks to:

    • Prevent inaccurate credit report orders
    • Suss out fraud early on
    • Cut down on your credit reporting costs


#3 From Debt to Dream Home: Navigating Student Loans on the Path to Homeownership

Due to the following events, 2023 has been a significant year for student loans:

These events have left many aspiring homeowners with student loan debt worrying about their mortgage prospects. 

To put their concerns to rest, we examine the impact of student loan debt on mortgage eligibility in this article. We also provide several tips mortgage lenders can pass onto student loan carriers to enhance their eligibility.


4. What is a Credit Refresh & Why is it So Important? The Impact of Undisclosed Liabilities

Many mortgage applicants assume they’re in the clear once their initial application is approved. However, mortgage lenders know all too well that a lot can happen from that point through closing. 

Applicants can incur a host of undisclosed liabilities during this time, potentially harming their debt-to-income ratios and credit scores. That’s why most mortgage programs require fresh credit checks right before closing. 

We explain the ins and outs of credit refreshes in this article. By reading it, you’ll learn how to prevent undisclosed debt from derailing your lending pipeline. It also covers the following topics:  

    • What is a credit fresh? 
    • Common examples of undisclosed liabilities
    • The risk of undisclosed liabilities
    • How to prevent loan fallouts and repurchase demands

5. 5 Steps to Take Control of Your Borrower Experience

During tight mortgage markets, honing your competitive edge can help you win over a larger portion of the limited availability of business. One way to rise above your competition is to consistently provide an exceptional borrower experience. After all, mortgage applicants rate a satisfying borrower experience nearly as high as getting the best rate in terms of importance. 

In our article, 5 Steps to Take Control of Your Borrower Experience, we explain how to elevate your customer service and outshine your competition in these five steps: 

  1. Digitize your lending processes
  2. Bolster your borrower education
  3. Speed up your time to close
  4. Be more inclusive of minority borrowers
  5. Optimize your borrower retention rate


6. Two-Part Series on Qualifying Self-Employed and Secondary Income

Thanks to technology, it’s never been easier to earn a little extra income on the side. Many people are supplementing their salaries these days with gig work, freelancing, side businesses, and self-employment. 

While there’s plenty of money to be made outside of nine-to-five jobs, these unconventional earnings can complicate the mortgage underwriting process. That’s why we put together a two-part series on this subject, which features the following articles:

Reference these articles to learn how second jobs, side gigs, and self-employment can impact mortgage eligibility, as well as how you can best support your applicants with alternative sources of income. 


#7 Cutting Costs & Building Business with Prequalification & SmartSelect

As a leading mortgage solutions provider, we’re always looking for ways to solve lenders’ most pressing problems. This year, many mortgage lenders struggled with high loan origination costs cutting into their bottom lines.

To address this issue, we put together an article on how to use certain workflow optimization tools to lower your origination costs. Read on to learn how Prequalification and SmartSelect can streamline your loan origination expenses, while simultaneously:

    • Attracting more applicants into your lending pipeline
    • Facilitating strong relationships with creditworthy leads
    • Preventing your competitors’ trigger leads
    • Reducing the potential of costly loan fallout
    • Automating your credit-pulling workflows
    • Saving you time


8. The Ultimate Cheat Sheet To Answer First-Time Homebuyers’ FAQs

During the home-buying process, mortgage applicants typically have a ton of questions about credit scores, debt repayment, and many other eligibility factors. By answering these questions for your applicants, you can strengthen their confidence and garner their loyalty. 

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of first-time homebuyers’ 20 most frequently asked questions to help you answer them quickly and efficiently. By sharing this resource with your applicants, you can address their FAQs in one fell swoop. 


9. Most Common Errors on Credit Reports & How to Fix Them

Did you know that an estimated one out of three consumers have errors on their credit reports? You’ll likely work with many of these consumers throughout your career. As a result, it’s important to educate your applicants on common credit report errors and how to dispute them. 

In this detailed guide, we review some of the most common credit report errors. We also:

    • Provide each credit bureau’s contact information for filing disputes.
    • Break down the dispute filing process and timeline. 
    • Discuss how to report identity theft. 
    • Explain how to set up fraud alerts on credit reports. 

By sharing this article with your applicants, you can help them take control of their credit reports’ accuracy and boost their mortgage readiness. 


10. From Paperwork to Precision: The Tech-Savvy Future of VOE

Each year, mortgage technology becomes more advanced. Automated tools have saved mortgage lenders a considerable amount of time, enabling them to shorten their time to close, originate larger volumes of loans, and funnel more time and attention into delivering top-notch customer service.

One particularly advantageous innovation is automated instant hit verification of income and employment (VOE). Instant hit VOE providers, such as Experian Verify and The Work Number, can return verifications in minutes. By pairing these tools with Cascade VOE, an automated VOE ordering solution, mortgage lenders can transform a once tedious process into their sleekest workflow.

To learn more about these tech-savvy tools, as well as our predictions for the future of VOE innovation, check out this full-length article.


Make 2024 Your Best Year Yet By Partnering With Certified Credit

And with that, it’s a wrap! Those are our ten most popular blog posts from 2023. As you can see, this year was full of unique challenges and exciting innovations. 

At Certified Credit, we aim to take every year’s challenges in stride and use them to inform our upcoming products and services. We’re excited to announce that we have many new tech tools in the works, along with our existing suite of solutions. Our current line of products and services includes: 

    • Affordable credit reports 
    • Automated VOE
    • Automated lead generation
    • Automated prequalification
    • Automated undisclosed debt monitoring
    • Credit score improvement tools
    • Property and valuation support
    • Fraud and risk mitigation
    • Flood zone determinations
    • Underwriting compliance
    • Settlement services

By taking advantage of these solutions and sharing our educational materials with your borrowers, you can start 2024 off strong. 

Interested in partnering with Certified Credit? Schedule a credit consultation with our team today.