The short answer is that you wound up on a Mortgage Trigger Lead list.

The next question is, “What is a mortgage trigger lead?”

When a consumer fills out a loan application, they are also giving the lender permission to pull their credit. When a lender pulls credit, it is pulled using certain “codes” that are used to show that the lender has a permissible purpose to pull credit. These codes trigger to the national Credit Reporting Agencies (Experian, Trans Union, Equifax) that a consumer is shopping for a mortgage.  Experian, TransUnion, and Equifax take the consumer’s personal information that they have on file and turn these into trigger leads.  These trigger leads are then sold to other lenders who buy them.  To be clear the credit reporting agencies have the personal information of virtually every adult in the United States.

Once a consumer’s personal information is sold, they may start receiving dozens of phone calls, emails or physical mail from other lenders wanting their business. Unfortunately, this is legal.  For most consumers though, ending up on a trigger list is at best extremely annoying due to the volume of unsolicited calls. Trigger leads are normally sold in bulk lots and the sales people who work for lenders across the country then start dialing and trying to solicit the consumer’s business.

If you do not want to wind up on a trigger list in the future, there are 3 steps that you can take:   

  1. Register at optoutprescreen.com. This will opt a consumer out of unwanted solicitations for five years and it costs nothing. It takes one to two weeks for it to take effect so the earlier this is done, the better. This is the most effective way to not end up a trigger list.
  2. Sign up at the Do Not Call Registry, donotcall.gov. This is also free and should take effect within 24 hours, however a borrower may have already ended up on a trigger lead list prior to registering so could still receive calls for up to 31 days. Being on the DNC list does not mean all calls will stop. A consumer can still get calls for political reasons, from charitable organizations, survey calls, collection calls and some that are labeled “information calls.” The
    “Information Calls” is one big loophole that the marketers use.
  3. Sign up at DMAchoice.com. This will stop loan offers and other offers from coming to your physical mailbox. There is a $2 cost for this.

Another action that can help is if the borrowers phone number and email address are not input on the application until after the credit report is pulled (it can be added later).

Are any of these options a 100% guarantee a borrower won’t end up on a trigger list? No. There are too many avenues available to get someone’s personal information. Everyone has put their phone number and email address in the cyber world for one reason or another. Because of technology there are several ways to obtain phone numbers, email addresses and other personal information.

We recommend that all of our clients implement the first two steps unless they want to get unsolicited phone calls, emails and texts.