Due to the vast amount of resources available online, it’s fairly easy these days to obtain a copy of your personal credit report.

However, the challenging part is being able to understand all of the information in your report and then, of course, determine if that personal online report is going to match the mortgage credit report that your lender will run to assess your loan eligibility.

Therefore, you might feel the need to reach out to your lender to request a copy of your mortgage credit report without actually applying for a home loan or having gone through one recently with your lender.

Unfortunately, this is where your lender could get into trouble.

A consumer credit report may be pulled by your lender for permissible purposes only and with credit reporting vendors that are approved by your lender.

Typically for mortgage companies, that permissible purpose is in connection with an application for mortgage-related credit.

But here’s where it gets a bit sticky.

Credit reports may be pulled prior to your application for the purposes of granting what’s called a “pre-qualification request” as long as you have given permission to do so.

Consequently, it’s up to your lender to properly document your intent behind your request to pull your mortgage credit report.

In addition, it’s mandatory for your lender to have written or verbal permission from all consumers when a credit report is to be pulled prior to actually pulling the report.

For example, written permission may include a standard signed borrower authorization form that’s designed for this purpose, emails from the consumer, faxes, signed notes or a bona-fide loan application.

If there’s more than one party to an application, then each person must give their permission. The written permission must be dated prior to or the same day as the actual pulling of your credit report.

It is not permissible to pull a mortgage credit report as a favor to any person.

Even employees at banks should not pull credit reports for themselves, friends, family members, other employees or any person unless that person is actually applying for a loan or previously applied for one with that same lender.

Once your credit report is pulled by your lender, a copy of the credit report may be given to you as it contains helpful informational disclosures required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Lastly, it’s not permissible for your lender to email your credit report to you without encryption.

It must be sent by a secure method or hand delivered to you. If there’s a credit report fee, it may be collected from you prior to pulling your credit report.

Although your lender should not accept cash or a check, you must use your credit or debit card to directly pay the credit bureau for the credit report.

The credit report fee is the only fee that may be collected from you prior to your receipt of a loan estimate and the signing of your intent-to-proceed form.

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Chris Salese can be reached at chris@delsurmortgage.com or (707) 363-4439. He is a licensed California mortgage banker (NMLS 254469 /1850 CA BRE 01377933/01215943) and equal housing lender.