The Score is the score or is it?

Written By: Glenn Michaels

Lenders of all kinds when examining a credit report always look at the borrower’s credit score. Very often I have heard from lender’s the saying, “The Score is the Score”. The credit score can be manipulated by a borrower if a borrower knows that in the near future they will be buying a home, an automobile, or any other big ticket item.

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If a borrower has disputed credit items and or charge offs these accounts will not be considered in the credit scoring model. Roughly ninety days before a borrower applies for additional credit the borrower needs to write to the three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Expedia, and Trans Union) and dispute any accounts that are in error or where the borrower has a delinquency shown. When a credit bureau receives a letter of dispute they must freeze the account that is being disputed and investigate the dispute within thirty days. During that investigation time period if a borrower applies for additional credit the disputed accounts will not be included in the credit scoring model.

A local credit counseling not for profit company has informed me that when a borrower enters into a credit counseling program the borrower’s credit scores will increase. Borrowers that apply for bankruptcy will also realize an increase in their credit scores.

Therefore if you are applying for credit in the near future meaning during or after a payment dispute was filed or after applying for credit counseling it is not uncommon for a credit score to increase 50 points.

If a credit application is filed with a credit score driven creditor then these tactics will work in a borrower’s favor. If the creditor looks at the overall credit profile then these tactics may not work to the borrower’s advantage.

Automated Underwriting Systems in the automobile and consumer credit generally look at the credit score first before deciding to grant credit.

Mortgage Underwriters should be reviewing the overall history of a borrower’s credit profile, not just the credit score. Mortgage underwriters should look at the history and spending pattern of the borrower’s credit report. When reviewing you might see a period of financial difficulty and should see if that period of spending difficulty has been resolved.

The credit score does not truly indicate a borrower’s willingness and or ability to make the monthly payment. Look at the borrower’s income, assets, and credit history besides the credit score to make a sound credit decision.

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Risked based pricing in the secondary mortgage market is using the credit score as one component to establish the final rate and secondary mortgage market price. The score is the score in this area.

About The Author

Glenn Michaels - As an NAMP® staff writer, Glenn Michaels is a mortgage underwriting instructor for Mortgage Underwriter University ( As a BBA & FHA DE Underwriter, Glenn is a Pace University graduate who also graduated from New York University’s School of Mortgage Finance. Glenn has conducted numerous training classes and has worked in the mortgage banking industry for 38 years. If you're interested in becoming a writer for NAMP®, please email us at:


Opinion-Editorial (Op-Ed) Disclaimer For NAMP® Library Articles: The views and opinions expressed in the NAMP® Library articles are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect any official NAMP® policy or position. Examples of analysis performed within this article are only examples. They should not be utilized in real-world application as they are based only on very limited and dated open source information. Assumptions made within the analysis are not reflective of the position of NAMP®. Nothing contained in this article should be considered legal advice.