How to review a Tri Merge Credit Report

Written By: Melanie Rota, , Op-Ed Writer

As an Underwriter, you will need to know how to review a Tri Merge Credit Report.  A Tri Merge Credit Report is a merge report that contains the three major credit bureaus detailed information bearing on credit-worthiness, including credit history and credit score. The borrower’s credit score and credit history determine he/she eligibility, interest rate and LTV on a mortgage loan.  

The most important thing you want to do is to check the spelling of borrower’s name is correct and check if the social security number, date of birth and current address is correct as well.  This is very important because you want to make sure that you are reviewing the correct credit history and score for your borrower.  If any of the information is incorrect, the lender could have pulled someone else's credit profile from the credit bureaus.   Next you will need to review the score models to determine the fico score indicator.  The fico score indicator will be the middle score of the three scores.  This score is an important factor that determines borrower eligibility, interest rate and LTV for mortgage loan. 

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Trade lines on credit report must be reviewed.  The borrower's credit history consists of opened and closed trade lines.  A trade line is a line of credit, such as a credit card, car loan, installment loan or home mortgage.  The number, history and status of these credit lines comprise a large part of a borrower's credit score.  The higher the borrower’s credit score, the greater the likelihood of obtaining credit and of qualifying for more favorable interest rates and terms.  When reviewing the trade lines, you want to check the following:  1. How many trade lines on credit report and do they meet the trade line requirements. 2. How long the accounts were open to confirm seasoned trade lines.  3. Check payment history to confirm that accounts are current and have been paid on time.  Most lenders don’t want to see bad payment history on borrower’s credit report.  It’s a sign that the borrower might not able to pay their mortgage on time. 

Next, you will have to review derogatory accounts such as collections, last payments, judgments, charge offs, tax liens, bankruptcies, and foreclosures.  Most lender wants to see no or very little derogatory accounts on credit report.  You will need to confirm in your investor’s guidelines if any of these derogatory accounts needs to be paid off or must be seasoned for a length of time before borrower can close on their mortgage loan.

Finally, you want to review credit inquires, Fraud alerts, AKA’s and addresses listed on credit report.  All credit inquires in the last 90 days must be addressed, which means borrower must provide a letter of explanation that states what are the inquiries and if he/she obtain new credit.   New credit obtain by the borrower that not reporting on credit report can make a significant impact on borrower Debt to Income ratio.  All new debt obtain must be accounted for.  Fraud Alerts on credit report must be verified and documented.  Borrower place a fraud alert on their credit because their identity have been stolen.  As an Underwriter, you must verify and document the borrower identity and contact borrower to confirm he/she applied for mortgage loan.   AKA’s and Addresses must be explained as well.   Obtain a letter of explanation from borrower about AKA’s on credit report.  You must verify with the borrower that the AKA’s on credit report are correct.  Addresses on credit report must be explanation by the borrower especially when an address reported do not fit in the residency history on the Loan Application.  This is a sign that the borrower could own property that not listed on Loan Application and the mortgage is not reporting on credit report.  

Most lenders use Tri Merge Credit Report to obtain borrower credit history.  It important that an underwriter know how to review one.   An underwriter should review the credit report thoroughly and utilize a credit report checklist to ensure that all important information have been reviewed.   

About The Author

Melandie Rota - Along with being a Mortgage University Instructor, Melandie is currently serving as a Senior Mortgage Loan Underwriter.  She has over 15 years of experience in the mortgage industry. She served as a Loan Processor, Senior Processor, Processing Manager, Loan Originator, Mortgage Underwriter, Due Diligence Underwriter and Senior Mortgage Loan Underwriter.  She is very dedicated in teaching and leading beginners in the mortgage industry. If you're interested in becoming a writer for NAMP®, please email us at:

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