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Mortgage Credit Reports for Mortgage Loans

Mortgage credit reports are used for real estate loans. They are used to underwrite the original loan to buy the real estate, for refinancing the original loan, and perhaps in second mortgages or home equity situations when the loan applicant is increasing the original loan to improve the unit or to take money out of the accumulated equity in the home for some other reason.

Mortgage credit reports are generally 3 bureau credit reports with 3 credit scores where the lender is obtaining credit information on the applicant or applicants from all 3 of the national credit bureaus and credit scores based on the FICO model or the VantageScore model. The credit information can be presented to the lender in an "infile" format which is effectively as it comes from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, but in a readable format, and without much merging or combining the credit data.

The infiles may also be merged or combined, for example the Experian credit data may be merged with Equifax credit data, which is then merged with TransUnion credit data. This is called a merged infile. When all 3 bureaus are merged, it is commonly called a 3 bureau merged infile.

Mortgage credit reports may also go beyond the "infile" stage in varying degrees when the mortgage credit reporting company puts more work into the credit report. The extra work could be done electronically, for example when the credit reporting company's computer merges the credit information by combining duplicate trade lines or accounts from the three repositories into one tradeline on the credit report.

The mortgage reporting company may also manually enhance the mortgage credit report by updating the information in the report, for example if the credit information from one of the bureaus is over 90 days since last reported, the mortgage reporting company may call the creditor to get a current status on the obligation. Or the mortgage reporting company may update a collection shown on the credit bureau report to its current status which may in fact be paid but just never reported to the credit bureau.

As mortgage reporting companies put more work into the credit report, the cost and subsequent price of the credit report may increase significantly over the cost the simple machine generated infile that started the process.

By the way mortgage credit reporting companies have some latitude over how they present merged credit data in the mortgage report. For example, if they merge an account that is being reported by all 3 bureaus, they may choose to use the bureau with the latest information, or the bureau with the most derogatory information, or maybe a combination of all three tradelines.

Mortgage credit reports can also be provided to lenders as individual reports or as merged joint reports showing the credit on one report for both spouses, even though at the credit bureau, accounts are kept as individual records.


Mortgage credit reports contain scores also, usually 3 credit scores, and maybe even a 4th score such as a combined score or something like the FICO Mortgage Score. Credit scores for mortgage are usually, but not always, FICO or VantageScore scores. More on scores in our scoring section.


Fannie and Freddie:

Mortgage credit reports and mortgage loans generally have to comply with the specifications published by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac because in the past Fannie and Freddie have ended up buying the majority of loans made by mortgage bankers. The specifications for the mortgage credit report are usually 3 bureaus and 3 scores for each borrower. Generally the scores need to be within a specific range not only to qualify for the loan but also to get a good rate.