Important Privacy Warning

We recently became aware of a disturbing trend involving clients who have applied for a new mortgage.  The three major credit bureaus are selling your personal   information to hundreds of mortgage companies throughout the country as soon as your credit report is pulled from your mortgage lender. 

Your personal information is being sold without your consent or knowledge.  These mortgage companies are generally “fly by night” companies that operate several states away and are solely interested in offering you a “bait and switch” mortgage offer.  These lenders will call you repeatedly and mail you solicitation after solicitation in hopes of deceiving you.  They often offer terms that are too good to be true and misleading.   Not only is this practice deceitful, it opens the possibility to identity theft.  WAMB is currently working to get this dreadful situation remedied, in the meantime, consumers should take steps to protect themselves.    Here are a few suggestions on easy steps you can take.

Opt Out of Prescreened Credit Offers

This will stop creditors from viewing your personal credit information     without your written consent.  In addition, it will cut down on the junk mail (unwanted credit card solicitations).  This alone lowers your chances of    becoming a victim of identity theft.  You can opt out by visiting www.optoutprescreen.com or by calling 888-567-8688.  Try do this one week before having your credit ran by any lender, if possible. 

Add your phone number to the Do Not Call List

This can be done online by visiting www.donotcall.gov or by calling         888-382-1222.  Remember to make sure to add both your home and mobile cell phone numbers.  This takes 30 days to be in effect. 

At Mortgage Master, we work diligently to protect your privacy and personal information.  By following the steps above, you will protect yourself and lower your odds of becoming a victim of identity theft.  Please feel free to call us with any questions or concerns.  Our team is always here to help.

We take your trust seriously and will never be less than truthful in our dealings with you.  You can count on honest, straight forward mortgage recommendations from our team.  After all, the best compliment to our team is the referral of friends and family to our mortgage   practice.  This can only be achieved by servicing our clients with great care and respect. 

For a free report on additional tips on preventing identity theft, please send me an email.

Another Snowy Day in Seattle

Capri_2 Well…it’s "kind of" a snowy day.   The roads in my neighborhood appear to be pretty dry with patches of ice to keep drivers on their toes.  We are expecting another blast of snow later today, so schools are closed and therefore, I am working from home.  The timing of our snow day works great for me as my 2007 calendars arrived last night.   My husband had to actually pick them up from FedEx Capricoastas they did not make deliveries yesterday (UPS did).   For the past 4-5 years, I use a photo that I have personally shot for the calendars.   The photo I selected for 2007, I must confess, I did not take.  My husband is the photographer!  It is from our Honeymoon in Italy from April earlier this year.  It was actually pretty tough to decide what photo to use for the calendar this time.  The photo that is featured on my 2007 calendar is of the Capri Arch.  Here are some of the "runner up" photos that didn’t make the cut.

Honeymoon_367_1If you’re considering traveling to Italy, I highly recommend www.initaly.com.    They are very accommodating and offer wonderful places to stay, including if you are traveling with children, or are looking for a wine country adventure, etc.   I am happy to recommend places that we stayed during our Honeymoon as well.

Honeymoon_111Would you like my 2007 Calender featuring the Capri Arch?   Simply send me an email, including your address, and I will mail one to you…while supplies last, of course!

You’ve Got To Start Somewhere

I have been meaning to do this (create my own blog) for quite a while now.  Sadly, it has taken all of the recent bad press about others in the mortgage industry for me to get off my duff and a "snow day" in Seattle (when most everything else grinds to a halt).    

I am a Certified Mortgage Planning Specialist.  I have been in the mortgage, title and escrow fields for over twenty years and have been amazed at what I have seen.  I love my career.  There is nothing more rewarding for me than to see how much owning a home can impact a family’s quality of life.   

It is equally amazing to me that up until recently, Loan Originators (aka Loan Officer, Mortgage Consultant, Mortgage Planner, Loan Specialist… to name a few) have been one of the few individuals without any requirements in our great state of Washington, to handle a family’s largest investment, their mortgage.   Thankfully, this is all about to change.   In fact just yesterday, I completed my on-line application with the Department of Finance to become a Licensed Loan Officer.   Amazing, isn’t it?   Up until now, only Realtors, Escrow Officers and Appraisers have been licensed (for the most part)…but the person advising you of the best mortgage and devising financial strategies for your future could have absolutely no training whatsoever or even be a known felon!

Governor Gregoire signed House Bill 2340 which will regulate all Loan Originators (UNLESS they are employed by a bank, such as Washington Mutual, Countrywide or Wells Fargo) providing residential mortgage loans in Washington State.    Here are the basic requirements effective January 1, 2007:

  1. All Loan Originators will need to pass a basic compliance skills examination (this will not be available until mid 2007.  Until then, we are just required to obtain our license and then we get to keep the license assuming we pass the test in 2007).
  2. Continuing Education courses will be required on an annual basis.
  3. Background checks will be required prior to licensing.  Persons with felonies may be allowed to practice if their felony was prior to seven years ago.   

This is, like my first blog, at least somewhere to start.  It is definitely overdue.   Many consumers and real estate professionals that I have talked to are often shocked to learn that there has been no regulation of mortgage originators (for the most part) in our state.    It will be interesting to see how this will all evolve.   As I mentioned earlier, I completed my application (all nine pages) yesterday.   The questions that were presented blew me away–most were based on "have you ever committed a felony, fraud, caused a company to lose their bond…as well as wanting a 10 year employment history".  I had the joy of being fingerprinted just last month (I’ve got sweaty hands).  The real change in our system, after the background checks are complete, will be seeing how many loan originators will or will not pass the exam.   

It’s not entirely the loan originator’s fault for not being educated.   Most mortgage companies do not offer training.  There are many courses and presentations available on line and "live".  Currently, in most cases, it’s up to the loan originator to be motivated and passionate enough about their field to take these steps.   Effective January 1, 2007, unless they work a big bank, it will be mandatory if the loan officer wants to continue their practice in Washington State.