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Equifax Expands Mortgage Credit Checks

""Equifax Inc."":http://www.equifax.com, the consumer credit reporting agency based in Atlanta, Georgia, announced on Thursday the availability of a proprietary solution which the company says now provides even more comprehensive employer- and government-verified information for mortgage lending institutions.
In late 2009, Equifax acquired Discover Source, formerly one of a number of standalone providers of automated tax-filing information. Equifax said it has now completed the full integration of Discover Source into its TALX division, combining a direct feed of federal tax return data from the IRS with Equifax's database of over 200 million consumer files and more than 192 million employer records.
Equifax explained in a press statement that its new capabilities have ""transformed credit transparency,"" by providing lenders with a detailed risk profile that includes current income and employment of a particular borrower, as well as consumer credit data and history to determine creditworthiness. The company said such information is particularly useful in verifying key financial details of self-employed individuals.
In addition, Equifax said, each consumer risk profile is enhanced further with key mortgage-related data provided through Equifax Settlement Services (ESS), including estimation of property values based on automated valuation models and full appraisal service. The company said its credit assessments also draw upon predictive income and consumer analytics to help lenders better judge creditworthiness.
With such mortgage industry-unique features, Equifax is now calling itself a ""one-stop shop for all data required for mortgage lending.""
Dann Adams, president of Equifax's U.S. consumer information services unit, said, ""We now have the most complete suite of income and employment verifications, analytic, and data solutions available in the industry, integrated into a product line that provides the deepest insight into consumers' ability and capacity to take on additional debt. This is absolutely critical in today's underwriting environment. For the mortgage industry, this suite provides a single source for the vast majority of data needed for loan modifications and mortgage lending.""
The stress of record-high foreclosures and tightened mortgage regulations resulting from the financial crisis helped trigger a nationwide credit crunch, yet a number of existing and potential homeowners are looking to take advantage of depressed housing markets - they just need a line of credit from their mortgage lender to do so. While regulators and lawmakers are calling for stricter lending standards, they are also demanding that financial institutions start the lending wheel moving again.
""To be successful in today's environment, financial institutions must have an understanding of not only a borrower's propensity to pay based on credit information, but also their capacity to pay,"" Bill Canfield, president of Equifax's TALX division, commented.
Canfield added that when income and employment verification is combined with the typical consumer credit data, lenders can gain an unprecedented level of insight into the credit health and riskof virtually any potential borrower.

About Author: Carrie Bay

Carrie Bay is a freelance writer for DS News and its sister publication MReport. She served as online editor for DSNews.com from 2008 through 2011. Prior to joining DS News and the Five Star organization, she managed public relations, marketing, and media relations initiatives for several B2B companies in the financial services, technology, and telecommunications industries. She also wrote for retail and nonprofit organizations upon graduating from Texas A&M University with degrees in journalism and English.
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