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What is a Mortgage Trigger Lead?

Mortgage triggers are in the media repeatedly, and for good reason. When a consumer applies for a loan, the lender pulls that borrower’s credit report and, in turn, triggers a hard inquiry. Once this occurs, that information is sold repeatedly, and competing lenders vie for that business. This creates a unique environment for the applicant, as they now have many lenders to consider. It also puts the application at risk with the initial lender.

What initiates mortgage trigger lead?

When a credit report is pulled through any credit reporting agency (CRA), the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) requires that a mortgage inquiry is noted on the consumer’s credit report at each bureau. The credit bureaus sell these inquiry “triggers” as marketing leads to other lenders to help them identify consumers who are “currently in the market” for new loans. The bureaus have sold prescreen marketing leads based on a full range of consumer credit criteria to target specific consumers for many years. It has the full support of the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) to encourage competition among lenders and is completely permissible under the FCRA. Despite concerns from applicants/customers, no Credit Reporting Agency, including First Independent Bank, can take any action to suppress these types of marketing triggers. Leaving applicant’s contact details off applications makes no difference. The bureaus already have this information, and if they don’t, many sources will provide it to lenders.

How can I stop trigger leads in a mortgage?

Once the required tri-merge hard inquiry occurs, the “marketable’ trigger lead is immediately sold both in real time and within 24 hours. We want you to know that First Independent Bank’s top priority is to keep your information safe and we are not responsible for the initiation of these calls. Be aware that these calls are coming from other lenders that have become aware you are looking for a loan. Education is your best defense against triggers and unwanted calls. Here are tactics to protect against outreach from other lenders:

  • Sign up for OptOut Prescreen at to prevent the bureaus from selling their information. This will stop all four credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, Innovis and TransUnion) from selling a consumer’s name as a trigger lead for at least five years. Once requested, opt-out takes approximately five days to go into effect.
  • Add your name and phone number to the National Do Not Call Registry at or call 1-888-382-1222 from each phone number they
    wish to register. Once requested, it takes approximately 31 days for a name and phone number to be added to the registry.
  • Register with the Direct Marketing Association’s Mail Preference Service to opt out of commercial mailings for five years, with a $2 processing fee, at DMA distributes its lists quarterly, so the effective date varies based on when a request is submitted. And please note: Only the consumer can register themselves with the agencies directly listed above.