The Mortgage Press:Media Alertmortgagepress.comConsumer Reports, Sub-Prime, credit rating We at The Mortgage Press occasionally come across articles or reports in mainstream print media, radio or television that may directly impact the mortgage industry. For the purpose of keeping our readership informed of media reports that may have potential for consumer impact, The Mortgage Press has developed the "TMP Media Alert" program. The following is the first installment: Publication: Consumer Reports January 2001 Edition Article Title: "New Assault on Your Credit Rating--Sub-Prime" Sub-Heading: Think you have great credit? Think again. Changes in how credit is reported are giving lenders new reasons to charge more for loans. But you can fight back. In advance of the article's publication, Consumer Reports invited the media to participate in an audio press conference in which mainstream and trade journalists had the opportunity to speak with its authors and Consumer Union's team of legal advisors. The Mortgage Press participated in this event in an effort to present numerous industry initiatives designed to protect the consumer that were not discussed in the article's contents. We fully understood that the article was printed and prepared for release, and there was nothing we could do to change its contents. However, with the high number of mainstream media outlets invited to participate in this press conference, it was important to discuss the "missing links" that were not discussed regarding mortgage reform and other industry objectives. We did not want the other participants to leave with a feeling that the entire mortgage industry "exploits confusion," "charges high rates" and "keeps a 'lid' on information." The article does contain valid points for the consumer involved in the process of applying for credit--mortgage, credit card and/or auto loans. But, as is often the case, the voices of all parties are not heard over the most vocal of those involved. Comments in the article are sure to present increased pressure on the industry and result in inquiries from consumers and local media outlets. Selected disparaging comments included: ++"The mortgage industry is an industry that targets populations they consider vulnerable." ++"You may have heard about sub-prime lending from the voluminous bad press about predatory loan practices, which strip unsuspecting low-income customers of their homes, money and property." ++"With the help of sophisticated credit-scoring models, lenders are rummaging deeper into consumers backgrounds, enabling them to reclassify some formerly prime customers as sub-prime. The benefit to the lender: increased profits." As the National Association of Mortgage Brokers stated in a recent weekly e-mail update, "Knowledge is power." We suggest that you get a hold of this article, arm yourself with its contents and prepare yourself with a response to any inquiries. While we cannot stop what is said about our industry, as inaccurate as it may be at times, but we can remain informed and respond to baseless and uninformed attacks. If you hear or see any article or report that you feel needs to be circulated to our nationwide readership of 272,000 mortgage professionals, forward the original article, audio or videotape to: Joel M. Berman, President, The Mortgage Press, Ltd., 1220 Wantagh Avenue, Wantagh, N.Y. 11793 for consideration.