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When you apply for a mortgage, or even quietly ask for a rate quote, don’t be surprised if that sensitive information almost immediately gets into the hands of other lenders, who will bombard you with competing offers. As explained in a well-done article in The Mercury News of San Jose, these other lenders can find out credit scores, open mortgage balances, loan-to-value ratios, monthly mortgage payments, revolving debt balances, plus other personal financial data about you.
The Merc has a great quote from the past chair of the National Association of Mortgage Brokers' credit score committee, Ginny Ferguson:
``Where is the line here? ... When do you begin to violate individuals' privacy rights?''
BusinessWeek editors Chris Palmeri, Prashant Gopal and Peter Coy chronicle the highs and lows of the housing and mortgage markets on their Hot Property blog. In print and online, the Hot Property team first wrote about the potential downside of lenders pushing riskier, "option ARM" mortgages and the rise in mortgage fraud back in 2005—well ahead of many other media outlets. In 2008, Hot Property bloggers finished #1 in a ranking of the world's top 100 "most powerful property people" by the British real estate website Global edge. Hot Property was named among the 25 most influential real estate blogs of 2007 by Inman News.